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.

Full story

soundoff (285 Responses)
  1. Election watcher

    "Methinks he doth protest too much."

    July 15, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. Nancy of Minnesota

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Is that the right answer, thought police? July 15th, 2008 4:18 pm ET

    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?

    You might want to educate yourself a bit. He never went to a Muslim school or studied Islam (not that there is anything wrong with that). His mother was non-muslim and Obama himself is a Christian (remember Rev. Wright, the church…). His father was a Muslim and then became athiest. Again, might want to educate yourself.

    July 15, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. Debby

    Good comments from Obama at least he didn't whine about it like I thought he would.

    July 15, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. Chris

    Reading some of these comments on this site, the cover did what it set out to do!!! To label the Obama's as Muslims and Black Panther charging renegades in the White House!!!

    That cover to me was full of HATE and I'm a professional business/ college educated person who is fully aware of what satire is about!!!

    I hate to say it but the average blue collar worker don't read the New Yorker and therefore probably wouldn't grasp the idea that it's satirical in nature. So, with that said those blue collar worker would take that cover straight to heart. The cover is very misleading and therefore the Editor should really come out an apologize for it.

    I can say that Obama really is rising above the fray about it but you can see in his face how disappointed was in having to address this senseless issue!!!

    July 15, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. wow

    How about the New Yorker create a cover with David Duke in the picture of the background, the Constitution and Bill of Rights in the fireplace, Hannity holding a vote for any republican sticker across a bible facing Limbaugh dressed as a evangelistic preacher with a noose, cross and matches somewhere in the room.

    Then it will equal the revolting satirical attempt as in yesterday's New Yorker.

    July 15, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. ME

    And if Obama did not respond to this cover, then you would have been commenting on how it must be true, and that he is a lover of terrorists.

    Obama '08

    July 15, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    This board is truly upsetting. This country won't be around much longer, I imagine.

    July 15, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. GC from Virginia

    People like "New Voter for McCain" seriously depress me. The magazine cover was designed to point out how stupid these accusations are. It is satire, not anti-Obama propaganda. The editor of the NYer clearly thought Americans would be able to see that. Sadly, he was wrong. That's why this magazine cover offends people. Because it provides the misinformed and misaligned an excuse to vote against Obama. It's just so sad that it's worked.

    How could anyone, at this late stage in the game, actually believe Obama has a Muslim background. Sure, he was exposed to Islam. But I don't see how that's a bad thing. If anything, it will give him more perspective and positively impact his ability to deal with situations in the Middle East. But to "interesting" and "The Truth That Should Not Be Spoken" – you two clearly have no idea what you're talking about. Not even fundamentalist Muslims consider Obama a doctrinal Muslim. And even if they did, would it even matter? Of course not. Obama's a man of faith – anyone who listens to his speeches or reads his policy proposals will quickly discern that. You and those like you are dangerously misinformed, if not hateful.

    July 15, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. Dave

    To the person who said, "I will vote McCain. I KNOW that he is American and besides he has served his country for years and years." If you are going to believe a magazine cover over the real facts, then that's your business. Keep in mind however that John McCain was not even born on American soil. There has since been a law added to cover military children as American citizens, but it doesn't apply to McCain's situation because it is not retroactive. John McCain isn't even legally eligible to become president. He's already lying to you. Look it up. While researching, try to figure out why Nancy Reagan only reluctantly endorsed McCain. I'll give you a hint, she took the side of the woman John divorced upon discovering she is crippled, and then the very next day he married his current rich wife.

    July 15, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. Stella

    Sorry Italy but Obama is a man and not a little baby. Seems like a lot of little babies like you are on here blogging though. Satire or not, the cartoon feeds into ignorance such as yours and others on here blogging and bashing. I'm sure Senator Obama realizes that ignorant folks are going to believe what they want regardless. It seems to give them a plausible excuse in their own ignorant minds if they want to think that Obama is a Muslim, unpatriotic or whatever. America is really showing her "true colors" and the whole world is watching.

    July 15, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |

    Is that the right answer, thought police?
    July 15th, 2008 4:18 pm ET

    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?
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    LIAR... you are ONE of MANY spreading lies and falsehoods to promote and benefit from ignorance and hatred, and i call you out on it!

    That his father, who did 'not' practice the Muslim faith, left him at age "2". AND THAT HE WAS RAISED BY HIS MOTHER AND GRANDPARENTS FROM "KANSAS" WHO ARE CHRISTIAN!!!!

    July 15, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  12. Pat Riot

    "Obama also repeated his pledge that if he were president, U.S. troops would pursue bin Laden into Pakistan if adequate intelligence suggested he was there."

