A Houston-area congressman has invited the rodeo clowns criticized for mocking President Barack Obama to Texas.
A clown riled up the crowd at a Missouri State Fair rodeo as a bull chased a man in an Obama mask. Cellphone video that captured the Saturday performance soon went viral.
On Wednesday, Rep. Steve Stockman invited the clowns to perform at a rodeo in his district.
In a statement issued by his office, the congressman blasted criticism of the clown's mask as an attack on free speech.
"Disagreeing with speech is one thing," he said. "Banning it and ordering citizens into re-education classes for mocking a liberal leader is another. Liberals have targeted this man for personal destruction to create a climate of fear."
The rodeo event in Missouri featured a man wearing an Obama mask with an upside-down broomstick attached to his backside who was positioned on the arena's dirt floor as if he were a dummy. Another clown drew cheers from the audience as he asked if they wanted to see "Obama run down by a bull" and made comments about the bull coming to get Obama.
That clown, who has been identified as Tuffy Gessling, was banned from the Missouri State Fair for life, the Kansas City Star reported.
The clown who wore the Obama mask has not been identified.
The head of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboys Association has since resigned over the controversy, and the MRCA has apologized for what it calls an "inappropriate" act.