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. husam ibrahim

    I hope you'll accept my participation as my name ends with "ibrahim", If you " Americans" are going to think this way, then, thousands of americans like the scientist Farouq Al-baz in Cape Kennedy, professors in univercities must be kicked out as they belong to a religion or color or an ethnic group. You know, then i advise you to put your democracy in the nearest garbage. I think if you " Americans" think this way, it's the end of what you always fight for " Demcoracy".
    Welcome back to darkness
    A man believing in freedom and the American Democracy if it's there.
    Say finish to wars and vote for Senator Obama """ Husein" whatever it's.

    February 28, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  2. Martha Ginory

    What's wrong with him using his complete name? After all it is HIS NAME. Is he embarrashed about it? Is there a double standard here somewhere?

    February 28, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  3. Raas

    The problem with using his middle name is that you same bozos that elected Bush are easily mislead by such garbage.

    February 28, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. DJ

    all these people on here who are trying to spin this to "he's not proud of his name" are just morons. Notice the RNC denounced the use of his middle name, not Barack himself. People read and hear just what they want to and then run with it. And the whole "where there's smoke there's fire" question – you're a racist. Thanks for publicly admitting it in an internet forum.

    February 28, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. notangry

    Howver, many on the right are purposely using his middle name (unlike any of the other candidates) due to the easy scare tactic that it is. Look at what many right-wing folks call him. Barack Hussein Obama. They do it with purpose - to scare folks who relate it to Saddam Hussein or any concept of "terrorist." It's blatant and shameless.

    But, as I said above, I think it's the RNC that's trying to tone that down - Obama's camp hasn't said anything as far as I know. At least according to this particular article.


    February 28, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  6. Tafoya A. Hubbard

    Let the record show that Obama has never said anything about the use of his middle name so all you people who want to imply he has something to hide get a life and move on. Next.....

    Yes We Can!!!

    February 28, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  7. JJ Lewisville TX

    We are a very sick Nation that has some dumb idiots living in it, so how low can we go? What's in a name anyway?????

    February 28, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. David, Dallas Tx

    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....

    Six year olds do that–make fun of people's names and then act like it was a clever basis for judging.

    If you want to use the same tactics as a six-year old to judge who should be president, nobody can stop you. It's a free country.

    But don't call me naive for focusing on the candidate's platforms and character instead of their middle names. The RNC was right, for once.

    February 28, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. jdc

    How about calling him Osama Obama? I kinda like that better!

    February 28, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. Patrick

    What bothers me about this, is that Hussein is his name...it's not like the RNC or others are making it up. I don't understand why people can't say his name?
    I think it's racism to not say it...and Barack should be proud to say his name is Hussein...it brings the ideas of people together.

    February 28, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  11. Sherri

    Such silliness. Such bigotry.

    People are speaking his middle name, Hussein, as if it were somehow "bad" or "derogatory" in an of itself. That is so very disturbing.

    General Omar Bradley, was one of the main U.S. Army field commanders in North Africa and Europe during World War II and a General of the Army in the United States Army. He had a Muslim name. Omar was the name of the 2nd Sunni Islamic Caliph.

    Senator Obama is a Christian. His name is a beautiful American name.

    There is another issue that I don't see much discussion about. It is not criminal or evil to be a Muslim. There are many law abiding, contributing Muslims that are citizens of this country. They are part of the American Dream. They condemn the actions of fantatics, they love their families, and try to make life better for the next generation. They have given their lives fighting as US soldiers in Iraq. They died as innocent workers in the World Trade Center on 911.

    Flames of hatred burn fast and harsh. We must stop flaming them.

    February 28, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  12. Rick

    Well we know who leaked the PIC, Hillary and we know who said the name, McCain and guess what that is, Its Fear Mongers from the Washington Status Quo. As the American people, we dont have to put up with that, this election we should run all the Staus Quo and Fear Mongers out of office and change for the good.

    February 28, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. val

    Some of you are trying to be coy and say, well, thats his name, isn't it??? Or isn't he proud of his name?/ You know good and well that the speaker was trying to get people to make some kind of mental connection to Saddam Hussein, and instill "fear" in people. It is that he couldn't just think of something positive to say about John McCain, who I believe is a fine man.

    February 28, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. Ann

    This will be actually the problem Americans will face every day if Obama becomes the president. Bye-bye freedom of speech.

    Now, if you say "I don't like Obama'" you are asked "why, are you racist?" Can you imagine if he becomes president that nobody will dare to say anything against him? Do you think you'll feel comfortable to openly criticize the president like you do now with Bush? And don't tell me Obama will do everything perfect so there will be no reasons for critiques.

    What was so dramatic about using his middle name or photo? Nobody has a problem to show any photo they want with Hillary or to use Rodham. Why is everybody afraid to touch this man?

    February 28, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  15. Heather

    It is his middle name, his parents gave that too him. He should be proud of that. I have heard many politicians use thier FULL name. He will have to use it when or if he is SWORN into office. That is how things are done. Is it what you want to hear, the President of the United States, with the name Hussein?

