A slew of posters has been spotted throughout Los Angeles portraying Obama as "The Joker" from the movie The Dark Knight, with the word "socialism" printed in black above and below his face, according to media reports.
The posters show the president decked out in the kind of unnerving makeup Heath Ledger used in the latest Batman movie. Obama's face is painted white, his eyes have dark circles around them and two red scars curl up from the corner of his mouth.
It's unclear who is producing and distributing the sinister posters. They come as Democrats and Republicans continue to battle over health care reform -- which some critics warn will lead to a government takeover of health care, Fox News said.
Noting that Los Angeles residents voted for Barack Obama in large numbers last November (69 compared to 29 percent for John McCain), the Los Angeles Times said: "It's somewhat surprising that a controversy over a public critique of the president would start on the streets of LA".
According to KTLA News, Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson is calling the depiction politically mean-spirited and dangerous. Hutchinson is challenging the group to come forward.
American Thinker claims the posters "are spreading across" the city and has a photo of one on a freeway onramp.
Says the site: "It is starting. Open mockery of Barack Obama, as disillusionment sets in with the man, his policies, and the phony image of a race-healing, brilliant, scholarly, middle-of-the-roader."
Bloggers found that first reports of the poster in LA surfaced in April -- so it's unclear why it became such a web sensation today, the Times said.