    So, immediately he would violate the constitution by committing our troops to another engagement without a vote in congress? What happened to bringing them home? These aren't robots Barack these are men and women some who have served multiple back to back tours of duty, suffered injury, lost family and friends and you want to invade Pakistan? Our military is cripled our economy is at a stand still and this is your great solution? You're not a power hungry Neo-Con and you're not a bleeding-hear Liberal so you? I've narrowed it down to snake-oil salesman or dictator.

    July 15, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. Military Man

    I think "New McCain Voter" was just being sarcastic ... and the rest of you look like fools trying to correct/belittle him.

    July 15, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. Brandon in Indiana

    I'm just amazed at some of the responses posted here. In the world of soundbites and prejudice, does anyone even READ what the article says? We have posters agreeing that Obama is a Muslim, we have posters saying Obama should stop whining.

    Here's an even shorter post that maybe some of you can follow:

    #1 It was satire, although poorly portrayed
    #2 Obama didn't whine about it

    Hope that wasn't too long for you all to read...

    July 15, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  15. Let's put this to rest, shall we??

    As a child in Indonesia, Obama studied for two years at one Muslim school and then two years at a Catholic school. In both places he experienced religious indoctrination, but in neither case did the indoctrination take hold: during Quranic studies he made faces and during Catholic prayers he would look around the room.

    He was age 6 and 7 went he was in the Muslim school. I have a hard time believing that they were teaching him to make IED's.


    July 15, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. Samia Ahmed

    Its funny that some people won't vote for him because they think he is muslim and yet the Muslim Community wont vote for him because he is so ridiculously discriminant towards us! This guy can't win either way.

    July 15, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. ch

    No sympathy or outrage from me considering that Obama, his sleazy campaign and the press tried to paint the Clintons as racists despite their well documented history of supporting and promoting civil rights.

    So, although the Obama’s are clearly not terrorists, they are closer to being terrorists than the Clintons are to being racists.

    July 15, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  18. Chris Gifford

    jen July 15th, 2008 4:06 pm ET

    Tomorrow night McCain will be on Larry King to parse a few of Obama's words, and take credit for figuring out we need more troops in Afghanistan which obama figured out a year and a half ago.
    Obama has not figured anything out about Aghanistan, he has not even been there. He has not talked with the military leaders about either theater

    This is what I am afraid of, people lock stepping to party politics and not actually looking at the candidates and the words coming from them or their past voting records. Hillary was the better choice.

    July 15, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  19. Saad from NJ

    Anytime someone does something with a malicious and evil intent, it will fuel misconceptions. Sad thing is the people who believe the act of evil person to be the truth.

    July 15, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  20. nitro

    If David Remnick could tell what millions and millions of people think then his tired behind would be called psycic. But since hes not then we call it what it is. A racist attempt to discredit the next president of the united states of america.

    July 15, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  21. Cheryl

    People like New Voter For McCain do NOT, I repeat DO NOT, believe Barack Obama is a Muslim. They are just trying to foment hatred. They can't say what is really in their hearts, that the idea of a black man in a position of authority and prestige is abhorent to them, so they hide behind code words like "Muslim", "unAmerican" "unpatriotic" "scary".

    If anyone doubts that this election is all about race all they have to do is look at these blogs. People don't get this worked up about political policy. They only get crazy like this about deep down fears and prejudices.

    It's no good telling people this is the 21st century and it's time to get past race. America is just not that evolved yet.

    July 15, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  22. Lone McCain Blogger

    The beauty of irony us its understatement. This cover is by no means understated. By making an "ironic" cartoon that is targetted to allow bubba to understand it, they are not ironic and basically just flip the bird at bubba, to his face. The New Yorker cartoon broke its cardinal rule of being too high falluty for average people to understand ... you ever see Seinfelds episode on this ... come on!

    July 15, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  23. Joseph, Los Angeles

    New Voter for McCain is only pulling our leg... no one can be that dumb. Let's all read the article before forming conclusions. Reading is the key to educating ourselves.

    July 15, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  24. Iowa Democrat

    OK, I tried posting something a bit long-winded and intelligent in response to the last story on this. I didn't get posted. I'll be more to the point this time:

    YOU MORONS! The cover is making fun of right-wing libel-mongers who would try to "swift boat" Obama. It was not criticizing Obama. If America is too stupid to understand this, then I think we are doomed.

    July 15, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |

    Larry, WI
    Obama supporters better wake up and smell the koran.
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    Aren't you late for your cross burning???

    July 15, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
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