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American flag with President Obama's image sparks outrage at Florida Democrats

  • Obama flag 2

    Lake County Democratic Party officials removed the flag on Tuesday following complaints by local veterans in Florida. (Courtesy Don Van Beck)

  • Obama flag

    "It's absolutely disrespectful," Jim Bradford, a 71-year-old veteran who participated in the Bay of Pigs Invasion told FoxNews.com. "It's totally ridiculous. To put somebody's picture there, to me, it's a disgrace to do that."

An American flag with President Obama's image in place of the stars flew over a Florida county's Democrat headquarters long enough to enrage local veterans who called the altered banner "a disgrace."

Lake County Democratic Party officials took down the flag, which flew just below a standard Old Glory on the flagpole outside headquarters in Tavares following complaints by local veterans. But merely taking it down wasn't enough for several local veterans, who said they fought for the flag Betsy Ross made famous, not one with a politician on it.

"It's absolutely disrespectful," Jim Bradford, a 71-year-old veteran who participated in the Bay of Pigs Invasion told FoxNews.com. "It's totally ridiculous. To put somebody's picture there, to me, it's a disgrace to do that."

Bradford, an organizer with the Veterans Memorial at Fountain Park in Leesburg, Fla., snapped photos of the flag and distributed them to fellow veterans and friends. By late afternoon, he and several other veterans delivered a copy of the federal flag code to Nancy Hurlbert, chairwoman of the Lake County Democratic Party.

"We read that to her, but she would not accept that," Bradford said. "The discussion finally got a little bit heated."

The flag, which had been flying for several months without complaint and is available online for $12.95, was later removed by Hurlbert.

Bradford said Hurlbert apologized for the incident, but did not offer any promises that it wouldn't fly again.

"What really upsets me is that the flag had apparently been flying for months and no one had done anything about it," Bradford said. "I've got no hard feelings toward [Hurlbert], but people will be driving by there to make sure it doesn't go up again."

Hurlbert said Tuesday's incident was the first time anyone had complained about the flag, which she received as a gift two months ago.

"It leads me to believe that it's not about the flag," she told FoxNews.com. "Certain elements cannot accept Barack Obama as president."

Hurlbert said she intends to contact an attorney regarding the matter and remained non-committal as to whether she'll fly the flag again.

"I won't say no and I won't say yes," she said. "We want to find out what our legal rights are."

Jenn Meale, communications director for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, referred FoxNews.com to state laws that pertain to the use of flags on public lands and property when asked for clarification as to whether Hurlbert could face any penalties.

Statute 256.05, which covers improper use of state or United States flag, or other symbol of authority, reads: "No person shall, in any manner, for exhibition or display:

"(1) Place or cause to be placed any word, figure, mark, picture, design, drawing or advertisement of any nature upon any flag, standard, color, ensign or shield of the United States or of this state, or authorized by any law of the United States or this state; or

"(2) Expose to public view any such flag, standard, color, ensign or shield upon which shall have been printed, painted or otherwise produced, or to which shall have been attached, appended, affixed or annexed any such word, figure, mark, picture, design, drawing or advertisement."

Meanwhile, Jay Agg, communications director for AMVETS, told FoxNews.com that the American flag should never be altered.

"While we are pleased the flag in question has since been removed from public display, the reported fact that it had flown for months without protest is a clear indication that we have much work to do in educating the public of the importance of protecting our flag," Agg wrote in an email. "This issue is especially important to AMVETS' members, the men and women who have proudly worn our nation's uniform and served under her flag."

The final insult to veterans? The flag is made in China.

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