Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

The Obama backlash. It's started.

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While Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is vacationing in Hawaii--might be the last quiet time for years, poised as he is for a 2008 White House run-- a body of anti-Obama material is surfacing--centering around his record and his religious beliefs and yes, his middle name, Hussein. It's a backlash--and a foreshadowing of what is to come.

(see previous posts about a column I did on Obama's middle name and a verbatim from Obama on his middle name when he took my question on it while in New Hampshire.)

A website, www.mediamatters.org does a good job of surveying the poorly sourced stories out there--and setting out the record.

this from www.mediamatters.org....release from them on the "swiftboating" of obama below...

Schlussel: Should Obama be president "when we are fighting the war of our lives against Islam"?
In a December 18 column headlined "Barack Hussein Obama: Once a Muslim, Always A Muslim" and posted on her website, right-wing pundit Debbie Schlussel questioned the "loyalties" of Obama, given that his middle name is Hussein, his late, estranged father was of Muslim descent, and he has shown interest in his father's Kenyan heritage. Read More

Media's latest anti-Hillary narrative: Ruthless Clinton machine to attempt to destroy Obama
In reporting and commenting on a potential race between Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, several media figures have taken it upon themselves to issue warnings to Obama of a purportedly ruthless Clinton operation that will attempt to win by brute force, or, as Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund put it, "haul out the brass knuckles."

Dick Morris falsely claimed that Obama has "never introduced a bill" in the Senate

==============================

Swift-Boating Obama: Right-Wing Pundit Questions Senator’s “Loyalty��? to America
Debbie Schlussel Argues Obama is Muslim with Questionable Loyalties; Latest in a Long String of Smears by Pundits, Media

Washington, D.C. -- Taking the current media focus on Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) middle name a step further, right-wing pundit and regular MSNBC guest, Debbie Schlussel argued that because Obama’s middle name is Hussein and the fact that his late father was of Muslim descent, Obama’s “loyalties��? must be called into question. In her December 18 column headlined “Barack Hussein Obama: Once a Muslim, Always A Muslim,��? Schlussel asked: Is this “a man we want as President when we are fighting the war of our lives against Islam? Where will his loyalties be?��? She ended her column by asking if Obama becoming vice president instead would be acceptable. Answering her own question, she wrote: “NO WAY, JOSE ... Or, is that, HUSSEIN?��?

“Schlussel’s article is the latest example of the bigoted conservative attacks against Senator Obama,��? said Karl Frisch, spokesman for Media Matters for America. “While Schlussel’s comments are among the worst, she certainly isn’t alone. The public discourse surrounding Senator Obama has devolved into a petty game of who can say his middle name more often or insult his character and ancestry with the most zeal. It’s time for this bigotry to stop. News outlets like MSNBC can make the first move. They shouldn’t give people like Schlussel airtime to spew their hate-filled conspiracy theories because when they do, they undermine their own reputations as legitimate news organizations.��?

Schlussel’s column fits into a larger pattern in the recent media coverage and commentary regarding Obama. Indeed, like Schlussel -- who has repeatedly appeared on MSNBC in the past -- numerous media figures have gone out of their way to highlight Obama’s middle name in recent weeks, a detailed accounting of which is available below or online at the following link:

http://mediamatters.org/items/200612200005
During MSNBC's special election coverage on November 7, co-anchor Chris Matthews remarked that Obama's "middle name is Hussein" and suggested that it would "be interesting down the road."
On November 27, MSNBC host Tucker Carlson referred to radio host Bill Press as "a true member of the Barack Hussein Obama fan club."
During the November 28 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, Republican strategist Ed Rogers referred to "Barack Hussein Obama."
On the December 5 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, senior political correspondent Carl Cameron told viewers: "Though he's written two books about himself already, most people know very little about Barack Hussein Obama Junior's uncommonly privileged life."
On the December 11 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, correspondent Jeanne Moos noted that "[o]nly one little consonant differentiates" Obama and Osama. She then added, "[A]s if that similarity weren't enough. How about sharing the name of a former dictator? You know his middle name, Hussein."
On the December 11 edition of The Situation Room, CNN senior political analyst Jeff Greenfield compared the similarity of Obama's "business casual" clothing to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's "jacket-and-no-tie look." Greenfield concluded the segment by saying: "Now, it is one thing to have a last name that sounds like Osama and a middle name, Hussein, that is probably less than helpful. But an outfit that reminds people of a charter member of the axis of evil, why, this could leave his presidential hopes hanging by a thread." He later explained on the CNN website that he was making "a joke."
On December 13, Matthews teased another interview with Rogers by describing the strategist as "the one who just loves Barack Obama's middle name Hussein."
On the December 14 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, Rush Limbaugh gave Obama a "nickname" -- "Barack Hussein Odumbo" (in reference to Obama's "big ears").
On the December 14 edition of Hardball, NBC's Mike Viqueira announced "a man named Barack Obama, whose middle name, incidentally, is Hussein, running for president."
###

Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Media Matters for America is the first organization to systematically monitor the media for conservative misinformation every day, in real time. For more information, visit www.mediamatters.org

111 Comments

SO HIS MIDDLE NAME IS HUSSEIN, THERE ARE A LOT OF WHITE PEOPLE OUT THERE PRESIDENTS SENATORS, ETC, I AM SURE THOSE LAST NAMES AND MIDDLE NAME COULD CARRY OVER TO SLAVE OWNERS AND OTHER FEARS OF AMERICAN HISTORY.

Shine the light on these cockroaches..using the word Muslim with Obama is just another way to xxxxxx

Wow, although maybe i shouldn't be shocked, I am a bit shocked at hearing things. I have never seen obama stoop to that level, and I dont think he will either. These remarks sound so uneducated!!!

It could be worse. His middle name could be Bush. Or it could start with a "W", as in, "Worst President Ever."

Give me a break. Has history not taught us anything. The last charismatic, crowd thrilling, dais slapping, empty suited, inexperienced do nothing up-start that hood winked a nation into believing he could lead poor fools to the promised land of milk and honey, ended up running a country into the ground. That person was Adolph Hitler.

Nobody is surprised these views still exist in American society today!Just watch, now your going to see the real America, just like when Jesse Jackson ran for president.

I think it is obvious that people want to come up with an excuse not to vote for a black man. Good for him, this is the best they can com up with. It's obvious these people don't know what they're talking about, or don't care, or are willing to lie to tarnish is record. I'm sure lots of people in Africa/Mid East have Hussein somewhere in their name. What's wrong with him being interested in his culture. Are Irish people disloyal to the U.S. when they celebrate St. Patrick's Day? Lots of people where suits with no tie. Obama's father became an atheist, and left the U.S. when Jr. was 2. He's a Christian. He said so. Is that not good enough? But, of course, we always find a way to vilanize black men.

Mike makes an excellent point. But all these attacks will not work. The American public is awakening to the fact that manipulation from whatever "swift-boating" source is too transparent anymore. Obama realizes, and he is bringing the nation with him, that America wants the freshest start since 1776. And Barack Obama is just the person to provide it!

for that matter what kind of name is Rodham?

How humorous & how desperate to focus on a name, a parent's religion or how one dresses!
I thought we chose leaders based on their character. Silly me.

This is just the beginning of the misinformation and propaganda campaign that will try to get Barack killed. I hope he decides not to run in 2008 and is instead drafted to be Hillary's running mate. At least that way he'll have more Secret Service protection. By 2016 the rednecks and so-called conservatives will be used to his leadership. There are enough bigots out there that are dead-set on trying to stop this great man by any means necessary without the current and sure-to-come future inflamatory rants from the straight-up idiots who are stupid enough to continue to support being Bush-Whacked on Iraq and at home economically. Yet these same people are unwilling to even listen with open minds when it comes to a Black man or a female being poised to become President, both of whom have bold and specific plans that will not only get America out of its current global and domestic morass -- they will restore the world's trust and respect for our country. But these are people who would rather spread their misguided, ridiculously racist fears and stay stuck on stupid. To them, that's The American Way. For the record, Barack is a Christian and he attends my church. Plus Christians and Muslims have been fighting the Crusades for centuries. When is enough, enough?

It is unfortunate. No it is savage to say the kind of things that opponents say about Obama. Should we conclude that Rush is the kind of man that rushes through everything just because his name is Rush? Or is Bush, well.. what can I say?
Let the man be judged by the content of his character. Now that is civilized and American.

Idiots on parade

Did you all really expect anything different from these individuals? They are threatened by the fact that there is an individual who is potentially capable of great things & making many changes if he made a successful presidential bid. At this time, the only negative thing they have is his non-traditional American name. In my opinion, it could be worse. I hope that the majority of Americans resound with one voice & finally choose a capable leader that is able to unite everyone as AMERICANS & refocus on the real issues at hand. At this stage in the game, there are too many important issues that need to be dealt with than to be once again distracted by negative campaigning & fear tactics perpetrated by the usual suspects!

