Barack Hussein Obama.
The blogosphere and talk radio, even C-Span, has chatter about the middle name of the Illinois Democrat.
Obama never hid the name. Never highlighted it, either.
People are just starting to pay closer attention as Obama mulls a 2008 White House run.
He is the son of the late Kenyan economist Barack Hussein Obama Sr. Hussein is a family name. His grandmother is Sara Hussein Obama.
At one point he was Barack H. Obama. That’s how he is listed in the Harvard Law Review when he was the president of the publication. He dropped the H and dumped his nickname of Barry along the way.
It wouldn’t make sense in Illinois to use Barack Hussein Obama as a ballot name when he started running for the state Senate in the late 1990s — before 9-11 (Osama bin Laden) and the Iraq war (Saddam Hussein). Barack Obama was enough to deal with — not so much because of anti-Muslim prejudice, which I am sure unfortunately exists, but the irrational preference Illinois voters have had for Irish and WASPy names.
Obama jokes that people at first thought he was O’Bama, a remark rooted in local political reality. Voters in Cook County elect judges with Irish names. In March 1986, former Sen. Adlai Stevenson's runningmate George Sangmeister lost an Illinois Democratic primary for lt. governor to Lyndon LaRouche Democrat Mark Fairchild and Aurelia Pucinski was defeatedin Secretary of State primary by LaRouche Democrat unknown Janice Hart.
Things have improved on the ethnic name front: Rod Blagojevich was twice elected governor. The Hussein name prompted a C-Span caller last week to ask if Obama was a Muslim. Obama’s father was born to the faith and fell away. Obama is a member of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ.