State GOP uses Obama’s middle name until chastised

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 1:46am

While Sen. John McCain this week repudiated using Sen. Barack Obama’s middle name of Hussein, the Tennessee Republican Party embraced it Wednesday but later backtracked after a scolding from a party elder.

The chain of events began Monday when the Tennessee GOP sent out a press release entitled “Anti-Semites for Obama” in which the Illinois Democrat was referred to as “Barack Hussein Obama.” The press release also had a controversial picture of Obama donning traditional Somali attire.

Tuesday, after a conservative talk show host made disparaging comments about Obama, McCain, the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, said it was “inappropriate” to refer to Obama that way and he “repudiates those comments.”

“Any comment that is disparaging of either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama is totally inappropriate,” McCain said, according to the Associated Press.

Wednesday, when asked about the leading GOP candidate’s remarks, Robin Smith, the chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party, defended the usage of Hussein.

Smith said that presidents or presidential hopefuls are often referred to with their middle names included.

“I think I have heard Richard Milhous Nixon, Dwight David Eisenhower,” Smith said. “I think I’ve heard Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, LBJ, on and on and on.”

When asked if Obama’s middle name though — the same as former Iraqi president and tyrant Saddam Hussein — gave off a different connotation, Smith suggested that Obama’s parents needed to be contacted.

“You can call his momma and daddy on that one,” Smith said.

Apparently, though, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) thought the press release and use of the middle name could be considered “inappropriate.”

Wednesday afternoon, Alexander spoke with Smith. Later, the picture of Obama and the use of his middle name were subsequently removed from the Tennessee GOP’s Web site.

“Senator Alexander has talked with Robin Smith, and she is removing the release and the photo from the website,” said Alexander spokesman Lee Pitts. “She and the senator agreed it could be easily misinterpreted, taken out of context and considered inappropriate.”

By press time Wednesday though, the release was still on the Web site. The picture and “Hussein” reference was removed.

McCain’s statements and apology on the matter came, according to media reports, after a conservative Cincinnati talk show host referenced Obama using his full name at a rally for the Arizona senator.

That talk show host, Bill Cunningham, was outraged after McCain distanced himself from his comments. The talker later said he would follow conservative author Ann Coulter’s lead and vote for Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) instead of the presumptive GOP nominee.

The in-question Tennessee GOP press release criticized Obama by calling into question his support of Israel.

The top talking point in the Republicans’ press release was the endorsement of Obama by Louis Farrakhan, the longtime leader of the Nation of Islam. In the past, Farrakhan has made anti-Semitic remarks.

The GOP’s Smith would not say whether she believed Obama was anti-Semitic, saying that question should be addressed to his campaign.

Instead, Smith said the TN GOP was the “voice of truth” and would distinguish which candidates are friendly to Israel and which take endorsements from the “equivalent of the modern day KKK.”

“The question needs to be, not why we’re using (Obama’s) middle name but why is one of the most hateful leaders of the free world endorsing someone that is pursuing representing our nation?” Smith said. “If barring the truth of his entire name is a problem, then maybe he needs to pick up the name Smith.”

The Tennessee GOP is not the only one bringing up Farrakhan’s endorsement.

In Tuesday’s Democratic debate, Clinton questioned whether Obama had objected strongly enough to those Farrakhan remarks.

Obama, in response, called Farrakhan’s statements “reprehensible,” adding that he had been “very clear in my denunciation.”

The Tennessee Democratic Party said the Republicans’ press release “amplifies misinformation, discredited tall tales, and Internet innuendo to appeal to the worst in people.”

“This kind of fear mongering has no place in the public discourse,” said Gray Sasser, the chairman of the state Democratic Party.

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By: BADCOPS on 12/31/69 at 7:00

The GOP needs to step up to the plate and say it the way it is. Whether it be Rodham, Fitzgerald, David or Hussein those are there names.It was mentioned on one of the talk shows that is Hillary won then she was going to use her middle name and drop Clinton. It would be President Hillary Rodham. Imagine Barack Hussein, President Hussein if Obama chose to eliminate his last name.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 7:00

What a bunch of flip-floppers. How much you wanna bet badcops buys that he was named after Saddam? LOL

By: chuck.taylor on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I'm not real fond of my middle name either but I've had it all my life and my family still calls me by it as well. My point being, if your name is offensive to you then have it legally changed, if not then don't be offended when someone calls you by it. It is what it is!

By: WickedTribe on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I suspect the Republican's spurious negative attacks against Obama will have the same effect Hillary's did. His lead in the polls will probably be overwhelming by November.

By: theplantsman on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Much ado about nothing. The name ‘Hussein’ is as common in the Middle East as ‘Patel’ is in India. Nonetheless, I realize the need to assimilate in the ‘Great Melting Pot’, but should we all change our name to “George Washington”?

By: WickedTribe on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Yeah gdiafante, I love how the idiot in this article, Robin Smith, said to blame his "momma and daddy" (could she make herself sound anymore childish?). Yet Saddam wasn't even in power when Barack was born.

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 7:00

ditto!

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Small ado about less than nothing, Plants, and it shows how frightened the Tennessee Republicans are, how sparse are their "ideas

By: HokeyPokey on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I sure hope Bill Hobbs had the good sense to take his foot out of his mouth before he aimed at it and fired.

By: Fundit on 12/31/69 at 7:00

What are McCain's accomplishments? Besides being a POW. While very heroic, it hardly prepares one to be POTUS. His votes in the Senate are not that different of late from Clinton. He did dump his first wife, that seems to be a trend among the GOP men. What else?

By: altizar on 12/31/69 at 7:00

It's a good point that Hussien is a commonly used name in the Middle East. However he was not born over in the middle east. He was born in america, and for his parents to choose such a name means that they had respect for and interest in the culture that also raised and caters to the group of people who wish for the completely elimination of the american lifestyle enough to fly airplanes into skyscrapers and strap bombs onto themselves. Who knows if his parents raised him with the same respect for that culture that they obviously had? Let's be honest, it's his name, and if he is unwilling to embrace his name, that implies to me that there might be something to hide there. . .

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 7:00

How do you feel about Muhammad Ali? After all, he shares the name of a 9/11 attacker.How about Kareem Abdul Jabbar or Paula Abdul? I'm sure there's someone named Abdul in Al-Qaeda.We should just round up all people with Middle Eastern names and send them to Gitmo. How's that sound?

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 7:00

J.S. McCain has accomplishments, Fundit: good on campaign reform, good on normalizing relations w/ Vietnam, good (but weak) on immigration, good on ending torture. Unfortunately, he has many votes that are terrible, too.Considering the best presidents, over the last 220 years, there is no strong connection between political experience, D.C. experience, executive experience, & White House greatness. I wish that there were, but it's not so. It makes one question how much we may over-value EXPERIENCE in hiring in other fields.In any field that doesn't require very specific training, I may consider valuing demonstrably hard work (which eliminates Gill's friend Freddy D. Thompson) over anything. Although, even there, F.D.R. wasn't known as an especially hard-worker before 1933. He knew how to surround himself w/ good people, and he knew his own mind & when to listen to others.Alti, your comments are idiotic. Barack Obama was named for his African-American father, just as John McCain was named for his Anglo-American father.Obama said, in his 2004 keynote speech, that it shows America's greatness that "a skinny kid with a funny-sounding name" could become a success & be accepted here.Some Republicans are preying on the worse qualities of us w/ this name-game, Alti, and you are succumbing.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Altizar, are you asserting that all Middle Eastern people are terrorists?

By: altizar on 12/31/69 at 7:00

And while it's granted that our culture has produced idiots who like to fill trucks with explosives and blow buildings up, It is also our culture to arrest these people and throw them in jail, not to sit idly by and silently cheer them on. . .

By: altizar on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I don't believe that any of those people have a storm of people freaking out because others where calling them by thier names. how's that sound?

By: girliegirl on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Hey Fundit, I dumped my 2nd husband, but then, of course, I'm a DEM.... LOL You can't judge people because they were blinded at the moment and married the wrong person. Look at Boner, for gosh sakes. Or should I call him Helen Keller?

By: revo-lou on 12/31/69 at 7:00

What is Paula Abduls middle name?

By: altizar on 12/31/69 at 7:00

And honest to god gdiafante, are you actually implying that you want Paula Abdul as President? She can't even make a good judge for singing, much less for the direction of america. . .

By: tv8527 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Fundit McCain's greatest accomplishments make him a traitor to his party.That's why I'll be voting for a third party candidate or Nader.

By: girliegirl on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I wasn't aware that Paula was a politician... or for that matter, someone who is important~

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Some people are pretty thick. Re-read the posts and you'll see that this is a discussion about name perception.And people are getting freaked out based on ignorance, and the GOP is responsible.

By: altizar on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Well gdiafante just identified himself as a typical liberal. I'm right and everybody else is just stupid. . .

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

altizar, don't you think you make some broad generalizations? that the WHOLE Middle East wants to fly planes into our buildings? And if anyone points out your weak reasoning that makes them a "typical liberal"?

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 7:00

People who think Obama was named after Saddam are stupid. People that automatically assume anyone with a Middle Eastern name has ties to terrorism is stupid.If you're included in there that's your problem altizar.

By: cocheese on 12/31/69 at 7:00

What's the big deal? That is his middle name and that is him in the photograph.