There are probably many valid reasons for questioning Obama's qualifications to be president. The middle name of "Hussein," however, is not one of them. This is equivalent to the Virginia Congressman who said the U.S. should limit immigration of Muslims into the U.S. because of the recent election of a muslim to Congress. The new Congressman has responded that his family has been in the U.S. since 1742. The sickness goes on and on.

It has been clear to me for many years that the media has adopted a collective form of bias & bigotry when it suits them. They use it to protect incompetent presidents, thieving executives and rich friends. So I am not surprised to hear the attacks on Senator Obama and Senator Clinton. The media and the so called religiously correct will constantly speak of being unbiased however, when something so against their cultural norm or their personal preference surfaces(a bi-racial man or a strong woman for president), this so call group of professional experts in television, print and radio becomes unglued. The overt bias is right in our faces. The use of these 'scare tactics' is no different than the WMDs in Iraq, the terrorist threat levels and the bird flu. Why do the players/reporters in the media find it so hard to understand why the general population no longer believe or trust them? The media big guns and media owners have manipulated the news and lied for the Bush/Cheney outfit for six years. Now ,six years later, you want to tell the old truth as current news They will lie & manipulate whatever they can to keep a bi-racial man or a strong woman from reaching greatness and/or acheiving their goal. I'm not surprised at your(Media) behavior-just continually disappointed. Each day I find less and less cause to respect anything the media says. But, hope against hope, I'll keep reading, watching and listening for the honesty and integrity of respectable media that will repsect the intelligence of the general public. You use to be one of us! Thank you.

It's amazing that at one point in time when he ran for Senate; all you heard were praises and how competent and strong he is as a congressional leader and now since the elections are coming up he's not to be trusted? Not only the media but the politicians always contradicts themselves and are full of sh*! We don't and shouldn't worry about him, we should be worrying about the current president doing what he's doing and put more focus on that instead of someones name. Muslims share the same names just as with any other culture. Ya' know, they (media/critics/politicians) should just log on to all of the other blogs and gossip columns and just have a big ole' blast session because they're acting like "haters" shall I say and need to understand the true meaning of life and this world.....any comments??

Are Americans perceived as empty-headed fools by the media and political pundits who spew this nonsense? What is needed is not making references to his heritage but rather focus on his abilities and refreshing straightforwardness.

I agree that it is disgusting to slander Senator Obama by invidious recitation of his middle name. However, Greenfield and Moos spoke satirically, and Greenfield even clarified that, for the humor-impaired, with a second column. I would think Sweet would set these things straight, rather than carelessly parroting mediamatters and possibly slandering Greenfield and Moos.

This is just another example of how low American politics has gone.Let's hope that after 8 years of Bushite politics, the American public has learned to read through the trash and separate out the propaganda.

Has America really been reduced to this, that we are picking a president based on his middle name? Has the level of political discourse sunk so low, that we are even having this conversation, rather than one about Obama's politics?

God help America, because neither the politicians or the media will...

Who cares about his name or religion. I want to know what was it about Tony Reczko that motivated Obama to approach him about purchasing the adjacent lot in the first place. There had to be a reason Reczko came to mind. Were they such close friends Barack felt comfortable asking him to buy property so as to sell Obama a section of it? Did they have other business dealings. Did Reczko mention he was interested in real estate? Did a third party help broker the deal or suggest Reczko? Just what made him think of Reczko? Amazingly, Barack's memory seems to get a bit fuzzy about this question. Another question. Did Obama approach anyone else about this real estate deal?

although i detest osama/obama the courage he stands up to should be recond with.I think in my heart he will usher in all things united nations maybe even training
here on our soil. So if ever a chance to sand up now for a change do so in 08'
vote indie get all the lifers out for goog

Well it is very clear that the right is scared of Obama. They have only a name to slam him on, clearly they are reaching.

The truth is that Obama will always shed light on these silly moves by the right, by speaking the truth and calling for a new kind of politics. He is truly one that can walk his talk at a time that the country is so ready for this.
Just remember the harder that the right pushes the more Obama will show the country that he has what it takes to be a great leader. I know that this will only make Obama stronger.

You should read this Screenplay called Ameristan, it will send chills down your spine.

Ameristan Screenplay
The "password" is the word password.

The story you’re about to read is fiction, but it’s based on research, facts and some very real events. For instance, all of the following actually happened:

On June 25, 1991, Siraj Wahaj walked up the steps to the Capitol dome—symbol of the American people, their government and their freedom. He had proudly accepted the honor of being the first Muslim ever invited to deliver a daily invocation before the U.S. House of Representatives.

Wahaj was an African-American convert to Islam who worked with cops to clean up drug abuse in his tough Brooklyn neighborhood. Since converting in 1969, Wahaj had become an international speaker for Islamic causes, hosted a radio show and served on the advisory board for the American Muslim Council.

His smiling, cherubic face was set off by a gray-flecked black beard trimmed to a neat point several inches below his round chin. Wahaj stood before Congressmen, cited the Qur’an and prayed that the Almighty would guide American leaders and “grant them righteousness and wisdom.��?

A little over a year later, addressing an audience of Muslims in New Jersey, Wahaj delivered a different message. If only Muslims were more politically clever, he said, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate – one Islamic commander wielding spiritual, temporal and military power over all.

“If we were united and strong, we’d elect our own emir and give allegiance to him,��? Wahaj said. “If six to eight million Muslims unite in America, the country will come to us.��?

In 1995, Wahaj testified as a character witness for Omar Abdel Raham in a trial that found that sheikh guilty of conspiracy to overthrow the United States government. The U.S. attorney for New York listed Wahaj as one of the unindicted persons who may have been co-conspirators in the plot.

During the summer of 2003, the Virginia-based Muslim American Society began building an influential voting bloc for the 2004 elections with a goal of “eventually seeing Muslim candidates on ballots for everything from city council to congressional seats,��? according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

And in the spring of 2004, Attorney General John Ashcroft said “credible intelligence from multiple sources��? revealed that al-Qaida’s Muslim extremists “are determined to launch an attack in the United States in the next few months.��?

Those are “the facts on the ground,��? as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was fond of saying.

What follows is make-believe.

But do not deceive yourself into thinking it couldn’t happen. The “Ameristan��? movement might be underway at this very moment. It could be happening as we sleep.

Charles Welty

New York

Ameristan Screenplay
The "password" is the word password.

This right wing bigotry makes me even more hopeful that Obama runs..and wins. At least he will have been out of the country prior to a Presidential run, unlike George W. Take note of his international disaster!


I am still trying to figure out the import of all this name brouhaha. So George W. Bush had a "convntional" name, did he not? To what extent did that help in his judgement and policy formulations?

America, wake up. Barack Obama will principally be judged on his intelligence, judgement, and ability to unite our fissured country. As it is, the US has lost its leverage and ability to be seen as a respected power in global affairs after eight years of botched Bush (mis)leadership.

Frankly, unlike the rest of the potential 2008 field for the presidency, Barack Obama has the understanding and wherewithal to understand the complex kaleidoscope that is our world in this new millenium. Which of our prospective leaders will be comfortable dealing with an ascendant China, an increasingly confident Indian, the troubled African continent, or a still very paradoxical Middle East?

My vote goes to Obama.

I always thought that these comments wouldn't come out of America. I can't actually believe that this is a civilised society because, it is full of haters who would take take the first shot given the chance to kill Obama. If America don't watch out, I can't even describe what will happen. God has left this country.

These right wing pundits are disgusting. Obama is above all this, that's why we need him in office. I could come up with a million names about Bush that are much more well, negative.
-Bush?? Come on!
-Dubya??? (Wait a minute, that looks sort of like Dubai, which is in a predominantly Muslim country!!)
-Dumbyeah??? I like that one.... The possibilities are endless. The difference is, Obama doesn't stoop to that level and will show these idiots just how dumb they look and make any American who buys into their ridiculous rants look even dumber.

the thing about bigots is that they blend in just like the terrorist. except they don't look like them or do they?they smile in front of the camera and intelligently gets there air time to spew there venom.i feel that fair and barely balanced news programs that smile for the camera everyday and constantly feeding there viewers there agendas will play a major role again in this next presidential election.they're going to have oodles of smart nobodies bashing not just osama or senator clinton but whom ever should challenge the republican party,will be fiercely attacked with hate and lies.and it might just work.

As usual, "language well calculated to fool the ignorant". Obama indeed, since when is getting elected to the senate sufficent qualifications for leader of the free world? He's just another manufactured stuffed shirt. We would do well to know the power behind the "head filled with straw"."Say hello to the new boss, same as the old boss". He would be the intellectual equivalent of typing in all caps, all style and no substance.

I knew It would be just a matter of TIME when they will start BASHING HIM!!!!!

So...if your name has any Islamic flair to it, then you are obviously a terrorist and good for nothing. Well, I seem to remember that a certain late Middle Eastern monarch carried the name HUSSEIN and his son today still is an American allie! I hope that Barack runs, and then again I hope he doesn't. If this ridiculousness is already starting, then God help him if he does decide to dive in. The excitement has been described as JFK and RFK like. Sadly and tragically we all know what happened to them. I don't think the 'establishment' is any readier now than it was then. If Obama rocks the boat and I feel he will intend to, it's not going to be a pretty site. We can only pray that if he is in fact the 'real deal' and does decide to get in the race, that he will win and not fall into the VP w/Hillary trap. We're going to know real soon how the next 2 years are going to playout. The right-wing extremists are going to try and destroy this man. I hope he has the will and the determination to discredit every move they make.

