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

Obama: New Yorker cover fueled some misconceptions

CNN

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.

Full story

soundoff (285 Responses)
  1. LB

    I think Obama responded very maturely to some satire gone wrong from within his own team. What never fails to amaze me is how some will continue to perpetuate the myth that Obama is a Muslim : replete with the innuendo that being Muslim is equivalent to the worst negative stereotype – without actually saying why it would be so bad.

    That people would be swayed by this mentality of fear speaks to the political immaturity of the body politic. I grew up in India and at one point we had a Muslim president, a Sikh Prime Minister and a Catholic ruling party chairperson, and Indians could not be prouder of their country! The insular view of America scares me.

    July 15, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  2. Eric

    New McCain voter is not going to vote for McCain or Obama becouse he is only about 12 years old. He is just trying to get a reaction out of us. I am focusing on the issues and voting for Obama. Not the man who does not understand the economy and has never sent a e-mail in his life.

    July 15, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. Faye of Ohio

    I think that I am fully smart enough to understand satire, and I have read the New Yorker for years. It's not the first time it has "crossed the line" from humor to vindictiveness, but this time I don't think that it was intentional. I believe that the editor actually thought it would help dispel the main rumors floating around about Obama and his wife, Michelle – and that it was being done in a humorous way. It totally failed and in no way met the criteria for satire. Yes, it will add fuel to the fire for those who have believed the rumors anyway, and the cover was totally tasteless. I can think of a lot of satirical covers about McCain, his wife Cindy, and his first wife; however, I would not wish ridicule or pain / suffering on anyone and would not like to see such a cover. Incidentally, what are these posts about Michelle being a "radial" wife? At least get the spelling right!

    July 15, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  4. Joe PA

    Fredia, If you do not know Obama well enough to vote for him do some research. You obviously have a computer. Type in Barack Obama in the Googles (hehehe) and get familiar with the man.

    July 15, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. Texans for Obama

    I think the New Yorker was trying to be funny but it wasn't as funny as they thought. It was a verfy ignorant move on the part of the New Yorker. What if they would have had Old McCain being pushed in a wheel chair by his wife Cindy dressed as a viet cong soldier? Is that funny? NO!.

    It may have been a good article but the cartoon wasn't. No, McCain! America cannot afford 4 more yrs of Iraq, or the Republican rule. I am employed in the financial field and majored in economics, our economy is going to get worse. Many more people will lose their jobs before it gets better, and more banks are going to become insolvent. The war is helping to make our economy worse, it has to stop.
    Vote Obama!

    July 15, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  6. clearing it up

    Wanted to clear something up to all those who keep insisting that he's a muslim because his father is or because he was born that way or whatever. Being muslim is not a birthright. Its a belief system. You have to believe in islam and its idealogy to be a muslim.
    Hence even if you were born muslim but disagree with its beliefs, you are not a muslim....

    Just because your father may be a doctor doesn't make you a doctor also unless you go to medical school and conciously decide to become a doctor.

    July 15, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. Obama supporter

    Those of you who say that you are changing your vote from Obama to McCain because of that cover weren't going to vote for him in the first place. All of those issues are proving to be rumors or false. This man has work his butt off to be where he is today and that says a lot for the type of man he is and president he WILL be. He has proving time after time that he can come back from being pounced on by ignorant people

    July 15, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. KE

    Even the media outside of America is now aware of and talking about the importance of the Clinton vote with the Republican Party and the Democratic Party in the November election.

    July 15, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. George

    No misconception here, that is exactly my thoughts!!

    July 15, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. Angelica

    Obama's father is a MUSLIM. True statement. What? Are you Obama supporters mad now? Obama's middle name is Hussein and apparently so is Kim Hussein Taylor's. What? True statement. Are you mad now? Stop whinning!!!! You know how the black culture has "STOP SNITCHING!!", well the white culture has this for you, "STOP WHINNING!!".

    July 15, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. where are the issues

    Geeeze, who really cares. We have an economy that is falling apart, our soldiers are being shot at, gas that is approaching house payments per moth, unemployment going through the roof.....When are we going to forget about this stuff, and start focusing on our country.

    I could care less what they put on the cover, I dont read the magazine anyway.... cant afford to, gotta buy gas to go look for a job, and pull out my money from the banks.

    July 15, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. Steve/Houston,TX for Obama

    If you actually take the time and read Obama's response, he is not complaining about the alleged satire cartoon but stating that it is free speech. He stated that it was in poor taste which it was. It gave Michelle Obama an afro, why? She does not have an afro. The cartoon is in my opinion racist but oh well, like Obama stated we have more pressing issues. Let's move right along to the REAL issues so we can get you into the White House, President Barack Obama

    July 15, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. clearing it up

    Wanted to clear something up to all those who keep insisting that he's a muslim because his father is or because he was born that way or whatever. Being muslim is not a birthright. Its a belief system. You have to believe in islam and its idealogy to be a muslim.
    Hence even if you were born muslim but disagree with its beliefs, you are not a muslim....

    Just because your father may be a doctor doesn't make you a doctor also unless you go to medical school and conciously decide to become a doctor.

    July 15, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. Joey, Philly

    I canceled my subscription to the New Yorker lastnight. There mag will never be found in my home or office ever again.

    July 15, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  15. Oops

    lol.. what cracks me up are these fake posters claiming that they are now going to vote McCain because of this... they were already and are most likely in his campaign in some way or fashion... you people are a JOKE and keep fueling hate.

    July 15, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. Joe B

    Please don't vote for this clown!!

    July 15, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. Selina

    LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL

    July 15, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. NC Man

    It was a cover .... the media has been bashing people for years...it's nothing NEW. Oh wait it's Obama "Mr Walk on water"

    July 15, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. Jayne

    Nancy of Minnesota you can join Michelle Obama who has NEVER been proud of her country...(at least until her husband became president elect.) You should both move to another country.

    July 15, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. hmmm, make me sick

    You know what's funny about all this talk about Obama. The underlying fact is you are all racist, not just on the black thing, but the religion thing. It's become ok to hate someone for their religion, even though we all know he's a Christian.
    I'm sure if Romney is the VP for McCain, then it will be all about him being a Morman, this and that.
    Reality check, no one can be perfect as you all think you are, wake up and get a life! Thought we lived in America.

    July 15, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  21. Angelica Mires

    If Obama becomes president and I mean that with a capital IF, he heard that he will ban the word MUSLIM.

    July 15, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. Linda

    Just get over it!! Everyone criticizing the New Yorker obviously doesn't read it and doesn't realize that they actually support him. To me the real humor is not satirizing the ignorance of others, but satirizing the so called radicalism of Obama. I'm afraid he's not even a liberal. Did everyone miss how he towed the party line and voted for the surveillance bill - only the party line he towed was the Republican's. Now he's starting to talk a little more hawkish. What's next?

    July 15, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. mama sue

    Hey, at least they got one thing right! Barack Obama was standing in the oval office!

    July 15, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. texanne

    His middle name is Hussein (an Arab name)- that is a fact which cannot be disputed.

    He changed his first name from Barry to Barack..that also cannot be disputed...

    Wake up America...he is not qulaified to be president...regardless of muslim, hindu, athiest....what has he really accomplished...he is not even qualified to shine Mccain's shoes.

    July 15, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. Joe B

    Ruthie!!
    You honor our "vertans" so much you can't even spell it correctly!!

    July 15, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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