Bloomberg Businessweek gives Mitt Romney Bruce Springsteen’s rear

Dylan Stableford
The Cutline

A month after nearly publishing a cover featuring a bloody Mitt Romney, Bloomberg Businessweek finally pulled the trigger--albeit without the blood.

The cover of the Feb. 27 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek features an image of Romney, his back turned to the camera. An outstretched arm holds the iconic cover of Bruce Springsteen's 1984 album "Born in the U.S.A." in front of the former Massachussetts governor's backside, supporting the coverline: "SCORNED IN THE USA."

The cover, conceived by editor Josh Tyrangiel and creative director Richard Turley, illustrates the idea--offered by columnist Clive Crook--that neither Romney nor President Obama can strike a populist tone, and how both could take a lesson from Rick Santorum, who channels The Boss in his rage against the ruling class.

"We both knew we wanted to avoid an image of Romney or the old Ampad factory, neither of which promises much depth or surprise," Tyrangiel wrote in an email to Yahoo News. (Ampad is a paper manufacturing company acquired by Bain Capital under Romney's watch. During that time it declared bankruptcy.)

And according to Tyrangiel, the timing is "dead solid perfect."

"The Michigan primary is Tuesday, and Romney's had a real challenge explaining how his past in private equity translates into skills that can help middle and working class people," Tyrangiel continued. "Paul Barrett's story on Ampad is the best explanation I've seen of Romney's business expertise, but it also points out a political weakness: Knowing how to manage a business and generate profits isn't the same thing as knowing how to generate jobs. So the piece really gets at the paradox of the Romney campaign. Meanwhile, Rick Santorum is surging with the people Romney's struggling with. And oh yeah, Springsteen has a new album out."

Andrea Saul, press secretary for the Romney campaign, did not return a request for comment.

Bloomberg Businessweek did not ask for clearance from Springsteen or Columbia Records to use the album cover. A representative for Springsteen could not be reached.

In January, Tyrangiel and Turley produced a cover featuring a photo illustration of bloodied, battered Mitt Romney for a story in its Jan. 13 issue, but chose not to run it. A non-bloody Steve Ballmer, the Microsoft chief executive who was also profiled in the same issue, graced the issue instead.

"In the end, we went with Ballmer since the Romney story seemed to have already hit its peak," Tyrangiel said at the time. "A lot of times these decisions are about all of us putting our finger in the air and trying to figure out which way the zeitgeist is blowing."

Earlier this month, the zeitgeist apparently called for a cover depicting a pair of planes in a rather suggestive position above the clouds, illustrating the recent merger of United and Continental. The coverline for that issue? "Let's Get It On."

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