July 15th, 2008
05:10 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama: New Yorker cover fueled some misconceptions


Watch part of Obama's interview with Larry King. Catch the full interview with Obama on CNN's Larry King Live tonight, 9 p.m. ET.

(CNN) - Barack Obama on Tuesday called the controversial New Yorker cover that unflatteringly depicts him and his wife an unsuccessful attempt at satire that will likely fuel misconceptions he has long battled over the course of his presidential campaign.

But in an exclusive interview with CNN's Larry King, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate downplayed the impact of the illustration — which depicts him in Muslim attire in the Oval Office, with wife Michelle carrying a machine gun.

iReport.com: Satire or slander? Share your thoughts

"It's a cartoon…and that's why we've got the First Amendment," Obama said. "And I think the American people are probably spending a little more time worrying about what's happening with the banking system and the housing market, and what's happening in Iraq and Afghanistan, than a cartoon. So I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about it."

"I've seen and heard worse," he said. "I do think that, you know, in attempting to satirize something, they probably fueled some misconceptions about me instead. But, you know, that was their editorial judgment."

The cover, which also depicts a U.S. flag burning in the fireplace and a picture of Osama bin Laden on the wall, drew heavy criticism from both political parties after it first circulated the Internet over the weekend. Both presidential campaigns immediately condemned the magazine, calling the illustration "tasteless and offensive."

Earlier: New Yorker editor defends cover

David Remnick, the longtime editor of the highly-regarded publication, told CNN Monday that he believes the ironic intent of the illustration will be clear to most Americans.

Watch: Journalists debate the New Yorker Cover

In Obama’s wide ranging CNN interview Tuesday - the entirety of which is set to air tonight on Larry King Live at 9 p.m. ET - the Illinois senator seemed to give cautious approval of the government's response to the turmoil surrounding mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

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soundoff (285 Responses)
  1. Hopeful but Realistic

    If David Remnick thinks that most Americans will recognize the cover as irony, then he needs to venture out more often. Go west, young man! Cross the Hudson River! You may learn something about America!

    July 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  2. Tubby The Tuba

    I'm not buying that magazine ever again! What jerks!

    July 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. Michelle

    Why so much focus on the cover?

    There's an entire article inside packed with info!

    I am pleased that the New Yorker (article) actually contained some vetting of Obama.

    It is so disappointing that most of the MSM is playing Rip van Winkle when it comes to vetting Obama.

    July 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. Tim, Seattle

    An idiot wrote: "Why we are not permitted to speak of Obama's Muslim background?"

    Umm, because he does not have a Muslim background and is not a Muslim.
    But thanks for playing....

    July 15, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. Bob Who

    Obama is very Intelligent.
    America just can't wait enough until he becomes the next president and start solving the country's problem that others couldn't solve.

    George Bush is now the most richest American president ever because of the war in Iraq. He made billions of dollars from Iraqi Oil using American soldiers as cover up. Americans, Shame on you that you don't know this.

    July 15, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. m.

    July 15th, 2008 4:04 pm ET

    I was going to vote for Barack but now after seeing that cover, I just cannot in good concious vote for a man who may be a musllim and also has a radial wife. You just never know. Better safe than sorry.
    I will vote McCain. I KNOW that he is American and besides he has served his country for years and years.
    I am still trying to wrap my head around what the hell a community organizer is. ??

    Educate yourself, first HE IS NOT a muslim, second find out about the wonderful job he did as and organizer.

    Sorry that you alloud a magazine to make such and importante decision for the country. SAD

    July 15, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  7. Is that the right answer, thought police?

    So if your father and stepfather were Muslim, you attended a Muslim school, you studied Islam, you practiced Islam, and most of your relatives are Muslim, then of course you have no Muslim background.
    What was I thinking?

    July 15, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  8. Jerry in Boston

    What a load of rubbish.

    Obama wants to keep this story front and centre because the OBVIOUS satirical nature of it helps to drive home the stupidity of the notion than he is a secret muslim terrorist.

    If this was a cover mocking his sanctimonious sermonising and fawning sychophantic followers, do you think he's be trying to draw attention to it?

