Of course the Obama campaign will say the decision was made strictly for space reasons — it already has — but given the publicity surrounding the New Yorker cover and around Lizza's story on Obama's early poltical career, his people had to know what signal it would send to exclude the magazine so soon after the cover flap: That the candidate of change is not above trying to manipulate the press like any other politician.
Which, as the New Yorker's luck would have it, not only reinforces the central message of its cover story (that Obama is a politician much like any other) but also smoothes its potentially awkward transition from self-described "extremely favorable" coverage of candidate Obama to the inevitably more critical coverage of nominee and president Obama. Sometimes it's worthwhile to buy your own damn plane ticket!
For Obama, there is at least some risk of blowback from the decision. As Daily Show host Jon Stewart pointed out on his show last week, getting upset about magazine illustrations is not the best way to swat down rumors one is an intolerant extremist: