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Archive for Saturday, November 1, 2008

Comic predicts Obama victory

November 1, 2008

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— It's not exactly "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN," but some newspaper editors are pondering how to deal with a "Doonesbury" comic strip to be published the day after the election that assumes Barack Obama will win the presidency.

Comic creator Garry Trudeau delivered a series of strips for next week's papers showing his characters reacting to an Obama victory. But he offered no such option in the event of a comeback by John McCain, who's trailing Obama in the polls.

Trudeau's syndicator is offering papers a series of rerun strips from August.

The Obama story line is forcing some editors to question whether "Doonesbury" could put them in a spot similar to 1948, when the Chicago Daily Tribune infamously declared in huge, front-page type that Republican Thomas Dewey had beaten Democrat Harry Truman for the presidency.

"Doonesbury" runs daily on the Journal-World's comics page. Whether Obama wins or loses, Trudeau's submitted strips will appear in the Journal-World, said managing editor Dennis Anderson.

"'Doonesbury' is a comic and a lot of Journal-World readers are fans of Trudeau's work. We will make the comics available to his fans," Anderson said on Friday.

Tim Bannon, editor of the Chicago Tribune's Live! section, where the paper's comics usually run, said the strip won't appear in the comics section because of deadline issues but might end up on another page.

"If McCain wins, we would never run it," he said. "If Obama were to win, we would try to see if we can get it in somehow in some other place."

Kathie Kerr, a spokeswoman for the Kansas City-based Universal Press Syndicate, said about a dozen calls have come in from newspaper editors.

"After we got the initial inquiries, we asked Garry to pick substitutes for the editors who were not comfortable with running the strips," Kerr said Friday.

Trudeau, who lives in New York, said he might have provided papers with a McCain option if the election were a toss-up. But, he said, at the time he drew the strip, poll analysts were giving McCain less than a 4 percent chance of winning.

"From a risk-assessment viewpoint, I felt comfortable with the odds," Trudeau said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "The way I see it, if Obama wins, I'm in the flow and commenting on an extraordinary phenomenon.

"If he loses, there'll be such a national uproar that a blown call in a comic strip won't be much noticed. Besides, I'll be the one with the egg on my face - not the editors."

"Doonesbury" appears in nearly 1,400 daily and Sunday newspapers in the U.S. and overseas.

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