    Some people are so easily manipulated.

    July 15, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. Nicole in NE

    I am beginning to wonder if it even matters at this point. The people who refuse to educate themselves on truths will believe whatever stupid email they get and whatever media feeds them – it's truly sad.

    Try factcheck.org people – it's really not that hard!

    The sad thing is the same people they are trying to make fun of in this "satire" are the probably the ones who gave George bush twice.

    Thanks for nothing!

    Obama 08'

    July 15, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  10. Lisa

    This whole thing makes me sad for America. We need help and can't afford McCain for one day much less 4 years.

    July 15, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  11. Robert P. in Indianapolis

    This guy is so unflappable! For all the mess thrown at him by the right, the media, and some of his "supporters" – he continues to rise above it.

    He's regal.

    Every day my confidence grows in his ability to lead this country out of the mess made by the Republicans.

    July 15, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  12. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    Why we are not permitted to speak of Obama's Muslim background?

    IF he were muslim-which IS NOT a bad thing, folks--then of course we could talk about it, but his FATHER was muslim. obama is a christian!!! remember his PASTOR that you neoCONs had such a heyday with???

    you cant have it BOTH ways, folks, if you want to pretend he's muslim then you cant hold his pastor against him. if you still want to judge obama for his pastor's comments, you gotta stop pretending he's muslim.

    we know you just blindly feed on the right-wing hate to feel better about your miserable selves, but those two things are mutually exclusive, folks!!!!!

    July 15, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  13. Jeff Long

    Regardless of what you say about the New Yorker, it was a good article.

    July 15, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. puma Pa lady

    Obama is a phony.. and i refuse to drink the kool aid and i refused to brain washed... this clinton supporter will be voting for mccain!!!!

    July 15, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. Marie in California

    What misconceptions?

    July 15, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    People who still believe Iraq attacked us during 9/11 are like Japanese soldiers lost in the jungles of the Phillipines who emerge 30 years later and still think WWII is going on...

    July 15, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  17. CD

    Ignorants fools that posts on this blog just shocks me and to think these hateful people slamming Obama with negative lies for no reason have voting rights is just too scary. I think we need to up the ante and subject voters to America 101 for 2 minutes on a screen test in the polling booth before granting them the right to vote.

    Obama 2008!

    July 15, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. Abby

    New Voter for McCain, either you are brain dead or a lier 🙂

    July 15, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  19. Terry in Denver

    The New Yorker cover is akin to Orsen Welles 1938 War of the Worlds radio spoof. Because it was done so well, many people believed what they heard, or in this case saw, as being real with catastrophic results and real damage.

    July 15, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  20. Rachelraye- MD

    Please you weren't going to vote for Obama in the first place. You were just looking for excuses and found one. What a sad sad day it'll be for some when he becomes the next POTUS.

    July 15, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  21. Brandon Hillary PUMA for Mc Cain-Pa

    An image is being created for obama and he barely realizes it–
    Remember Kerry didnt realize the affects of the swift boat ads until it was too late.
    His defeat will be "bitter"sweet indeed.

    July 15, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. Marie in California

    What misconceptions? I didn't see any.

    July 15, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  23. CW4Barak

    Just remember one thing Obama, you have enemies on both sides....you have to be weary of even the people who are smiling and calling you comrade....they all have an agenda, and for some it is not to see a black man elected president, no matter how much they say they are on your side!! Clear example James Carville....still secretly hoping that you fail in your bid to become president, so that he and his friends the Clintons will have another shot in 4 yrs. time. Just don't trust anyone too much with your information....and be careful what you say to them in "private"!

    Obama Always!

    July 15, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  24. To New Voter

    First, it's muslim, not "musllim" Secondly Obama is NOT a muslim and never has been. And his wife is NOT some gun carrying black panther. This exactly the reason this cover will cause trouble. Because refuges from the trailer park who never bother to read anything..."Rush Limbaugh teaches me all I ever need to know" will use this to say..."See, I knew he was an terrorist!!!!"

    July 15, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  25. Eric in Ca

    intelligence will return to the White House, Thank you Sen. Obama !

    July 15, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
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