Obama people have called the cartoon "tasteless and offensive." I don't think it is. I think calls for reverent self-censorship are tasteless and offensive. I think Obama's repeated votes to fund the Bush wars in the Middle East , his vote to renew the PATRIOT Act and his vote to shield the telecoms and Bush administration from the consequences of violating our constitutional rights are tasteless and offensive.
The readership of the magazine is widely known as being pretty darn liberal, and it's safe to say that most of the staff and readership were planning to vote for Obama, at least up until this point. (That is, if they could stomach the series of right-wing positions Obama has embraced since clinching the Democratic nomination.)
Obama supporters are bizarrely claiming that "addressing" the cartoon might sidetrack Obama from dealing with real issues. Here's some video of him taking on the hard issues:
If the campaign truly wants to address some serious issues, then they will allow Ralph Nader and Bob Barr to debate Obama and McCain. Don't hold your breath; the last thing the two major campaigns want is to lose control of a narrow definition of acceptable debate issues.
Ironically Senator Obama appears to have the same aversion to irreverent cartoons and/or free speech displayed by actual radical Muslims. Could there be any worse misstep by the campaign than taking the condescending position that Americans can't understand satire, which therefore makes use of it inappropriate? Frequently Obama is accused of being an out-of-touch elite, and frequently the campaign responds to this by acting like out-of-touch elites. "Brilliant!"