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. Mike

    You're kidding, right? All this hoopla about someone's middle name? Come on!!! What in hades is wrong with us, people? What a joke!!! The fact of the matter is, his middle name is Hussein. And whether he likes it or not, that's Obama's own problem.

    February 28, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  2. Bernard Rathmell, Columbus, Ohio

    I'm sure Barrack is not ashamed of his middle name or dressing in traditional African costume as part of a goodwill visit. The Republican Party of any state should not consider unsolicited support from any corner to be an indictment of shared values, not when you consider where some of the Republicans have received voiced support- Osama Ben Laden hailed the re-election of George Bush, does that mean President Bush should be sent to Guantanamo?

    February 28, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  3. peter

    Let's review. Do you remember the "Curious George" spam mail that - in oh, such a funny way! - compared facial expressions of W with those of monkeys? Did we hear a peep of outrage?

    I guess it's OK to compare a sitting president to a monkey, but it's shameful to use Obama's middle name.

    If he is SOOOO ashamed of his middle name, he can go to a Social Security Office and drop it. Until then, it's his legal middle name.

    February 28, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  4. sundra

    Is he ashamed of his name? Where's the outrage when people refer to Sen. Clinton as Hillary Rodham Clinton, huh? He's obvious got something to hide. I personally think he is a secret Muslim.

    February 28, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  5. Priscilla

    And Peter, as far as your middle name being Joseph, did you attend schooling at some point in your life that led you towards the extremist idealism that Stalin supported? That is just stupid....

    February 28, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  6. Maria, NYC

    The underline tone of the message is racism... that's the point.

    The RNC have been known to be racist against non-whites and this will not only tear the US apart but start a civil war they are not quite ready for.

    You have hispanics, blacks, poor whites, native americans and yes... even jews that will denounce AND reject the RNC. Racism on any level will not be tolorated. They are using the middle name like they are shouting the N-Word and that is their intent.

    February 28, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. Rechi

    I don't understand what is the problem, we all know his middle name. In fact, Barack is an arabic word and his middle name 'Hussein' is an arabic word and his last name is a Muslim family name in Kenya. Obama should not be ashamed of his first, middle or last name, that's who he is and he is ashamed of his name and his background, then he does not deserve to be the president of the United States.

    I respect him for who he is and if I were to vote for him, I will not change my mind because of his names and backgroud. But he says that he is ahsmed of his name and background, I will not vote for him. Be who you are and don't try to hide anything or media and the voters will turn against you.

    February 28, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. Danielle

    The Republican Party has a great strategy even better than the Swift Boat lying that brought down a veteran who saved others in the line of fire – get CNN to air trash like this article that accomplish the same thing and RNC and its allies don't need to spend a dime or having to hear cries for equal time.

    Same thing with that conservative talk show host who wound up getting all that air time with his putrid views about Obama. America, don't fall for the same stuff that was put out to you in the last two presidential elections. Look at the substance of the person and the issues. You'll make the right choice on truth, not smokescreen directed by the rich and their cronnies.

    February 28, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  9. RC Lendz

    They should. Middle names mean nothing. It's Barack's lack of originality (stealing ideas and speeches - please, come up with your own) and experience that scare me.

    February 28, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  10. Vicki

    Is Senator Obama ashamed of his middle name? Does he have something to hide? If not, then what is the big deal? I have a
    hard time with the idea that the President of the United State of America could be President Obama. Take a more in depth look at
    Senator Clinton and you'll like what you see – no secrets there!

    February 28, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. len

    The name isn't important. The problem Obama is having is he is late to realizing when something is important. With Rezko, he gives the money to charity but only after the press notices. With Farrakhan and his minister, he denounces and rejects but only after the press notices. With Al Qaeda in Iraq, surely he noticed? With the chair of the sub-committee, he should have held hearings but said nothing until the press noticed. He knows there is a puppet government in Russia but doesn't know any details until the press notices and Clinton explains it to him.

    What this buttresses is the charges that he is long on rhetoric and short on real experience because all of these are the kinds of details a leader absolutely must be aware of at all times. It's no good to be in California when a hurricane roars into New Orleans as Bush was.

    Why will moderate Democrats vote for McCain? At the age of a lot of us, we've been watching "movements' all of our lives. Most failed to deliver so we are very cynical about that and not just a little creeped out by Obamamania. We know by experience this kind of thing doesn't deliver. We don't want 'a dream'. We want a plan. We know Obama may someday be a good leader but these gaffes in judgement are too frequent and too noticeable.

    At voting time, we vote for real change, and we do what Obama says we should do: we cross the party lines to get leadership and a practical approach to government based on our perception of the person best qualified to lead. If the Democratic Party has decided it is more important to make a statement than it is to lead effectively, then the Democratic Party has abandoned us to its feel-good politics which we know don't work when the choices are hard and unpopular but ultimately the right choices.

    I'm a Democrat and I support Hillary Clinton, but if I have to choose between party loyalty and loyalty to the country, I choose the country. Had the Republican Party done that, the last eight years would not have happened. I didn't make that mistake last time and I won't this time. It isn't that Obama is the same thing as Bush; it is that a choice for Obama is a choice for the same kind of thing: feel good over experience.

    It comes down to doing the right thing and if we lose doing that, we lose doing it right. If we win, we won for the right reasons.

    February 28, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  12. April

    If anyone thinks Obama is going to be a friend to Israel, they are crazy.
    I find it hard to believe that Republican conservative white men and independent/quasi Republicans are voting for Obama over Hillary in primaries in Texas and Ohio because they want Obama to win the presidency. This is just a tactic to keep Democrats and most of all a women out of the White House. Does anyone actually think Obama will win Wisconsin, Texas, or Ohio in November???? What Republican would be in favor of electing someone whose grandfather had four wives and whose father had two? That is far fetched. This is dirty politics, and the sad thing for us all is that we are possibly losing out on a brilliant, hardworking, experienced candidate like Hillary.

