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Mitt Romney and Barack Obama lookalikes duke it out on cover of The Atlantic

For the cover art of its September issue, The Atlantic chose a photo ostensibly showing presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama engaged in a hard-fought boxing match.

Luke Hayman, art director for the photo shoot that produced said cover art, wrote an article Wednesday for The Atlantic detailing the thought process behind linking pugilism to politics.

“Every four years James Fallows previews the presidential debates,” Hayman noted. “He’s a big deal, it’s a big deal. … How do we do a version that’s relevant to this year? What’s unique? It’s going to be dirty. (Isn’t it always?) So let’s show them fighting. You know, really fighting. … So that’s our idea: a fight with lookalikes of Mitt and Barack going at it in a boxing ring.” columnist Dylan Stableford adroitly noted Wednesday, “For art directors looking to depict a political slugfest, though, the fighting metaphor is a familiar concept.”

Indeed, Stableford highlighted two recent examples of visual fighting metaphors: the Businessweek cover showing a battered Mitt Romney that was created for publication on Jan. 13 only to be permanently shelved, and the Jan. 23 cover of New York Magazine with images of a bruised trio of Romney, Obama and Newt Gingrich looming above the headline, “Bloodiest. Campaign. Ever.”

“The upcoming debates,” Yahoo’s Stableford continued, “will undoubtedly see the candidates exchange verbal blows, but the problem with the concept of the ‘bloodiest’ campaign in general is that most Americans don’t think it’s quite so gruesome.”

J.G. Askar is a graduate of BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School and member of the Utah State Bar. Contact him at or 801-236-6051.