    February 28, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  16. Marika

    In support of Obama alot of us are adopting in middle name into ours. eg. Jane "Hussein" Doe!
    It's a type of protest against ignorance which leads to racism.
    Bringing our attention what American Muslims endure all too often. Most muslims are peaceful and just want to be part of the American dream. We are proud of our "new" middle name "Hussein".

    February 28, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  17. Mike, Land O Lakes, FL

    This is the kind of thing that turns off Independents like my self. I think if Reps continue with this hateful fear mongering, they'll loose the election on every level as they did in 2006!!

    February 28, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  18. Rob

    Maybe people should just address Mabus as Mr O since its become more and more policy to handle Obama with kid gloves afterall we dont wanna hurt anyone's feelings. Give me a break people this is a run for the most pwerfull job on Earth, he will literally have the future of the world at his fingertips....With one decision, he could throw the world into chaos....We should crawl right up his cavity and inspect it with microscopic closeness....As a people we not only have the right but we have the responsibility....I dont care what Cnn or anyone else says...America has the responsibility to know who they put into that office and give the codes to the nukes they possess!!!!!! Have a nice Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    February 28, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  19. monica, rochester ny

    How many of you have ancestors who were immigrants to this country? A lot. I think you'll recall the practice immigrants had of shortening their foreign names so they would not stand out. They weren't ashamed of their names, they just knew weak minded humans have always tried to divide people based on irrelevant and meaningless differences, even being willing to condmen someone for their very name.
    I bet a good number of you pretending like you don't understand what's going on, have some fake name that wasn't what you're grandparents were really born with.

    Obama is proud of his name, but weak minded and evil people are trying to use it as a weapon of fear. You look foolish for pretending you don't understand this. How transparent.

    February 28, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  20. Robbie

    Of course it is his name, and without the slanderous intent, there is nothing wrong with using it. Unfortunately, we live in a country where politics mimics grade school name calling. No one is so stupid they could not understand the purpose behind the comments of Tennessee's Republican Party - or to have understood the attitudes of those party leaders. Makes me glad I don't live in Tennessee and makes me doubly glad I changed my registration from Republican to Democrat for this election!

    February 28, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. Mariann Pepitone

    Hillary Clinton uses her middle name all the time. Obama's middle name Hussein is the first name of this father and he should not be ashamed to use it. The RNC should keep their comments to themselves and not get involved in candidates names. His middle name is what it is. Maybe because it is the last name of Saddam. However if the Clinton campaign wants to use that name there is nothing the RNC can do about it. I don't know why his mother didn't name her son since he was born in this country, Why give him a Kenyan name . His father was not even a citizen of this country,. What was she thinking.

    February 28, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. Ann Kuminns

    These are the people who demonstrate that racism is still alive and well in the US today. They wonder why so many other countries distrust us and you just have to go back to these tactics. What's in a name after all? Why is it that one usually disrespects and makes fun of names of Islamic origin? Who can anyone blame for how the Islamic countries feel about the US? We are the ones asking for it. As long as we allow such bigotry to not only exist, but to thrive, we are just burying our heads in the sand. Christians, jews and muslims, if you really study history, you know that many of these names are exactly the same, just expressed in a different way or language. Ignorance is the scourge and these "uneducated" bigots should not be allowed to destroy the basic tenets of humanity.

    February 28, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. Adam

    I've known Muslims before and they are good, hard working, honest people. Just because a person is a Muslim does not mean they are a radical terrorist. Yes, some are, but the VAST (and we're talking 99.999999% here) majority aren't. The comment made by the Tennessee RNC was meant to prey on fears that the name would bring up. Hussein is as common to the Muslim world as Smith is to us. There are at least several hundred million people in the Muslim world with that name who are honest and upstanding citizens of wherever they live.

    I don't care if his middle name is used as long as it is used with respect. As it was used by the RNC in TN, there was no point for it and as such it is suspect. Sen. Obama is a died in the wool American, raised here. He doesn't have ties to zealots simply because his name is one of the most common names in that part of the world. That's like saying everyone named Smith must be a blacksmith because traditionally that's what the name meant.

    February 28, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. A CANUCK

    Hillary Rodham Clinton....is NOT her full name. Rodham is her single
    surname. Just what is her MIDDLE name ????
    OOOHHH........MUST BE A CONSPIRACY !!!!!!!

    February 28, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. Tina - NY

    OK Republicans, here we go again!! Don't act like you didn't intend to spread fear and hatred by playing up Obama's middle name. Wake up America!! Do the words "Willie Horton" mean anything to you people?? Do we have to continue being fooled by the Republican hate machine every four years? Tell you what – I'll break bread with 100 muslim citizens of this country any day instead of 1 conservative christian zealot!

    Don't let this stunt influence you. Remember those immortal words – "Fool me once, shame on you – Fool me twice (or 4 or 5 times), shame on ME !!"

    February 28, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
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