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. ashley

    umm....is that not his name? why the walking on egg shells for obama but when a mccain supporter calls hillary the b word they say nothing. Sexism is alive and well in this country...it has been clearly exposed this election.

    February 28, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  2. Mark

    A country in which we judge people by their names has no future. America is not what it used to be, the symbol of liberty where one can be whatever he/she wants… Now we have 15 million Muslims living in America who have to change their names to hide their identity, because the message is clear here: “if you happen to have Muslim name you are automatically disqualified for certain jobs”.
    This is all very similar to how Jews were treated in pre-war Germany. They had to hide their Jewish names and identity in order to prosper and later to save their lives.

    February 28, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. Dave

    Uhhh....its his name......Whats wrong with the use of his name? Is he ashamed of his middle name? Political correctness is gone awry in this country...

    February 28, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  4. Anna, IL

    I'm afraid we're going to see more of this. Release false rumors, then denounce. This is how the RNC will go about attacking Obama. Shame on them. If McCain is a party to any of this, he will lose whatever respect I may have for him.

    February 28, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |

    the middle name was given by his family and there is no reason to be ashamed of it. I wonder what Obama is hidding regarding radical Muslims. I just wonder.

    February 28, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  6. Mike D

    I don't ever recall Obama speaking on the issue itself.

    Obviously, he realizes that it IS his name...I just don't think he really cares enough to make an issue out of it.

    It seems that everyone else wants to though...

    Who really cares?

    Did any of you have a choice of your middle name? Didn't think so...

    February 28, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. choymao

    It's his real middle name so why can't it be used? Low blow, though!

    February 28, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  8. Bruce Wayne

    Hussein is the name of the King of Jordan, one of our key allies in the Middle East. Republicants should often be reminded of that.

    February 28, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  9. Di

    Indie in Iowa, I totally agree!!!

    There is more to Obama than meets the eye!!!

    February 28, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  10. Josh

    Of course he's not trying to hide it. The point is that the Republican's are using it to propel their not so subtle campaign to paint him as a Muslim.

    February 28, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  11. James Nelson

    Re the "where there's smoke there's fire" remark–

    You amply demonstrate the truth behind the remark with your post, which was positively blazing... Which Republican are you an operative for?

    February 28, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  12. Lionel

    Perhaps Obama should use his full name, and everyone will stop talking; unless he thinks he is attracting negative energies.

    February 28, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  13. A. Harrison

    A name? We are denouncing the use of a full name? GOod Grief what next?
    If Barack had embraced his name in the first place at the beginning of the campaign season it would not be an issue now. CHange we can beleive in NOT if we can't even BELIEVE in our FULL Selves.

    He really has a lot of pillows to keep Comfy.....

    February 28, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  14. Rex

    Kyle February 28th, 2008 12:15 pm ET

    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!

    Sadly Kyle, your absolutely correct. And if we could just see him in white-face now and then, then the color of his skin wouldn't be an issue either. A white "Barry O'Bama" would be winning by a landslide right now.

    February 28, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  15. Jordan, New York

    If I started campaigning with my middle name of Joseph, would the cowardly and xenophobic among us believe that I'll implement a regime like Stalin's? Or are we no longer afraid of communists, just Muslims?

    Sometimes I think it's fair to be disappointed with America.

    February 28, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  16. Angelica11

    Why should he be ashamed of his own full name?

    This is how I am going to vote in Nov 2008.
    I am a registered democrat.
    1. I will vote for Hillary
    2. if Hillary does not get nomination, then John McCain (since I love my country more than my party)
    3. I will never vote (now or in future) for Obama (even if he gets nomination and Hillary says 'support' him)

    Being successful Executive, I have always appreciated and followed hard word, Sincerity path.
    I fought against Nepotism and hypocrisy. I cannot vote for a person, who poses as a nice guy, but behind scene doing all dishonest stuff.
    He and his team introduced RACE in Iowa race and then blamed Clintons.
    He acted as 5 years old, looking for help to mother in debate when asked about Russia’s successor and then Press declares that he is presidential (Press Guys, please stop your favoritism, it does not help our country)

    CNN Moderator, can you please post this? Thanks

    February 28, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  17. Tom

    This is obsurd. Does it really matter if Obama was a Muslim or a Mormon or anything else? The fact is that he is a Christian who happened to have a father from Kenya a mother from Kansas who decided to give him the middle name "Hussein". The people that listen to this fear mongering are just plain ignorant. Check your facts and make your impressions of the man before listening to this garbage.

