By Eric Messinger | Posted: 08/07/09 05:07 PM [ET] - 08/07/09 05:03 PM EDT
The black-and-white fax portrays Obama in makeup similar to that worn by actor Heath Ledger in his portrayal of the Joker in last summer’s “The Dark Knight.”
Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) received the fax and passed it along to U.S. Capitol Police.
The Secret Service investigates threats made against the president. Ed Donovan, of Secret Service Public Affairs, said that the fax was “potentially an investigative intelligence matter.”
The fax’s image was the same featured in another recent Obama-as-Joker poster that received attention in the press earlier this week. The first image read only: “Socialism.”
The message made no specific reference to Baird and it is unclear why it was sent to his office. No other congressional office reported receiving a similar fax.
Baird has compared protesters who have shown up at lawmaker town halls during the recess to the Nazis.
“What we're seeing right now is close to Brown Shirt tactics,” Baird said in an interview with the Vancouver, Wash., Columbian on Thursday. “I mean that very seriously.”
Baird is hosting “telephone town halls” instead of live ones out of concerns of an “ambush,” he told The Columbian.
Democrats have criticized Republicans, including radio host Rush Limbaugh, for comparing them to Nazis in their drive to win approval of healthcare reform legislation. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Friday said anyone making comparisons to the Nazi party is “on thin ice.”
Baird has also compared protester tactics to those of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, which drew calls for an apology from Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Gary Jones.
“For Congressman Baird to use the tragedy [of] Oklahoma families and the loved ones of those who were injured and lost their lives for political gain is inexcusable,” he said.
Democrats have also criticized the escalating tone and tactics on display in town-hall meetings with lawmakers, and have said the protests are organized and backed by Republicans or groups aligned with the GOP. These have been the sites of vocal protest from opponents of the Democratic healthcare reform effort.