Earlier Monday, we reported that an online petition demanding Barack Obama stay out of Arkansas in the wake of recent tornadoes had reached over 492 signatures toward its goal of 1,000. But something mysteriously happened to the petition shortly after our initial report. Amy White, the Sheridan, Ark., resident who posted the petition, told Examiner.com Monday it simply disappeared without any warning.
White also told Examiner that some of her friends could get to the petition, but others could not. Some, she said, got error messages and an attempt to post on Care2's Facebook page was also unsuccessful.
An attempt to go to the original petition now brings up an error page indicating it has been moved to another location. We searched the site but was unable to find it. The search, however, does show a competing petition demanding that those calling for Obama to stay away from the state be stopped.
She also said she believes the petition may have been pulled down as a result of complaints from Obama supporters, and perhaps even the person who started the competing petition, but acknowledged she had no proof to back that up. But White says she's not going to let the setback stop her.
On Monday, she started another petition, this time at the White House "We the People" petition site. The new petition is quite similar to the original, but notes that Arkansas is not Obama's "home soil" as NBC News reported.
"We the people of Arkansas respectfully decline Obama's offer to visit our state. Since he has never done so before, we do not need him here now," the new petition says. "The small rural towns he intends to visit could not contain a visit from him and media and secret service and all that parading and glad handing BEFORE the tornadoes."
According to White, the local infrastructure -- particularly Interstate 40, "is a horrific mess." Instead of visiting the state, she suggested Obama send money that would otherwise be spent on what would ultimately become a photo op.
"This is not your home soil. you have never paid attention to us in the past and we all know this is simply to campaign for Mark Pryor and Hillary anyway," she added. "Nobody really cares about seeing a selfie of Obama anyway."
As of this writing, the petition has 19 signatures and requires a total of 100,000 for White House action. Obama is scheduled to visit the state on Wednesday, which does not leave petitioners much time.
"Do I think I can stop the president from coming here?" she asked. "No," she said in response to her own question. But, she added, if failure stopped everyone from trying, "what would ever get accomplished?"
Care2, the site that hosted the petition, has not responded to her inquiries. The site's media relations team has so far not responded to our request for comments.
Update: The original petition mysteriously came back online and can be viewed here.