New Yorker Mag's 'Satire' Cover Draws Team Obama's Ire

Barack Obama's campaign lashed out Sunday at the editors of The New Yorker magazine

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By Stephanie Gaskell
Daily News Staff Writer

Barack Obama's campaign lashed out Sunday at the editors of The New Yorker magazine for a cartoon cover that depicts the Democratic candidate and his wife as fist-bumping terrorists.

The magazine's editor described the cartoon, called "The Politics of Fear," as satire. The Obama campaign called it "tasteless and offensive."

The Illinois senator is depicted in traditional Muslim garb in the Barry Blitt illustration set in the Oval Office.

His wife, Michelle, is in fatigues, sporting an Angela Davis-style sky-high Afro, an AK-47 slung over her shoulder.

A portrait of terror kingpin Osama Bin Laden hangs above the fireplace, in which an American flag is set ablaze.

"The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Sen. Obama's right-wing critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree," Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said.

New Yorker editor David Remnick seemed shocked by the backlash.

"Our cover...combines a number of fantastical images about the Obamas and shows them for the obvious distortions they are," he said in a statement.

"The burning flag, the nationalist-radical and Islamic outfits, the fist-bump, the portrait on the wall - all of them echo one attack or another. Satire is part of what we do, and it is meant to bring things out into the open, to hold up a mirror to the absurd. And that's the spirit of this cover," Remnick said.

The magazine does not explain the cover. Inside are lengthy stories that look at how Chicago politics shaped the candidate and at allegations that he flip-flops on major issues.

Obama brushed off the brouhaha. "I have no response to that," he told reporters when asked about the cover, but his supporters are infuriated.

The McCain campaign joined in piling on The New Yorker. "We completely agree with the Obama campaign that it's tasteless and offensive," said campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds.

sgaskell@nydailynews.com

With Michael Saul

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