NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Post is apologizing for a cartoon that critics say links President Barack Obama to a raging chimpanzee shot dead by police in Connecticut. But the newspaper also says the image was exploited by its longtime antagonists.

After two days of protests, the paper posted an editorial on its Web site Thursday saying the cartoon was meant to mock the federal economic stimulus bill, but "to those who were offended by the image, we apologize."

The editorial also says some people who have long-standing differences with the paper saw the cartoon "as an opportunity for payback."

The editorial calls them "opportunists" and says: "To them, no apology is due."

The drawing was published Wednesday. It shows a dead chimp, with the caption reading: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."