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. Jesse

    America will become a Muslim country. No more attacks from Osama.

    Good if Obama elected. America will be part of Middle East countries.

    Be prepared to become isolated from other Christian countries.

    February 28, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  2. Jane Ward

    If anyone be offended by Senator Obama's middle name, then he obviously has no business being President of the United States! And, by the way, how did he get to be a Senator? Did his name change?

    February 28, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    And another thing........are we to believe the RNC isn't happy with this when they sat on their hands while McCain was getting skewered in South Carolina in 2000 with the same style of tactics?!?!?!

    February 28, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  4. Cindy

    I pray there will come a day, when a name is just a name, a skin color is just a skin color and a gender is just a gender. It's the person we are voting for, not the ethnicity, color or sexual orientation.

    If and or when Obama is elected, he will represent the entire United States, not the black United States, or the Hussein's of the United States.

    If that scares some people... well.. I feel kinda sad for them.

    February 28, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  5. TJ

    Nowhere in this article does it say Obama is not proud of his middle name so I don't know how y'all are drawing that conclusion. It's the DNC and RNC people who are causing a stir...and rightfully so! It's at the point where the right wing has repeatedly used it as a tactic to elicit connections to the infamous Hussein family from Iraq and the Muslim faith. Oh no! Islam will take over America if Obama is elected!!!!!!

    It's despicable. Grow the F up.

    February 28, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  6. Marcus, Independence MO

    This is exactly why Americans are moving away from the RELIGOUS RIGHT. This is if anything discreet racism. The republicans are trying to fear mongering their way back into the white house. A sad shame that most of you don't realize the rest of the world is watching. And if they see these type of tactics being used how do you think they will respond to U.S. leadership. How do you think the Muslim world will respond to all of this? If you think your oil is high now wait until the Repbulicans are done blasting a man with a Muslim last name. Most of you guys will be walking to work.

    February 28, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  7. Jon

    Hillary Rodham Clinton! Oh my! What's in a name...

    February 28, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  8. L

    U know what.....although they used his name in a attempt to freak people out, IT IS HIS NAME, and obamas just going to have to get used to that, because its not going to go away. If he is proud of his name he should just roll with it, its part of him and its going to be used against him forever..thats the bottom line

    February 28, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  9. Vickie

    What is going on here? Is Obama not proud of who he is? His father was from Kenya and his mother from US. He is not an African American. I wish he would stop saying that. I am an African-American woman voting for Hillary Clinton. GO HILLARY!

    February 28, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  10. Brian

    There ISN'T anything wrong with his middle name. HIS PRIDE OR HERITAGE IS NOT WHAT'S BEING QUESTIONED.

    What is being called into question is the CONTEXT in which it's being used... a fearmongering attempt by the right to attempt to slander him, or suggest that he belongs to another faith, or misrepresent his convictions or beliefs.

    I cringe to think that our public school system hasn't taught you people how to think critically or behave like civilized adults.

    Obama '08!!!

    February 28, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  11. Anne E.

    The only people "concerned" about Mr. Obama's middle name are, in fact, the wingnuts and Faux Noise (same thing).
    They seem to think they can extend the administration's playing the fear card with tactics such as this, as well as substituting "Osama" instead of "Obama," and now capitalizing on the photo mentioned in the article. How many past presidents, first ladies, and other elected officials have traveled to other countries and dressed in a particular country's traditional garb? What's the difference in this case?
    Personally, I don't care WHERE Barack Obama is from, whether he does or doesn't use his middle name, I don't care about his religious affiliation, and I certainly don't care whether he chooses to dress or not dress in a particular style on any visit he makes to anyplace, be it Somali, Kenya, Seattle, or Kansas City!
    What I care about is how he plans to "drive the bus out of the ditch."
    So far, I like what I've heard and will proudly cast my vote for him.

    February 28, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  12. Mischka, Boca Raton, FL

    How ridiculous that we have come to a point that we cannot refer to someone by their given name! Political correctness at its worse!

    As far as we can't debate Obama on the issues, I think it is Obama that does not want to debate the issues.
    Again people! IT IS HIS NAME! MOVE ON!

