In his first extensive comments on the controversial New Yorker cover, Barack Obama defends the magazine's right to print it, but said it furthered misconceptions about him.
The cover showed Obama dressed in Muslim garb and fist-bumping his wife in the Oval Office while the American flag burns in the fireplace. The magazine's editors said yesterday it was an attempt to show how Obama's foes were resorting to the politics of fear.
"Well, I know it was The New Yorker's attempt at satire," Obama says in an interview that is to air tonight on CNN's "Larry King Live." I don't think they were entirely successful with it. But you know what? It's a cartoon, Larry, and that's why we've got the First Amendment.
In the interview, portions of which were released by CNN this afternoon, Obama said he was not personally hurt by the cover.
"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."
Obama has been fighting Internet-fueled rumors that he is Muslim and has created a website devoted to debunking untruths.
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.