Missouri State Fair rodeo clown draws criticism over mask of President Barack Obama

SEDALIA, Mo. - An incident at the Missouri State Fair on Saturday night is getting national attention via social media.

A clown wearing a mask of President Obama came out in the arena during the bull-riding event. An announcer then asked the crowd if it wanted to see Obama "run down by a bull."

An onlooker, Perry Beam of Higginsville, posted his account of the event on social media. It was then picked up by the Daily Kos and the Kansas City Star , among others.

"The crowd went wild. He asked it again and again, louder each time," Beam's account of the event said.

Beam said a bull came close enough to the masked person that he had to move, "to the delight of the onlookers."

The state fair received more than $400,000 from Missouri state taxpayers.

Missouri's U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill released a statement on Sunday evening, saying:

"If what's being reported is true, then it's shameful and it's unacceptable. The State Fair is funded by taxpayer dollars, and is supposed to be a place where we can all bring our families and celebrate the state that we love. But the young Missourians who witnessed this stunt learned exactly the wrong lesson about political discourse—that somehow it's ever acceptable to, in a public event, disrespect, taunt, and joke about harming the President of our great nation. Missouri is better than this, and I expect someone to be held accountable."

Gov. Jay Nixon also issued a statement, saying: "The Governor agrees that the performance was disrespectful and offensive, and does not reflect the values of Missourians or the State Fair."

The Jackson County Democratic Committee is also not happy with the incident.

"This is not who we are in Missouri," Democratic Committee Executive Director Jessica Podhola said.

Missouri State Fair officials issued a written statement Sunday evening, saying, "The performance by one of the rodeo clowns at Saturday's event was inappropriate and disrespectful, and does not reflect the opinions or standards of the Missouri State Fair. We strive to be a family friendly event and regret that Saturday's rodeo badly missed that mark."

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