February 28th, 2008
02:55 PM ET
14 years ago

RNC denounces use of 'Hussein' in Obama's name

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/02/28/art.barackobama.ap.jpg caption=" The RNC has denounced the use of Obama's middle name in a Tennessee GOP press release."](CNN) - Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan formally denounced Thursday the Tennessee Republican Party's use of Barack Obama's full name in a recent press release questioning the Illinois senator's commitment to Israel.

“The RNC rejects these kinds of campaign tactics," RNC Chairman Mike Duncan said in a statement. "We believe this election needs to be about the critical issues confronting our nation.”

The statement in question, which was released Monday, said the state party is joining a "growing chorus of Americans concerned about the future of the nation of Israel…if Sen. Barack Hussein Obama is elected president of the United States.” It also included a photograph of Obama from a 2006 trip to Kenya in which he is dressed in traditional attire worn by area Muslims.

The press release was sparked by recent praise for the Illinois senator from Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan, who has made several derogatory remarks about Judaism and has indicated his support for Obama. At Tuesday night's MSNBC debate, Obama said he denounced those comments and did not seek Farrakhan's support.

On Wednesday night the party removed both the photo and the reference of Hussein from the statement after Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander called to express his belief that using them had become a distraction, Tennessee GOP Communications Director Bill Hobbs told CNN.

Full story

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • RNC
soundoff (313 Responses)
  1. Jayson

    If people use his middle name as much as they have been lately at some point people will become desensitized to the fact that it just happens to be the last name of scum sucking toad Saddam Hussein....

    February 28, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  2. sure

    No, just your 527's will use it.

    February 28, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. Petite Maoiste

    I am still wondering why none of the news reports about this question the perception that being a Muslim is a bad thing!

    February 28, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  4. Sam, Menlo Park

    Where there's smoke – there's fire.

    Look at what we ignored about Bush. All those rumors about him being an incompetent oaf.

    Don't you wish you had paid more attention back then?

    Shouldn't you be paying MORE attention right now?

    February 28, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  5. Kingssman

    Perhaps the republicans caught on that once the nation realizes that the only way to attack Obama is through petty name calling and making absurd links and trying to use baseless fear against him, they may develop voter sympathy and a backlash against the GOP.

    If they can't fight Obama on the issues, they will loose. They say those who have no platform to run on themselves go negative

    February 28, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Stop walking on eggshells with respect to Obama. Why should anything about him be held to a different standard? I don't believe it impies anything. If the electorate is naiive and doesn't respect that this is in fact his middle name, that is their problem. I don't feel that anyone should be criticized for using Senator Obama's full name. Get over it.

    February 28, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. Roger

    I don't see the problem with the use of his middle name. It isn't like a rival made up a nickname and tagged him with it, it is his given name. If he is ashamed of his name he should change it. If he is not ashamed of it and feels there is nothing wrong with it then it being used should not bother anyone.

    February 28, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. Kyle

    He should start going by Barry again and put an apostrophe between the 'O' and 'Bama' so people just think he's Irish. Barry O'Bama? Oh, he sounds like a great guy!

    February 28, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  9. Reality check

    Why? Through out history we have used candidates middle name. Hillary's full name is used. John Fitzgerald Kennedy's full name is used,George W. Bush's name is used, Lyndon Baines Johnson's full name is used. Is Obama ashambed of his name?

    February 28, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  10. Independent

    So the RNC denounces it, but do they reject it?

    February 28, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  11. MIwatch

    If you are proud of yourself why prevent others use your middle name? That is your name, your full name. Don't you feel proud of that? or you will only really feel proud of your middle name when you have gotten more anti-semitic votes to propel you to be Dem. nominee?

    February 28, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  12. rachel

    Its his name right?

    February 28, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. Tiggee

    It IS his name! What is he going to do change it? facts are facts!

    February 28, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. Indie in Iowa

    JFK was proud to be Catholic and Irish. He didn't hide what he was he embraced it. just makes me wonder what Obama has to hide.

    February 28, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  15. peter

    Funny, nobody ever uses John McCain's middle name.

    That talk show host (Cunningham) from Cincinnati–who introduced John McCain with crude remarks about Obama, plus emphasis on his middle name (with no middle name given for McCain in the same intro)– is a typical radio talk show hack / opportunist whose #1 mission is to attract attention to himself with outrageous statements to generate press and ratings.

    My middle name is Joseph. Does that mean that I am like Stalin?

    Pure ignorant fear mongering to the unsophisticated.

    February 28, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  16. DD, New York

    Every individual should be PROUD of their names...first, middle and last names. To not be, well...it is not only a character flaw but also reflects some deeply rooted family conflict.

    Signed, Diane Mary Demczyk

    February 28, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  17. clairex

    I don't understand all the buzz about a middle name. Did Obama say he is ashamed of his middle name? If he is not then why should people applologise for calling him by his middle name. Is Obama above criticism or is there something else to this that you should tell us. When he became a Christain, i think the right thing for him to have done was to change that name, QED. CNN pls give us substance and let rest all these issues of no importance.

    February 28, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  18. Praetorian, Ft. Myers, FL


    February 28, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  19. Patch


    The RNC finally listened to Karl Rove again.

    Must be a full moon or something.

    Now, on with the election.

    February 28, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  20. Luke in Texas

    Why should it matter if Obama is/was a Muslim? Religion has absolutely no place in politics. The current President refers to his Christianity constantly and he is one of the 3 worst Presidents in our history. The people who are trying to discredit Obama because of his middle name, or picture in Kenyan duds, or the fact that he may have been a Muslim are fear mongers who are banking on the average American's prejudice and ignorance to help the republicans win another election.

    February 28, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  21. Manuel TX

    And so it begins.

    The concept of unification is attractive in theory, but history has proven time and again that it simply is not realistic.

    The hatred shown by Obama supporters toward a candidate in their own party clearly shows that while their candidate may promote unity in their own hearts the concept is absent.

    Good luck to you guys, but this voter is opting out.

    February 28, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  22. chelle

    It is a name people...just a name. Names don't make or break a person. Do the citizens of the United States not have more important things to worry about?

    February 28, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  23. Tom Wittmann

    Mr. Mooney

    May I tell you that your articcle is a bit confusing and surly will generate a lot of very nasty posts here by people which had not have the patience to analyze it.


    February 28, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  24. Demspy

    As Americans, are we that caught up in a person's name as opposed to who they are & what they stand for? I am confident that we're not that shallow.

    February 28, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  25. sam

    "i have never been a muslim" obama – pardon my ignorance – but how did he get the middle name – hussein

    February 28, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
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