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. Hypocrisy Thy Name Is Obama

    Yea, why doesn't anyone mock McCain's age?
    Oh yeah, they do it all the time. Sigh....

    July 15, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  2. Merle Mpls

    Karl Rove and the spirit of Lee Atwater are very much alive!

    July 15, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  3. bill pike

    somewhere with these highly educated people are white sheets with holes in them-well hidden from the public and more dangerous than uncle henry with his sheet and gun. why would anyone who loves this country and is proud for the gains we have made ever buy their nazi oriented rag again. why??? it is so obvious when the editor supported this where their sheets I mean minds stand. glad it is in NY and not Georgia.

    July 15, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. AA

    It really is pathetic that the gop are going to use Mitt Romney to try and get the women away from Hilary Clinton. Unless you are a really stupid gullible women who wants her son killed in Iraq or Iran do not fall for it and don't vote for John "napalm" McCain. Romney really isn't that "good looking" only to himself.

    July 15, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. Larry

    Tarla July 15th, 2008 4:17 pm ET

    Someone needs to ask Bush about that kid down in gitmo.

    that "kid" is a Canadian prisoner. And that "kid" threw a grenade that killed a soldier.

    July 15, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. DJ, LA, CA

    Yes good take by Obama...we shouldn't be rewarding bad decisions made by investors, shareholders and executives by bailing them out.

    Let the bad banks fail. The taxpayers shouldn't pay the bill like they did in the S & L scandal.

    Obama is way ahead of games and talk about cartoons. You cynics can talk all you want about cartoons, pins, medals, fist bumps, clothes, race.

    July 15, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. Louis

    How about a New Yorker cover showing Cindy McCain holding stolen prescription drugs (true story–look it up) and 100 million dollars (from her Dad's beer distributorship) in the other hand. Also, show John cheating on his previous wife (with Cindy) while he supports Charles Keating (who cost the taxpayers 3+Billion dollars) and while he sings "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran..."

    July 15, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. lnab

    Sweetie...get over it

    it's called satire

    July 15, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. David Armendale, SF, CA

    Will John McCain explain what he meant when asked how many more years US troops might stay in Iraq, he said Maybe a hundred. "As long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed, it's fine with me."

    Thus, McCain's conditional statement: AS LONG AS US troops are not being injured or killed, THEN he is OK with them staying in Iraq, seems to suggest that IF troops ARE being injured or killed in Iraq, then it is NOT OK with McCain that they remain in Iraq. Is this the case? And if not, are there any conditions in which it is NOT OK with McCain that troops remain in Iraq?

    July 15, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. NShek

    Tim Hutchins- Please read a book. And it can't be the Bible. Ready, set, go...

    REVEREND Wright is a Muslim now?

    Congratulations. You're a proud graduate of the George W. Bush of "I Ain't Know Nuthin."

    July 15, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. NotFallingInLine.org

    The cover may have fueled misconceptions, but the story within was spot on.

    As long as Obama keeps the focus on the cartoon, he can keep us distracted from the fact that some journalists are finally acting professionally and seriously vetting this sleazy character.

    He wants you to think he's the second coming, but he's really just an totally flawed human being and a very unprincipled politician.

    Knoxville NFIL

    July 15, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. Jeff Long

    I like this comment.

    Obama says 57 states. Obama says Maliki is the president of Iraq and that got no media attention. Obama says the leader of Canada is the president of Canada. Obama said sunshine florida instead of sunrise florida. Obama said 100 million died in burma and 10,000 died in a tornado in kansas last year.

    July 15, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  13. Concerned

    The cover is reinforce lies about Obama. The New Yorker should be a shamed.

    July 15, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  14. The Emperor Wears No Clothes

    A few posts opposing Obama have slipped through CNN moderation and the Obama supporters are having a meltdown.

    July 15, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. Ignorant people need not blog

    This free speech society sure has exposed how ignorant and outright stupid some people can be in expressing their idiotic views. If you dont like Obama. Fine..hate 'em...scream in the mirror till you are blue in the face.. just dont spew your garbage on this blog site.

    Sometimes I wonder if the neanderthals who spew this garbage have any education at all....jeeeeesus and we are supposed to be the most advanced country in the free world WHAT A SHAME!!!!!!!

    July 15, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  16. judge Huck

    ...talking about REAL American, Johnny here was not even born in the US, so technically he is Panamanian, think there's something in the constitution that you have be a NATURAL BORN CITIZEN to run for president, wish Arnold is in the ticket instead

    July 15, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  17. Obamalism

    Muslim vs Black Liberation Theologist

    I'd be less suspicious of the motives of a Muslim. Most are peaceful and loving. Liberation theologist? Not so much...

    July 15, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. Sharon in Oakland, CA

    Somebody please wake when this all over. All of you foolish people and all of this foolishness has gotten on my last nerve. I think I will go outside and play with the children, they seem to have more decency/respect and maturity than most of the people have posted comments here and elsewhere. Shame for shame...what are we going to do? Please wake me when it's over.

    Gone Fishin'

    July 15, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  19. Terry, Butte, Mt

    If the New Yorker would have put either "Lies!" or "Nonsense!" in big letters at the bottom of the cover, there would have not been a controversy. I see what they were trying to do, but there should have been a visual explaination at the bottom.

    July 15, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  20. G. Penley

    Whatever helps keep this unqualified phony from gaining the Presidency is fine with me.

    July 15, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  21. Barry

    Oh stop Crying!
    What are you going to say to other nations when they start to make fun of you?

    July 15, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  22. Joan

    I trust Obama with our precious beautiful country. He is a very smart man. McBush is too old to be taking on such a task. Also how could he possibly relate to the common person who has to try to make ends meet on wages that are not keeping up with inflation?
    He doesn`t have to worry with a wife worth millions. I appreciate the fact that he was a P.O.W. but so were many others, and many paid the ultimate price.
    I also have to wonder about the character of the man, when he left a wife and children for a rich younger woman.
    Obama 2008

    July 15, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  23. arc, Lugano CH

    The Truth That Shall Not Be Spoken July 15th, 2008 4:11 pm ET
    Why we are not permitted to speak of Obama's Muslim background?
    You are so afraid. You are so ignorant. And you don't even know why.


    July 15, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  24. Obamalism

    Community Organizer? For those of you that are confused about his only experience.... When you think of community organizer, think Al Sharpton.

    July 15, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  25. Not fooled by distractions

    The problem is that most americans won't "get it". Remember, bush was reelected with 51% – that's not saying much for the majority of americans. The Fox news trolls will definitely not "get it" – and this just gives them what they would consider ammo – I'd consider it, an indication of their ignorance.

    I think that even with satire there's a line that shouldn't be crossed, and unfortunately the New Yorker crossed it. This was in very poor taste.

    July 15, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
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