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

    I am really SICK of CNN and their obvious bias toward Obama. Only 3 comments allowed on the last story! Oh yea! cut it short! Whatever! You can't do this you can't do that! What is the deal?
    He wants to lead this country! Then grow up! Take it like man! You all can ditch it on Hillary but Obama, no way. You say anything against him and you are a racist! Sounds like Bush!!!! You said anything against him and you were considered UNPATRIOTIC! Same old thing..... so much for CHANGE!
    If he is such a "uniter" and he is a "shoe-in" why are his supports so mean spirited especially if they want Hillary supporters (like me) to support him! Again, so much for CHANGE! He is a politician just like the rest of them!

    I am an HISPANIC, college educated woman with a master's, married, Christian and a supporter of Hillary!

    February 28, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  19. Linda

    People- it is his real name! Why is he getting out of shape when he is called his real name? There are a lot of worst names to call him.

    February 28, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  20. NickNas

    Obama is NOT complaining about the use of his given name. That is Silly. The issue here is how people USE his name to try and inflame the still very racist element of this country into fearful shunning of this Democratic leader. The Sad thing is people fall for it. Only because they are DIEING for an excuse NOT to vote for him.

    I was VERY doubtful when he said he was going to run because I personnal felt that this country hadn't grown up enough to elect him. FACT: Very early in his run he had to be given Secret service protection, Much earlier that others. While they wouldn't explain why it is not hard to figure out why.

    Then Obama REALLY took off ( I eat crow at home every night ) So NOW that Obama is Viable and a little too clean for traditional attacks you see attacks (lies) about his religion , heritage , affiliations etc.)

    Even here on these blogs you see in just the last 4 week MORE and MORE Racist remarks posted and it grows everyday. If you REALLY want to be disgusted listen to some of the conservative talk shows and you will think they were talking about the anti-Christ. I listened to a local am radio show here in San Diego last night and the Jock gave 15 full minutes to a caller who said she "Knew a friend who Knew someone who worked with obama in Ill". and "this person" said....then she went into the most CRAZY rant on how Obama will fill the Whitehouse full of members of the nation of islam.These people didn't spew this much hate at OSAMA BIN LADEN Himself!

    I hope to be wrong more than anything in the world but I am as ashamed of us right now as I am of Bush. The world is watching people.

    The ONLY good thing here is the young people seem to be letting go of the Racist vile past of this country and that is why Obama is doing so well But we older people ( I am 45) need to drop the sillyness and fear and move on.

    So Many Racist remarks get posted here by the Mods, I wonder if a positive one like this will.

    February 28, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  21. Kingssman

    What the big picture here is what will voters react to.

    Oh I won't vote for Obama because his name is hussien which is muslim for "good". I have no clue what Obama stands for, no clue of any thing else, and so far the only attacks that the republicans have against obama is his middle name.

    I don't know, I may not Vote for McCain. Seems to me that I have no clue on what his issues are, Am I supposed to vote for McCain because he doesn't have Hussein as a middle name? Seems to me that McCain's campaign only has 2 attacks against Obama, his name, and his childhood. If that's all they have then Obama must be a really good guy, an honest politician, who must be 100% right on all the issues because the republicans won't attack him on any thing else positions or issues. Guess I'll vote Obama then, since Obama does expose McCain's issues.

    It's all about damage control and proper diversion. Election 2004 wasn't about Iraq or terrorism, it was about what John Kerry did with his vietnam medals and if Bush showed up for duty at the national guard! that was all 2004 election was about.

    February 28, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  22. HSNP

    Oh please! It's his name. If he doesn't like it being used, tough cookies!!

    He's even got the RNC sucking up. If he wins the Presidency I hope he won't expect all of the 6.5 billion people on the planet to kiss his butt 24/7.

    February 28, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  23. JP, Chicago

    Obama is the most Transparent candidate in this election. Anybody postulating "he has something to hide" due to his middle name is ignorant; it's a fear and scare tactic pointed at an unknowing, uneducated public.

    Take it upon youself to inform someone when you hear propaganda like this; we have a responsibility to uphold the truth.

    February 28, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  24. SPJ, Ann Arbor, MI

    I work with kids, and I'm fond of telling them that anything can be used as an insult if you use it with the correct tone. In this instance, the Party explicitly said that the photo was to show him as a Muslim, and deleted it when they found out they were wrong. Yes, it's his middle name and I hope when he is sworn in he uses it. It's nothing to be ashamed of, but it's clearly being used as an insult here.

    If someone said of me, "You know, I heard she's *pause* Jewish" I would take it as an insult, and I am Jewish and I'm proud of it. Context and tone are everything.

    February 28, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  25. Andrew

    "The left always finds something to pick at other than to describe the issues; we're not surprised at all." This coming from a guy who used a speech to highlight somebodies middle name. So what exactly are the issues Mr Cunningham? Maybe next time we should find out the name of his cat.
    "They told me to fire up the crowd." Well Bill I guess it takes one to know one. We need to mobilize the racist base of the republican party.

    February 28, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
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