WASHINGTON This week's New Yorker magazine pokes fun at smears directed at Barack Obama, but the Democratic presidential candidate isn't laughing.
The cover portrays the Illinois senator in a turban and robe bumping fists with wife Michelle, who sports an Afro, a rifle and military garb. In the background, an American flag burns in the fireplace.
The left-leaning magazine's cover summarizes several smears that have surfaced this year: that Obama is a "secret Muslim" who hates America and his wife harbors a Black Panthers-style enmity toward white society.
Even that fist bump, the modern version of the high five, was described as a "terrorist fist jab" by a Fox News anchor, who later apologized.
The Obama campaign, which has taken aggressive measures to knock down these perceptions, is not amused with the magazine cover.
"The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Senator Obama's right-wing critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree," spokesman Bill Burton said in a prepared statement.
Republican candidate John McCain agreed with his rival for the November election.
"I just saw a picture of it on television," McCain told reporters in Phoenix. "I think it's totally inappropriate and frankly, I understand if Senator Obama and his supporters would find it offensive."
(To read more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at blogs.reuters.com/trail08/)
(Reporting by Andy Sullivan and Steve Holland, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)