Monserrate draws heat over use of Obama slogan

March 9, 2010 3:59:03 PM PST
Expelled Senator Hiram Monserrate is under fire for using President Barack Obama's campaign slogan without permission.A poster touting Monserrate's election campaign makes use of the popular "Yes We Can" phrase that was the rallying cry for Obama's successful run to the White House.

Obama's logo, of a rising sun, won all kinds of awards. It was so popular that are others are now using it

"You'll see here our campaign slogan is 'Yes we can. Si se puede. Si se puede," Hiram Monserrate explained as he launched his campaign on Tuesday.

Monserrate became the first New York State Senator to be expelled since 1861 after a judge convicted him of a misdemeanor for dragging his girlfriend through an apartment lobby. He took the expulsion to a judge, who ruled that his removal was legal. He is appealing the decision, and recently gathered enough signatures to get his name on the ballot for a special election scheduled for March 16.

Obama's logo from two years ago and Monserrate's logo do look a lot like.

Monserrate says we're mistaken.

"This logo is similar to what they used, but slightly different because the logo is actually a 'Q' for the great bureau of Queens. If folks had really analyzed it they would have seen it," he said.

That's right it's not an O as in Obama, but a Q for Queens. His opponents say gimme a break.

"It's another deception that he's using the Obama logo and then saying it's not the Obama logo. He abused his girlfriend, and then he says he didn't abuse his girlfriend," Valerie Berlin said.

Berlin is the spokesperson for a group called Fight Back New York. They're targeting Monserrate because of his vote against same sex marriage in the senate last year.

Monserrate's livid about it and blames a wealthy Colorado millionaire for bank-rolling the effort.

"And now he wants to impose his politics from his plush multi-millionaire mansion in Colorado and take shots at me," Monserrate said.

Fight back says they'll target others who voted no on same sex marriage.

"This is not one person with a vendetta against a senator. This is New Yorkers who are angry about the senators voting against equal rights and are taking action," Berlin said.