LEESBURG, VA (WWBT)- It was supposed to be a "light hearted" joke, but tonight leaders of every political stripe are condemning a controversial mass email sent by a local Virginia republican committee.
The email was an invitation to a Loudoun County GOP Halloween parade. It contained a picture that depicts President Barack Obama as a zombie, with a bullet hole in his head.
Even the man behind the picture, Loudoun County republican chairman Mark Sell said that he "deeply and sincerely apologizes" to the president. Sell is also apologetic to anyone who viewed the image and was left with the impression that his group wished the president any harm
In the spirit of the Halloween season it's not uncommon to see zombies walking about. It's one thing for someone to dress themselves up, it's another thing to take a picture of the President of the United States and turn it into zombie, with a bullet hole in his head.
"This is a disgusting and violent portrayal of the President of the United States," said David Mills, the executive director of the Democratic Party of Virginia.
The Loudoun County GOP meant the picture to be a funny attempt to drum up interest in their upcoming Halloween parade.
"It was an attempt to inject satire humor into the Halloween holiday." said Sell.
But no one seemed to take it that way. Through his spokesman, Tucker Martin, Governor Bob McDonnell called it, "shameful and offensive".
Lt. Governor Bill Bolling said "it was terribly distasteful."
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's political spokesman Noah Wall said it was "Not something that we support."
And these are people from the same party.
Just about every prominent republican has condemned the photo, but democratic leaders like Mills believe it says it says something about the party as a whole.
"There is a vein in the Republican Party of Virginia that is just too radical for Virginia voters and images like that bare that out," Mills said.
An image won't ever be used again, but the damage is already done.
The entire mass e-mail as well as the full statements from both sides of the isle can be found on our political blog, DecisionVirginia.com.