(CNN) - John McCain’s campaign complained Tuesday morning that the press wasn’t treating the presumptive Republican nominee like they had covered Democrat Barack Obama. Tuesday afternoon, they got an unexpected jolt of equal treatment: their own parody magazine cover, modeled on the controversial illustration that graced last week’s New Yorker.
Earlier: New Yorker editor defends cover
In the picture, which debuted on Vanity Fair’s Web site Tuesday afternoon, John McCain and wife Cindy are shown in the Oval Office giving each other daps, the fist-jab greeting that Barack and Michelle Obama traded on the cover of the New Yorker.
Other elements have been tweaked so the illustration – like the New Yorker cover – reflect stories and stereotypes the candidate and his wife would most like to leave behind. Cindy McCain isn’t clutching a machine gun – she’s cradling vials of pills. There’s no Muslim garb in sight, but the Arizona senator is leaning on a walker. The American flag isn’t burning in the fireplace; instead, the Constitution smolders.
In place of the portrait of Osama bin Laden in the original art, the liberal magazine has opted for a likeness of President Bush.
“We had our own presidential campaign cover in the works, which explored a different facet of the Politics of Fear, but we shelved it when The New Yorker’s became the ‘It Girl’ of the blogosphere,” wrote the editors, in a tongue-in-cheek statement posted on the magazine’s Web site. “Now, however, in a selfless act of solidarity with our downstairs neighbors here at the Condé Nast building, we’d like to share it with you. Confidentially, of course.”
But don’t go looking for the cover on a newsstand near you: it will remain a virtual production, posted on the Web site alone.