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. CBB

    God forbid someone be a Muslim or even have Muslim background because all Muslims are terrorists right? Especially since it says in the constitution that presidents have to be devout Christians...

    July 15, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. Leon

    Way to go Obama. Well said, we should should all respect this man whether you are democart or republican. I am really leaning my vote towards you. This might seal it.

    July 15, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. Don't Blame Me... I voted for Bush...

    All of you thinking of voting for McCain... 2 Slaps in the face should have shown you... I guess one more slap would pretty much show all of you but you don't have to worry about it will you...

    Cartoon or not... Obama the American has done well.. Keep up the good work Mr. Obama... I'll cancel out one of these boys votes this Nov. Keep'em Slapping boys...

    July 15, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  4. Wang LI

    No surprise that people are seeing Americans noaways as has been...
    It is really stupid.
    Fueling misconceptions

    July 15, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  5. Cynthia - Arkansas

    Do you remember in the last election when Kerry kept saying, "the American people are smart ". Well, boy was he wrong! I can't believe the ignorant statements that I read on here. Have they WATCHED McSame or tried to listen to him. It is absolutely pitiful! This country is in too big a mess to let lies and talking head saying stupid things influence this election. He have got to have a president that is SMART, and will be RESPECTED around the world. We have had 8 years of a bubbling fool representing us, while the world laughs at how stupid we are.

    Obama 08

    July 15, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  6. John, Long Island, NY

    The McCain supporters who are posting there comments are such shills. They make no attempt to be fair or even slightly intellectual in their argument.

    July 15, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. BH

    Ya I am also dumb that I thought that it is not a cartoon but a real picture of a muslim family.
    Come on give me a break, people are not that dumb, I thought the cover was hilarious. Newyorker was making fun of the ridiculous.

    July 15, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. Mommyof2

    People who are stupid enough to believe that the NY cover is an accurate depiction of the Obamas should stay home in November.... what's wrong with you folks?!

    July 15, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  9. MJ

    I'm good with it as long as we see an 'equal time' cover depicting McCain as an ole liver-spotted geezer toasting with his rich pill-popping trophy wife over the body of the mother of his children who he dumped for money – cause it's just parodying what detractors are saying about McCain – right???

    July 15, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |

    Obama's comment was "he heard worse". What can be more worse than being stereo typically accused of something you're NOT. That is the most despicable thing a person can ever put on an american citizen. It's not right, and it should not be tolerated There is other ways of getting a point across besides putting Americans down.

    July 15, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  11. Ignorance is bliss

    Barack Obama is not a Muslim....Barack Obama is not a Muslim....Barack Obama is probably not a Muslim....Barack Obama might be a Muslim.....More Kool-aid quick!

    July 15, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  12. Michael

    As someone who reads the New Yorker every week, the notion that this cover is anything but an explicit satire is pretty amazing. The satire is clear, the commentary isn't on Obama, it's on the utter absurdity of the mistruths about Obama perpetuated by the media/McCain/Hillary Clinton/Bill Clinton, Hilary Clinton supporters/DemocratsforMcCain, et. al. I just wish the Obama campaign didn't feel a need to respond to each of these absurd little media tizzy's.

    The New Yorker is totally in the right, whatever that's worth, it's sad that there are many people in this country who either cannot understand blatant satire or are so caught up in the media created/candidate embraced game of catching the latest gaffe and turning each remark by or about Obama into a nationwide discussion about race.

    Luckily these boards are representative of America, and John McCain is inept, souless, and idea-less.

    July 15, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  13. Sophie Brown


    July 15, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  14. SDunn

    Don unfortunately most of the public did find it offensive! I can not believe the ignorance in this country sometimes and most of it is portrayed on these tickers every day. I can't wait until Obama becomes President so most of you all can eat your ignorant words. I can't wait!

    July 15, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. Be for real

    My question is, why didn't they satirize McCain?

    July 15, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. Sue

    I was offended by the cover. Most people only look at the cover, and never bother reading what is inside. While it may have been a "satire", I found it to be incredibally offensive and in poor taste. I do hope they do reciprocate and do an equally offensive cover of John McCain to keep things equal!

    July 15, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  17. Ruth

    I have to be honest and say I don't read the New Yorker. I suspect that only a TINY minority of americans do read it. that said, did they do a cover of John McCain that riduculed his intention of continuing the Iraq war with a crude referene to his time as a POW? Did they call him a baby killer for his service in Viet Nam? No, I am not suggesting they should do so, yet surely this is the same level of crude, hurtful "satire" displayed in the cover on Obama. To suggest the man is anti-american and disrespectful of his country; to say a Christian is a Muslim; to say his wife is a terrorist is no different from calling John McCain a baby killer who seeks to win a war in Iraq because he was in a losing war in Viet Nam. Pleaes note those of you whoare ready to shoot me that oen argument makes as much sense as the other. My profound apologies to John McCain by the way for using him as an example. My husband also served in Viet Nam and I honor our vertans, just as I honor Barrak Obama for his courage in running for President. God bless both of you and may the man who will do the most for our country win.

    July 15, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  18. Nova from NV

    I think the Obama supporters are taking things too seriously. He is way too touchy about his religion. Not long ago some Muslim woman were bared from appearing behind him. He should not discriminate people based on their religion.

    July 15, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  19. Michael from Mich

    I'll vote for McCain if he promises to wear a pirate hat and an eye patch, at least on Fridays.

    July 15, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. yns

    First he whines... then... he makes a speech! Appease, appease, appease.... sounds like good old-fashioned politics to me!

    July 15, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  21. Chris

    I will never read the New Yorker again. Shame on them!

    July 15, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  22. Bush Slap, GA

    I guess getting slapped in the face twice did'nt show you LEFT Wingers enough. I guess McCain will be different from Bush right?
    No knowledge of economics
    He's aware of the Internet though
    Keep fighting a war like Vietnam
    Flip Floper

    Left Wingers, do you wanat to be slapped again... Don't worry about that this time. Obama supporters are here and we'll stop you from taking another slap in the face you left wingers... We help all people.

    July 15, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  23. Right On

    Why would anyone think Obama is un-American? Because of the flag pin thing, the national anthem thing...no wait his wife not being proud to be an American, or is it the America hate message his church for 20 years spouts out?? Yeah i don't get it either...

    July 15, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. Down with Obama

    I will sure make sure that I won't watch Larry tonight....Looks like Hannity and Combs for me.

    You have lost Obama....give it up.

    July 15, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  25. NShek

    "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."

    And this is what we all need to be very scared of. This comment, though yes it's only one person, is the core problem with our country and why we need to take a good look at ourselves. I think it represents a big percentage of our population. Many people don't understand what satire is, and wouldn't recognize it if it hit them on the head. And on top of that many Americans think "Muslim" means "Terrorist" evidenced by the fact that this person is making such a clearly racist statement as if the word Muslim is synonymous with "Nazi." Sad and scary.

    On the other hand, this persons comment could be another attempt at "satire" kind of making fun of the ignorance of many Americans. In which case, again its going over most peoples heads. But nice try.

    July 15, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
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