A Kansas tea party group has removed from its Web site an illustration that compared President Barack Obama to a skunk because it is half black, half white, and almost everything it does stinks.

The Patriot Freedom Alliance, which is affiliated with the tea party movement, posted a picture of a skunk with the caption, The skunk has replaced the eagle as the new symbol for the president. Almost immediately, the group -- which is based in Hutchinson, Kan., about 42 miles northwest of Wichita -- was inundated with criticism of the illustration's racist undertones.

As far as I'm concerned, it's proof of the kind of organization that they are, Darrell Pope, president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, told The Hutchinson News, a local newspaper. I felt it always had racial undertones in the first place.

You would think that an organization that claims to be about patriotism and what this country is supposed to stand for would have a better way of expressing it than what they're doing, Pope added.

Group Members Defend Skunk Illustration As Satire

The illustration has since been removed from the Patriot Freedom Alliance Web site, but group members nonetheless defended it.

It's satire, is what it is -- satire in a politically incorrect form, Thomas Hymer, who maintains the group's Web site, told The Hutchinson News.

It just makes a point that we're in trouble, and what's happening doesn't smell right, another member, Chuck Sankey, said. It may be offensive to some, of course, but in humor there is always an element of truth.

Sankey defended the half black, half white reference, saying, Isn't that the truth? What's wrong with the truth? He added that Sarah Palin had been subject to more offensive criticism.

But Pope told Reuters on Monday, They tried to pass it off as satire, but it was hurtful and malicious.

The problem, critics of the illustration said, wasn't the fact that the Patriot Freedom Alliance referenced Obama's interracial background, but the fact that, in the context of the illustration, that background was implied to be a bad thing.