Democrat Barack Obama said Tuesday that the New Yorker magazine's satirical cover depicting him and his wife as flag-burning, fist-bumping radicals doesn't bother him but that it was an insult to Muslim Americans.
"You know, there are wonderful Muslim Americans all across the country who are doing wonderful things," the presidential candidate told CNN's Larry King. "And for this to be used as sort of an insult, or to raise suspicions about me, I think is unfortunate. And it's not what America's all about."
Obama blamed himself for not being forceful enough in challenging some of the rumors about him, including that he is Muslim. Obama is Christian.
The son of a Kenyan father, Obama lived in the largely Muslim nation of Indonesia as a child. He dealt with similar questions in February after a photo surfaced of him wearing traditional Kenyan clothing during a visit to Africa in 2006.
The cover of the magazine, which hit newsstands Monday, depicts Obama in traditional Muslim clothing — sandals, robe and turban — while his wife, Michelle, has an assault rifle slung over one shoulder and is dressed in camouflage and combat boots with her hair in an Afro. A flag burns in a fireplace behind them as they bump fists, and a portrait of Osama bin Laden hangs above the mantel.
New Yorker Editor David Remnick told the Huffington Post Web site the cover was chosen because it had something to say.
‘Tasteless and offensive’
When first asked about it on Sunday, Obama declined comment. His spokesman, Bill Burton, said it was "tasteless and offensive."
Obama said he's developed "a pretty thick skin" running for president and has "seen and heard worse."
"I do think that, you know, in attempting to satirize something, they probably fueled some misconceptions about me instead," he said. "But, you know, that was their editorial judgment. And as I said, ultimately, it's a cartoon, it's not where the American people are spending a lot of their time thinking about."