By: girliegirl on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Gdia, I haven't interpreted your name to mean you "like horses" have I? You must be out of your mind to think people are so shallow as to impose their own predjudices due to a name alone. Or maybe was it that photo in that country that has shown they "hate" women...? Hmmmm..... We girls...we notice these things. We don't care what you wear, but if you're "lauding" a religion/country that abuses its women, ooooh, that one's gonna hurt ya.

By: revo-lou on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I think the stupidity speaks very well from those that are….To assume, because of a name, what someone may or may not be, is the ultimate form of ignorance and “…isim” there is.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Don't include me in that "we girls" statement. I don't judge a whole crowd of people because of the actions of a few.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Girl, you think Obama's a Muslim and the anti-Christ. 'nuff said.

By: altizar on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Blanke, I'll re-post it since you failed to read the statement that answered your argument before you made it. "And while it's granted that our culture has produced idiots who like to fill trucks with explosives and blow buildings up, It is also our culture to arrest these people and throw them in jail, not to sit idly by and silently cheer them on. . . "
"15024

By: altizar on 12/31/69 at 7:00

And Blanke, I want you to tell me why it took 10-20 years and a covert opertaion to blow up a terrorist in Syria? And then 3 "Countries" not just organizations or people but governments elected by the people. Syria, Lebanon, Iran, the guys in Gaza get upset about it.Is everybody in the Middle East a terrorist? No. Are these people putting people in office who support terrorists? Oh Hell yes. If you believe that Governments reflect the will of the people, then a majority of middle easterns support terrorists!!

By: revo-lou on 12/31/69 at 7:00

You know “altizar” sounds like an Arabian Nights name to me. Maybe this guy is a middle easterner! A terrorist!

By: altizar on 12/31/69 at 7:00

If that's not enough, we can add even more countries Yemen, Afghanastan and Iraq. Until we had to go into the latter two. That's 7 countries. How many countries comprise the Middle East? Want another how about Lybia? Let's list the ones that don't support Terrorists, Turkey, Egypt, Sadi Arabia. 3 against 8 for. Are you really sure that you want to attempt to continue arguing that it's only a few individuals in the Middle East that are gun-ho about terrorist?

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 7:00

So what's your final solution? As if we have to guess.And yes, that's was intentional.

By: HokeyPokey on 12/31/69 at 7:00

altizar, how lovely is the weather on your planet today?

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Alti, the quality of your remarks makes you a good candidate for my IGNORE list. There are very few governments that don't support terror, and you cannot number America's among them.I'd love to read something thoughtful & substantial from you, say, on what you have against Barack Obama besides his middle name, and on whom you intend to support this November & why.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

The governments don't necessarily represent the people, altizar. And they didn't necessarily "put them in office." If so, we wouldn't be "bringing democracy" to them, would we?

By: revo-lou on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Hey, we are either “wit’em, or agint’em”, so I think he may start labeling some of you in an unflattering light!!

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 7:00

s/h/b that was

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

uh oh, i guess i'm not patriotic, huh?

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I inherited my name from an Italian great aunt. Good thing no one still connects that with Mussolini.

By: revo-lou on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Or the mob!!

By: altizar on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Gdi, I don't have a solution, all I have are opinions. One opinion of mine is that there is nothing wrong with attemping to get in the guiness book of records for creating the largest glass Wal-Mart parking lot in the world, if the situation demands it.Blanket, Valid point. But as the USSR and East Germany have proven, not even dicatorships can stand if there isn't underlying support for them from the populous, with out removal of large numbers of the populous. And I haven't heard of that many mass killings in Syria, Iran or Yemen in a long time.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

btw, here's a poll of Muslims worldwide:http://www.pensitoreview.com/2008/02/27/poll-majority-muslims-worldwide-condemn-9-11/93% of Muslims worldwide condemn the 9/11 attacks.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Here's another good link for you, altizar:http://www.cagle.com/working/071129/booth.jpg

By: altizar on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Blanke, I read that, 93% of the Muslims condemn the 9/11 Attacks because innocents were killed in it. If it had been a military installation, that number would drop considerably. You need to read the exact wording of the question that was asked. Your reference was lacking and seemingly biased by that lack.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

"the culture that also raised and caters to the group of people who wish for the completely elimination of the american lifestyle enough to fly airplanes into skyscrapers and strap bombs onto themselves." doesn't sound like you were referring to a military installation.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 7:00

And you're not biased?? Just assuming that every muslim is a closet terrorist sympathizer is pretty biased and unsubstantiated as well.

By: cocheese on 12/31/69 at 7:00

50,000 muslims polled. tell me again how many muslims there are in the World? what countries were these polls taken in? I'm not saying that all Muslims support terrorists, i'm just saying that poll means nothing and is ridiculous.