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GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (AP) — A weekly newspaper publisher on New York’s Long Island is defending its decision to portray President Barack Obama and his wife as characters from the TV sitcom “Sanford and Son.”

Some local political leaders and others contend it’s a racist depiction.

A photo spread in the weekly Smithtown Messenger features “before and after” photos of six presidents and their wives, starting with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter and ending with the Obamas.

The “after” photo of the Obamas is a shot from the 1970s show, with Redd Foxx as Fred Sanford and LaWanda Page as Sanford’s sister-in-law, Aunt Esther.

Publisher and part-owner Phillip Sciarello calls the photo political satire and says it isn’t racist. But he says the newspaper will run a retraction for anyone who was offended.


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