July 15th, 2008
05:10 PM ET
15 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. JonRoss

    This hours count. Two stories about Obama – one neutral one positive. Zero mention of McCain.

    July 15, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  2. Maria

    So what if he is a Muslim?!!!!!!! Bigotry seems to be alive and well.– I guess bigotry is much more acceptable than racism.

    I laugh when people say Bush is a Christian implying he must be a decent person. These self proclaimed "Christian" politians abuse and use Christianity. Bush is a disgrace to Christians.

    July 15, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  3. Ratgurl

    After seeing some of the illiterate or manufactured drivel that gets through CNN's moderators, I am reminded why I stopped visiting this website & chose to get my news elsewhere.

    I'd love to see a news organization who can offer nothing more or less than facts. Unfortunately it seems as though most people (especially here) skip the stories that go with the headlines & choose to base their information on the commentary (but only if it congeals with what they already believe). I'm truly disappointed in a large percentage of the American population. I thought we were better than that.

    July 15, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  4. Lindsay


    July 15, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  5. James Hussein, SC

    interesting July 15th, 2008 4:15 pm ET

    Obama's father is Kenyan and was a muslim. Under islamic law, he is recognized as a muslim as he would take the religion of his father. Obama's step father was a muslim.

    I am a Muslim and you have zero idea about what you say. No person becomes a Muslim unless he declares to be Muslim. Being a Muslim is NOT a birth right.

    It is people like you who lie and lie to convince others you know what you are saying. Here is the truth. Senator Obama is and was never a Muslim.

    July 15, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  6. Obama...08...Oh yeah!

    Yes, the cartoon was out of line. Judging by some of the comments I've read below, many Americans do not understand the concept of satire (dictionary.com might help them).

    Obama is handling this situation with grace and dignity. He was right to be annoyed. He's also right in that there are much more important issues to focus on.

    Please check your spelling and grammar when you post anything online. Certain McCain supporters are making themselves look quite foolish. I am appalled by the ignorance represented in some of the comments I'm reading here.

    July 15, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. Samia Ahmed

    Samia Ahmed July 15th, 2008 4:46 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    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 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. patricia

    America needs Obama Now!

    July 15, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. Shah Man

    I think the story is satire in maybe not a very tasteful way, but still I thought it was funny although I am an american muslim. People take these types of things to seriously.

    July 15, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  10. obama is a DISGRACE

    Are you people stupid???? It's a cartoon. Obama thinks just becauyse he's black he's off limits. Well, get a hold of yourself you whinny little brat.

    July 15, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
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