The Rev. Terry Jones -- who gained celebrity in recent years by threatening to burn Korans publicly -- told New Times Broward-Palm Beach no racial symbolism was meant by the display at the Dove World Outreach Center, but he conceded the Secret Service was "justified" in contacting the center about it.
Jones, who said he is running for president as a write-in candidate, said the effigy was "a symbolic action saying we do not, of course, want him re-elected. It is death -- of course, not to him. To his political career."
The New Times said the effigy was announced in a news release with the headline: "Terry Jones on Obama -- Hang 'Em High."
Asked about the possible connotations associated with image of a black man hanging by a noose, he said, "Quite honestly, I never even thought about that."
Jones said he didn't think the headline and the effigy would give encouragement to anyone who wished harm on the president.
"I think these people who think like that, they are going to continue to think like that no matter what you do," he said. "They might use things that you do as an excuse."
Jones said he does not see Obama "as a black man" and race "has absolutely nothing to do with it."
"He is not black; he is not white; he is the president of the United States," he said.