July 16, 2008 -- A controversial billboard bearing a photo of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and a warning not to vote for Democrats has sparked outrage in Orlando, Fla.
Next to a photo of the Twin Towers burning, the billboard reads "Please Don't Vote for a Democrat." Beneath the message is the name of a Web site that markets $5 CDs of a song, "Please Don't Vote for a Democrat," by Mike Meehan of St. Cloud.
"It should be taken down," William Carter, who lives near one of the three billboards, told ABCNews.com. He said he believes that although it is entirely within Meehan's rights to express such an opinion, recalling a devastating time in our nation's history for personal gain "is just wrong."
But Meehan said he is only selling the CDs to cover the cost of getting his message out.
"I'm holding the entire Democratic Party responsible for the attacks on 9/11," said Meehan, who wrote, sang, produced and recorded the song. He said people should not vote for Democrats because they are too focused on solving the problems in the economy when they should be focused on the war on terrorism.
The billboards went up Monday, and though he originally declined an interview with ABCNews.com because he said he wanted to wait until the billboard buzz was "hot in the pan after a few more weeks of exposure," he ultimately agreed.
"Democrats are relaxed on fighting the war on terrorism," he said. "But it's just as important as the economy. The economy and terrorism go together."
Terrorists had warned they would destroy the American economy financially, and we can see their success in the high prices of oil, Meehan said.
The song's lyrics echo these claims as he attempts to persuade voters that "No we can't afford to have another attack/and that's why we can't vote for a Democrat."
Although Meehan does not endorse any particular candidates, he said he hopes that his song will be played at Republican Party conventions and rallies in future "local, state and national elections."
That is unlikely, however, because as was first reported by ABC affiliate WFTV in Orlando, both parties have criticized the billboards.
A call from ABCNews.com to the Orange County Republican Executive Committee was not immediately returned, although the party told WFTV the billboards were "inappropriate."
Bill Robinson, chairman of the Democratic Party of Orange County, Fla., called the billboards "despicable, ignorant and juvenile." He said Meehan "is not a patriot, he is a profiteer" trying to exploit the national tragedy for personal gain.
Meehan said he knows people will find his ads offensive, but he said, "It's more offensive that our nation is forgetting about the attacks."
Media only mentions the devastation in Iraq without really letting people know exactly what's going on, he said.
But according to Meehan, the photograph and his song accomplish this task by "reminding people that terrorists are behind a lot of destruction."
He said the three billboards around Orlando have gotten a positive response because "people are happy that we are remembering these people that died."
He hopes to recoup some of the money spent on the billboards and recording through sales of the CD, but he said he also intends to send some proceeds to the families of victims of 9/11.