    February 28, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  13. Sheldon Stansfield

    There is nothing wrong with his middle name, or the tribal garb he was presented with while visiting the birth place of his father. What is wrong is the use made of it by the human garbage who are trying to frighten people into believing he is some kind of middle eastern extremist. I think they should continue, it is this sort of thing that has middle america looking for something different.

    February 28, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  14. t

    The simple fact is that if it people were just using to pronounce his whole name that would be fine, except there are a few caveats. first, I don't see any other candidate being referred to by their middle name. Second, it is only used when he is being criticized so to add a bit of fear into ignorant people (which unfortunately there are a lot of), its not what he goes by so why should it be important in public discourse? as mentioned a few times earlier, it is a popular middle eastern and african name. third, he has had to dispel, ignorant, unfounded, and ridiculous accusations every time he has ran for office base solely on his name. If we want to make our country better we have to get past this stupid stuff, unfortunately there are people out there who do and make this a big deal because it incites fear and a cognitive reference to our war of terror even though any accusation about the is FALSE. That is why I support Barack because I think he is the person who has the best opportunity to unite people on so many different levels that, for common causes and common good.

    February 28, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  15. JA Cook

    Indie in Iowa: " it just makes me wonder what Obama has to hide."

    What a perfect example of how petty we can get.

    February 28, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  16. interesting

    Now that he is a perceived threat to winning the white house – the attacks and focus on his origin truly begin in the media. Hmmmmm!

    February 28, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  17. Tony

    According to the new logic imposed on common names by the conservatives, if your last name ends in those suffixes you are now Jewish, even if you are not jewish. Whoopi Goldberg take notice.

    This change is due to the fact that Obama's middle name means he's muslim. If you know any white conservatives whose last name ends in Stein, Berg or Man, please enlighten them of the new change.

    Thanks and goodnight.

    February 28, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. w, canada

    Whether it is used to create fear or not - thats not the issue... what is the problem of using one's middle name when that is in fact his middle name.. if he is afraid of being linked to muslims by his middle name, then it just shows what kind of person he is

    February 28, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  19. hellonewmans

    I think it's pretty disgusting and is very much akin to the school bullying that I encounter every day as a teacher...I mean, seriously, who makes fun of a person's name as an adult?!? Not to mention that is racially profiling a person.

    Lay off already – you're doing more harm to your party than good.

    February 28, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  20. Mike, Land O Lakes, FL

    The republicans know that there is a lot more excitement on the Dem side than Rep and are afraid of having Obama as the nominee. These attacks are part of their tactic to help Hillary win in hope that the hate they have for Clintons will energize and unit the Republican Party.

    February 28, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  21. Trisha Mahajan

    I have noticed politicians dgoing to countries around the world and paying respect to their traditions by wearing the traditional garbs. I do not understand why Obama wearing Kenyan traditional attire is such a big issue.


    February 28, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  22. Mike

    When is the media going to take their kid gloves off Obama. A name is a name if we're all proud Americans. If you're trying to hide something, or if you're not proud of something, you're not a proud American. If Obama is afraid of America finding out what his middle name is, what else is he afraid of us finding out?

    February 28, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  23. CuriousInTexas

    I am disgusted with the anti-Islamic bigotry displayed on this forum and in the press. So what if he has a muslim name? Is that such a bad thing? There are millions of Americans with muslim names. It is shameful that no one at the national level is questioning the underlying premise of these allegations. This is as bad as anti-semtism.

    February 28, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  24. Nancy

    For all those people who say what's the big deal about using his middle name – What is John McCain's middle name? And why is it not being used? Obviously those who are stressing Barack Obama's middle name are doing so in order to create a false impression about his origins and his intentions to activate the nation's bias and stupidity.

    February 28, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  25. Chris N

    Barack is not ashamed of his middle name, nor is he ashamed of his paternal links nor is he against anybody using his full name nor is any of his supporters against that too. What he and we are against is someone insinuating things and generating baseless fear in people by using his middle name in the context that it is evil, that he is Saddam Hussaine, that he is moslem, that he is anti-semitic or that he is Farrakhan. These are falsehoods, inuendoes by shameless individuals with no substance in them and who have no arguments whatsoever to make in issues concerning this nation now. This is the basis for the complaint. No one has used HRC's middle name in any suggestive manner as they have that of Barack.

    February 28, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
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