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'Kill Obama' Facebook poll: latest sign of healthcare anger?

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In the latest incident of violent rhetoric against the president, an anonymous user of Facebook posted a poll on Saturday asking if Barack Obama should be assassinated.

Administrators of the online social networking website took down the poll on Monday, but not before it received 730 responses to the question, “Should Obama be killed?”

The identity of the poll’s author is not known, nor are the responses to the poll, which was posted using third-party software unaffiliated with Facebook itself. The incident came to light after the Secret Service received a tip and contacted Facebook.

Threatening the life of the president is a crime in the United States, and the Secret Service is working to determine if the poll was meant as a tasteless prank or an incitement to violence.

The incident is the latest in a series that may point to a rise in hate speech against President Obama.

Organizations that track hate speech have noted a rise in such rhetoric over the summer, particularly since Obama began pushing for healthcare reform.

The poll on Facebook seemed to be playing off the healthcare controversy, listing as its four answers: “Yes. Maybe. Yes if he cuts my healthcare. No.”

The Secret Service is investigating two other possible threats against Obama, as ABC News reports:

The Secret Service is investigating a Maryland man who held a sign reading "Death to Obama" and "Death to Michelle and her two stupid kids" outside a town hall meeting this week. And in New Hampshire, another man stood across the street from a Presidential town hall with his gun on full display.
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