Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Obama/New Hampshire: On being Barack Hussein Obama. In his own words.


As the nation gets to know Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) better--as he prepares for a 2008 presidential run--there has been chatter about his little used middle name, Hussein. It's a paternal family name.

At a press conference in Manchester, Obama comments on the attention his middle name has been given lately. He did not address whether focus on the middle name had to do with racial or religious bigotry.

Said Obama. “It would be one thing if my name was John Hussein Smith, then this might be a real problem. When you are already starting with Barack Obama, you know, let me put it this way. If my name is going to be an issue, than I don’t think my middle name is relevant.

"For those voters who are going to judge me on the basis of my name, the fact that I’ve got one more strike against me in the name catergory, I think is not going to be a concern.
"….The American people are not concerned about middle names. What the American people are concerned about is (if) we can deliver a vision that moves us forward.’’
Bottom line: " This is not something I am giving a lot of thought to.’’


I recommend that Senator Obama, if he hasn't already, watch the 1972 film The Candidate, starring Robert Redford.

It is an excellent portrayal of a "maverick", played by Redford, who runs for the Senate.

How about his next comments that the same people who would not vote for him because he is black are the same people who would not vote for him anyway based on his political views, IE republicans/conservatives????

For the record, he is starting with "Barry Obama"...not "Barrack Obama". The next insightful thing he says will be the first. I can't understand why you dedicate daily blogs to him.

What if his middle name was Hitler or... or Hillary Rodham so come on a middle name means somthing.

how typical. arguing about a middle name when men and women are being blown to bits in the streets of baghdad. he has risen above this petty argument in recognition that there are larger, more important issues americans face now... i would vote for a person named satan hitler rasputen if said person was intellegent and gained my respect. i hope for once in a long time all of america votes in this manner. by arguing this point you elevate the man above petiness.

Names matter.

We can argue endlessly
about how they shouldn't.

But the reality is, they

To be dismissive of the
fact that his name is
unusual belies that

And it denies our bias.

If he is to stand a shot
at being elected, he is
going to have to find a
way to get a majority of voters to
wrap their minds and
mouths around
"President Obama".

If not he's not likely
to get nominated or elected.

And like it or not, it's
highly likely that republicans will have a field day with the fact that his middle name is

Just as they'll have
with the fact that
Hilary Clinton's husband is

Not that that should matter

If I'm wrong we'll be looking at President Clinton (Hilary) or President Obama in 2008.

If not, we might not be
so dismissive of the
significance or our own
bias or the ability of
republicans to turn such
supposedly insignificant
things into liabilities.

Just ask Max (mulitple amputee) Cleland or
John (Swiftboat) Kerry.

If his middle name was Lipshitz, now that would be an issue! LOL! What a stupid topic for a Blog this is. The man is a populist who attracts many people in our celebrity and personality driven culture, he's very much like Reagan and Clinton in that respect. That he enjoys so much warmth, if not support from GOPers is what's really the most interesting aspect of him. He's one of the best political speakers in recent memory and that can be nothng but helpful to him.

He can also laugh at himself and keep an even keel. Those are pretty good leadership traits in any profession.

What did the old bard say: "Would a rose by any other name still smell as sweet?"

Reading this tripe amuses me. Really, if this is a matter of substance for the average American voter I will be surprised and full of pity for your country.

Simply Obamanable.

I am just amazed that a man who has been in the senate for maybe a year and has nothing to show for it, is even considered a viable candiate for president of the United States.

But I live in Massachussetts. We just elected a govenor, not on any agenda, but because he made people "feel good".

God help us all!

Sticks and stones may hurt Obama but names will never hurt him!

How completely ridiculous and a waste of time bringing it up. The middle name is about as important as his shoe size.
It's what he has done OR in his case maybe what he hasn't done, that is important.

Apparently 'Milhous' never stopped Nixon.

I'm not so concerned about his name - not that it's appealing - as much as I am about his being a Muslim. Wasn't this country founded on Christian principles - or something like that?


Any man that omits information about himself, such as his own name, when running for something as lucrative as the president of the United States show lack of integrity. He salts the wound when stating it shouldn't matter. If it doesn't, then state your name, your real name.

Any man that has 2 years experience in politics and even bothers to run for president of the United States should not even be looked at. Obama has fallen into the "token president" status in my opinion.

And as if that was not enough, he wants us to pay reparations.

Sorry Hussein, my wife wouldn't look good in a burka and we don't like supporting welfare, let alone slavery.

This year we are voting for Pedro. He has more experience in politics plus he bakes one hell of a cake.

Wow CLF and LEO you sound like two ignorant buffons. Obama is a staunch Christian - LEO check your facts. CLF - your wife wouldn't look good in anything since she's a size 18. You support corporate welfare everyday, actually China does now that our Federal debt has reached astronomical proportions and we now owe them the shirts off our backs for keeping this joke of a "war" from ever reaching its conclusion. Integrity and experience two traits Bush supposedly had...what a joke. Our country is screwed. And the slavery comment was so off topic WTF? Vote for Pedro dude...good idea.

True enough about his middle name being least things to worry about . I'm more concerned with his membership to a racist church .
It would seem that most educated people would understand that the color of our skin has everything to do about where our family's came from . from the amount of sun lite to the minerals in the ground to feed the food we eat .
The fact that he is a member of the black equivalent of the KKK white supremacist church should get more attention it also shows this man has either a complete racist in sheep clothing or he makes very bad decisions and is a sell out to get votes which is it doesn't matter because either way just as with any white man or women who would be a member of a racist supremacist church he should be laughed at and second of which will occur soon enough Hitlery just isn't going to play that card to soon ;).

It is amazing to me how many people can be so ridiculously ignorant. There are people commenting on this blog about "integrity" and are citing incorrect information, rumor, biases, and just plain stupid statements.

It comes down to this...

Do you think Obama can do the best job for this nation? Get us out of a abominable war, help drive the economy, and give us our national integrity and honor back throughout the world? What we have lost under the Bush regime. And can you believe this AFTER paying attention to the real facts of Obama's platform and his character? If the answer is yes...then vote for him...if it is no, then I dare you to find one other candidate that has lit the fire of hope, courage, and optimism like Obama has. I dare you.

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets


Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 10, 2006 5:57 PM.

Update Obama/New Hampshire: The Obama stump speech. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet Column: Obama draws big crowds in New Hampshire. Maureen Dowd comment. is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.