Healthcare Law Spurs Obama Assassination Talk

March. 22, 2010

WASHINGTON, March 22 (UPI) -- Passage of the healthcare bill spurred Internet-based calls to assassinate U.S. President Barack Obama, which the Secret Service said it is investigating.

"ASSASSINATION! America, we survived the Assassinations and (presidents Abraham) Lincoln & (John F.) Kennedy. We'll surely get over a bullet to Barrack Obama's head," wrote one Twitter user, who uses the online handle Solly Forell, and identifies himself as a conservative blogger and "'authentic' African American," ABC News reported.

The Secret Service, which investigates any perceived threats to the president or calls for his assassination, said it was aware of the comments and "taking the appropriate investigative action. We respect the right of free speech, but in such instances we have a right and an obligation to ask questions and determine intent."

The House passed the healthcare bill Sunday. President Obama is expected to sign it Tuesday.

A Twitter user who called himself THHEE_JAY and identified as Jay Martin, tweeted "You Should be Assassinated!! @Barack Obama," ABC News reported.

Martin, who is black, wrote, "If I lived in DC. I'd shoot him myself. Dead f***ing serious."

After the posts spread rapidly on the Internet and the tweeters received messages alerting them that they would likely be the subjects of federal investigations both attempted to retract their statements.

"Let us all renounce the harsh rhetoric about POTUS," said a tweet on the Forell feed. "Several including myself have used inappropriate language. Let's remain civil!"

"For the record," said a tweet on Martin's feed, "I NEVER said I would do harm to the president. I simply expressed my anger."

Twitter said it removed the profile for violating company rules concerning content, but a check by United Press International Monday afternoon indicated the page was still operating.

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