Oswald/Harper photo 'offensive,' Liberals admit

The Liberals say a spoof image of Stephen Harper posted on their party's website that superimposed the face of the prime minister on Lee Harvey Oswald as he was being shot was "off-limits and offensive."

The Liberals say a spoof image of Stephen Harper on their party’s website that superimposed the face of the prime minister on Lee Harvey Oswald as he was being shot was "off-limits and offensive."

The picture was part of a Liberal.ca "Stephen Harper Anywhere But Copenhagen Photo Challenge" to highlight the Liberals' claim that Harper was reluctant to go to Denmark for the climate change summit.

The contest asked people to send in altered pictures of the prime minister showing him anywhere other than Copenhagen. People sent in images of Harper superimposed onto famous pictures or historical scenes.

One of those images that appeared on the website was the famous picture of Oswald, who assassinated U.S. president John F. Kennedy, being gunned down by club owner Jack Ruby as Oswald is being escorted by police. But the image had Harper’s face in place of Oswald’s.

A senior Liberal official told CBC News the photo contest was a "humorous way of pointing out Harper's reluctance to attend the climate change meeting in Copenhagen."

"It's important to keep in mind that the pictures are created by visitors to our website, and do not reflect the views of the LPC [Liberal Party of Canada] or of the OLO [Office of the Leader of the Opposition].

"Though the pictures are screened before posting, this one slipped through the cracks and was removed quickly. It should never have been posted as it is clearly off-limits and offensive."

The fake picture began making the rounds through the blogosphere, with even some Liberal supporters condemning the image.

While not referring specifically to that image, members of the web team at Liberal.ca said they "apologize for any offence these images may have caused, and continue to strive to present a progressive and dynamic web experience for our site visitors."