This rejected cover image for Bloomberg Businessweek showing a bloodied and beaten Mitt Romney is making the rounds, reports BuzzFeed, and, boy, does it tell the story of Romney's week in cringe-inducing detail.

The cover was prepared two weeks ago, but when it leaked on Monday, it was easy to interpret as representing Romney's political drubbing in the past week, what with his loss to Gingrich in South Carolina, and now with a Gallup Daily Tracking poll released Monday that shows him pretty much tied with Gingrich among likely Republican voters. It's effective at conveying that message, but also uncomfortably evokes a physical assault on a politician. After the image got passed around (originally tweeted by BBW designer Richard Turley in response to this week's similarly violent New York Magazine cover), Businessweek's editor Josh Tyrangiel told BuzzFeed they chose not to go with it, not because it was abrasive, but because they wanted to highlight a different story from the issue. 

Update: Bloomberg has sent along Tyrangiel's full statement here:

Each week we design a few cover possibilities for the upcoming issue. We see where the news is going and make a final decision about the image on Wednesday afternoon. Two weeks ago (January 16 issue, on stands January 13) we had two great pieces in the magazine: Ashlee Vance's profile of Steve Ballmer and his efforts to reboot Microsoft, and Peter Coy's Opening Remarks about how the GOP had turned on Mitt Romney and Private Equity. In the end, we went with Ballmer since the Romney story seemed to have already hit its peak. 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. It's what makes the job so fun and so challenging

Correction: an earlier version of this story misstated when Businessweek prepared the above cover. It was two weeks ago, not over the past weekend.