The New Republic it out with an exhaustive report on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie‘s (R) career, painting an unflattering portrait of a man who got to the top of Jersey politics by navigating his career like a mobster, punishing his enemies, rewarding his allies, and with a cunningness to appear cleanhanded.

Credit: Photo Illustration by Jacqueline Mellow/The New Republic

Credit: Photo Illustration by Jacqueline Mellow/The New Republic

But almost overshadowing the article is a photo illustration that accompanies it.

The illustration shows Christie retrieving a newspaper outside an impressive home wearing boxers, an open bathrobe and a gold chain around his neck.

There is something overtly Italian-American stereotypical about it, markedly a reference to fictional crime boss Tony Soprano.

“Christie is half Sicilian,” remarked one person on Twitter who saw the image. “If someone portrayed a black politician as a gangsta I know exactly how The New Republic would react.”

Christie is, indeed, half Sicilian, coming from his mother’s side. TNR’s article acknowledges that.

A spokeswoman for the magazine told TheBlaze Blog over email: “The image is meant to evoke New Jersey by alluding to one of its most iconic pop-culture figures, and to convey the pathos of the moment that Chris Christie now finds himself in.” She added that it is a reference to HBO’s “The Sopranos.”

Christie’s office declined to comment.

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