    February 28, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  13. Dude !!!

    What's in a name ?

    I just cracked open a cold one, a "Coors" to be more precice. Yes this cold one was produced by the "Adolph"- Coors Brewing Company.

    I really don't believe that any nazis or terrible dictators had anything to do with this fine brew.

    I'll drink one for you too !

    February 28, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  14. Frankie Kaufman

    Did he "denounce" it or "reject" it?

    February 28, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  15. Mitul

    By using the middle name for Obama, the republican and Hillary want to gain more votes...They just playing the dirty game...I simply don't understand why would we think about neighbour's problem rather than worrying about our own problem within the country like economy, health, education and many more. They have been finding Bin Laden for many years and what they have found...nothing...Its all false hope and promises. The republican are simply misusing army power to ruin our contry just for the sake of filling their own pocket. Everyone needs to wake up and act for it...Everyone need to decide whether we want to make our home better and more secure than worrying about Afghanistan and Irak. Obama is the best candidate for the nation...

    February 28, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  16. Praetorian, Ft. Myers, FL

    Perhaps if his agenda weren't so socialist nobody would mind his middle name was Hussein.

    But he represents a real threat to coming anywhere close to a balanced budget, returning our nation to the welfare days of the 60's..but worse, and has shown contempt for flag ceremonies and wearing of the American flag.

    He is getting accolades from the most radical Islamic leader in our country!

    His entire agenda could have been photocopied from the Democratic Socialist Party mission statement!

    2+2+=4 no matter what party you're in .

    I'm not saying any of this adds up necessarily. But it should provide for some rational thought and deliberation.

    February 28, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  17. John G

    Osama Bin Ladens son is an advocate for peace but he uses the name Bin Laden.

    Have you ever heard of a name making a man for itself? No. But you will hear about a man making a name for himself.

    Is Obama saying that the American people are stupid enough to believe that just because his middle name is Hussein he is somehow linked to terrorists? I think Barry O'Bama owes the Muslim community an apology for shunning his heritage (yes I know he isn't Muslim but his father was so it is still his heritage) and he owes the American people an apology for insinuating that we cannot differentiate between a power hungry evil dictator and a borderline socialist senator from Illinois.

    February 28, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. Lynn

    I don't think that Obama is uneasy about his name or ashamed of it. It's the REPUBLICANS who basically want to scare everyone into thinking that since it is his middle name that he is a Muslim Terrorist. You know, President Bush is so for this war against terrorists that he has ignored the terrorists of his own political party. If this is the best that they can do, the REPUBLICANS are in serious trouble and should be considered racists. Disgraceful and you claim to be for all Americans – I doubt that. Only the rich white ones!

    February 28, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. FELISA

    I am from Tn and let me tell you that these hate-mongers will do and say anything, so do not believe a word that comes out of their camp.

    I still remember the trashy actress they used again Harold Ford in a blatant attempt to put fear in the minds of the good ole boys!

    February 28, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  20. Cali guy

    What really bothers me here isn't that Obummer's full name was used, it's that Obummer supporters as well as \the media and others don't question why his name was kept so quite for so long. A campaign of transparancy doesn't have deception. It's obvious that a majority of Americans don't know his middle name and I agree it was said to make people think., but let's really be real, if Obummer and his campaigh as well as the Democractic party hadn't been trying to keep it out of the public eye this wouldn't be an issue. It's his real name for Pete sake and should be said all the time.

    February 28, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. dan

    How did we get here? the talk show host has taken a national stage and it does seem appropraite. Give me abreak this shows how we allow big empty mouth to have a big mick,we need a leader who can heal this nation from backward styled mentality.America is a nation full of opticism ,diversity&yes the American dream. Vote for change.

    February 28, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. William

    There should be no secrets about a man running for the President of the free world. We as voters have the right to know all about a possible leader. AS for myself I'm surprised this is not a bigger topic.
    What other things is Obama keeping from us.

    February 28, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  23. Dem for fair campaign coverage

    "...Blasted" - how ignorant!

    A candidates name or religion should not matter. Any person that has a problem with the use of Obama's full name has a serious problem that stinks of discrimination . Shame on the 'blasters'!

    The true colors have been revealed from those that would think using of one's full name, which is not unusual for a dignitary, was somehow a negative thing - you are 'All in the Family" of which I want no part.

    February 28, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  24. cc, Chicago

    When Barack Obama ran for U.S. Senate in 2004 in Illinois, noneother than Karl Rove advised the republican candidate, Alan Keyes, not to reference Barack's middle name because it would be an obvious play on trying to paint Barack Obama as an unpatriotic muslim, with no substantiation behind it, and would come across as petty and divisive. Alan Keyes heeded that advice and never went down that path. Now I ask, if even Karl Rove gets that it crosses the line and refuses to attack an entire group of Americans who use that name (which is an ancient and well respected name), I can't understand why other people don't get it. Could a lack of rational thought be the problem here? Interesting that the first group that started attacking Barack because of what his name happens to be is the Clinton campaign. Members of his own party willing to go where the opposing party leaders said they wouldn't go. In fairness to Sen. Clinton, she rejected her campaign's use of the middle name as well.

    And for perspective, how many people know Sen. McCain's, Sen. Clinton's, Sen. Edwards, and Mike Huckabee's middle names? I'll go on record saying frankly, I don't know any of the above names. And I frankly don't need to know Barack Obama's middle name to distinguish him from other candidates.

    February 28, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  25. Jose - Arizona

    Yikes, with a middle name like that I don't think I can vote for him.

    Jose Hitler Alvarez

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