When Deb Berry was passing through Simsbury for an early dismissal pickup at the Ethel Walker School, she was shocked to see an image of President Barack Obama with a Hitler moustache on a poster in front of the U.S. Post Office downtown.
"I think it's just obscene," Berry said.
On the way back to their home in Windsor, Berry and her daughter Cady, 14, struggled to see the connection between Obama and Hitler.
"I just didn't think anyone could morally do something like that," Cady said. "I respect people's political views but when you use the image of Hitler on someone like the president it's just not right."
Supporters of Lyndon LaRouche, a political activist who heads the LaRouche Political Action Committee, were visiting Simsbury on Monday to deliver the LaRouche political platform to local residents.
According to the LaRouche Pac website, the platform includes three main objectives: impeach President Barack Obama, reinstate Franklin Roosevelt's Glass—Steagal Act, and to establish a North American Water and Power Alliance and new credit system.
The poster the Berrys saw is commonly used by LaRouche supporters and is often very successful in its intent—to get your attention.
Volunteers of LaRouche are known to set up shop in front of postal offices and other federal buildings where their First Amendment rights have guaranteed protection.
"This group is very well versed in legal aspect of what they're doing," Maureen Marion, Manager of Corporate Communications for the U.S. Postal Service, said.
Marion said she was not aware of the group's presence at the Simsbury location that day but it also wasn't a surprise.
"It's been about four years now that we've been seeing this group," Marion said. "They're all over the place—Connecticut, New Hampsire, Massachussetts—everywhere."
Although Marion has received many calls about the group over the years, she's never had any legal issues with their presence.
"We can't speak to the content, we can only speak to their conduct," Marion said. As long as demonstrators don't block the entrance or set up inside a post office lobby, they are in compliance with the law. The group tends to set up tables and stand within the 3-foot right of way at the edge of federally-owned property.
Simsbury Police Capt. Nicholas Boulter shares a similar history to Marion when it comes to LaRouche Pac supporters.
"We've had some calls about similar behavior last year and the year before that," Boulter said. Somewhat surprised to hear that the group chose a snowy, cold day in January to spread their message, Boulter said he wasn't aware of any complaints.
"If it's the same group, we've received complaints before, typically around an election," Boulter said. "People are just wondering 'Can they legally distribute and can they legally post what they're posting."
And when it comes to posters of an American president with an illustration of a Hitler-style moustache, it's perfectly legal.
LaRouche Pac supporters, for the most part, abide by the rules with one exception: the collection of signatures on federally—owned property.
"They cannot collect signatures," Marion said.
The group is allowed to pass out leaflets to anyone who wants their questions answered.
"They can offer, they cannot force," Marion said.
When Cady Berry returned home she started doing some research on the strange signs she and her mother had just seen in Simsbury. Using search terms like Obama, Hitler, and Simsbury she came across an article that presented another aspect of the LaRouche Pac presence. Adversity.
LaRouche supporters aren't the only ones bringing a strong message to the neighborhood post office. In October 2012, Hebron police arrested an 80-year-old woman who was so upset by the posters that she took it upon herself to take them down.
So far, that hasn't been the case in Simsbury.
"We've never been told of any obstruction of free passage or [invocation] of a riot," Boulter said.
The LaRouche supporters at the Simsbury post office on Monday didn't stay long as the snowfall intensified, and weren't available for comment. Another pair of volunteers recently spoke to Durham-Middlefield Patch about their visit to Durham earlier this month.
Media contacts for the pac have not responded to questions about the controversial signs.