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Rodeo clown appearance in Obama mask tarnishes Missouri: White House

EDGARTOWN, Massachusetts (Reuters) - An appearance by a rodeo clown wearing a mask lampooning President Barack Obama at a Missouri fair is an embarrassing moment for the state, a Missouri-born White House spokesman said on Wednesday.

The incident in which the clown wore the mask and encouraged a bull to run him down occurred on Saturday at the Missouri State Fair. Leading Democrats and Republicans as well as State Fair officials said it was disrespectful to the president.

The clown is now banned from future state fairs.

"I can tell you, as a native Missourian, it's certainly not one of the finer moments for our state and not the way that I like to see our state mentioned in the news," Josh Earnest, the deputy White House press secretary, told reporters in Edgartown, Massachussetts.

Earnest said he did not know if Obama, who is on an eight-day vacation on the Massachusetts island of Martha's Vineyard, had a reaction to the incident.

(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Paul Simao)

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