Last time I checked this was the war on Terror, not the war on Islam. Debbie get it right. It's such a shame that we still have idiots like these people(Neo-Cons).

The Republican party has lost their mind. They have advocated a war, no re-phrase that, they have shoved their policies down our throats, and see nothing wrong with it.

They are the most bigoted group of people in the world. Who cares if his last name is Hussein, I only want to know if the man can do the job.

Rather his name is Obama or Clinton, I feel we need to give the other party a chance. We have had almost 8 yrs of partisan politics from a party which ws supposed to unite the country under the banner of GOD, well i'm still waiting.

Gee I can't understand why a backlash is starting...especially when "reporters" like you jam Obama in our face every day.

to Stuart Royston: its not going to be the 'right doing Obama in. Its going to be Hilary's army (Carville and company) who do him in.

This is absolutely ridiculous, this is not a war on Islam, but a war on terrorism. If we are assuming that every islamic person is a terrorist then we're looking at the same scenario that we saw for the second half of WWII. We would eventually do what we did to the Japanese, throw all of them in internment camps and treat citizens as non-citizens.

I am not surprised one bit. I predicted this months ago. I am an American of Muslim descent and I had a feeling that if Barack came close to getting in the race that the middle name card would be played. Bottom line: Despite everything there are a lot of people in this country who cannot handle the idea of a President whose roots are not from England. However as I understand it Barack Obama attends church with his wife. I assume then his is a Christian of some denomination.

2 years of being a senator qualifies him for the presidency? Who are you kidding, mainstream media?

Obama has been in the public eye and public service way longer than 2 years as Senator, wake up.
His credentials are WAY more impressive than our current president. Daddy and the Bush name got George W. Bush everything he has had, and botched up. Take a good look at his record.

What's wrong with Americans who can't see this? I just don't get it. No matter what end of the fence you're on, Obama speaks truth. Truth is evident to everyone, I think the right wing naysayers are just scared that their boy couldn't do the job. Their power is in jeopardy, finally.

Every response people make regarding Obama's islamic heritage is emotionalism.By labeling any citizens lawful concerns as phobia, racism, backlash etc you avoid the issue. You got to do better than that.
Naively dismissing concerns regarding the Presidency of the US is wrong.

I agree with Jim Boster that the Rezko real estate deal needs clarification and I don't think Obama can explain it in a way that doesn't look bad. There does not seem to be any reason for Barack Obama to be contacting Rezko about this deal unless it was to get Rezko's help and he shouldn't have been asking Rezko for help.

I'm hoping Obama decides not to run. Thank God the Rezko story didn't go national before the elections because Obama was trying very hard to make himself the face of the Democratic Party and he could have brought the whole thing down.

Hate, lies, slander, name calling are not worth anything except to the people that want to see these two elected. Then they have neaning, and cause a lot of pain. The real problems are behind a very large screen, and you won't even see them till it's too late.
Think of the South,
think of whole of the western U.S. hatered
that will come to the surface as never before. New York, Chicago nor Calif. can over come it. None of the haters read these blogs, they get their information from Fox News, and that's all they need. It would be great if all facts
were in front of the people. But first you have to open their eyes and then their minds. Good luck with that. These people still think Bush is a good/great man, and they see no evil, hear no.etc.ect. You take a cowboy off his horse
and he stands in load dung. So what does that mean-you ask- it means he's stupid. And he'll keep doing the same thing in every thing he does. WHY, because that's what Daddy did. What Daddy hated so does he, even if he doesn't know why. In the south their called Rebels. A jerk by any other name is blah blah.

Who cares what his middle names is or how he dresses casually? I am going to vote based on the person and the issues. As a lifelong conservative these ad hominem attacks disgust me and frankly have no bearing on his ability to do the job, or not do the job. Take the measure of the man, his voting record and what he stands for, that is ALL that matters and all that should matter.

I won't support him as he is too far left for me but I will defend him against these childish, infantile attacks. Could Hillary be behind it? Does the sun rise in the East?

Maybe Forest Gump was correct when he shared a valuable lesson. "My mamma always says, stupid is as stupid does."

I am a constituent of Senator Obama, and my first attempt to communicate with his office was in February 2005. I was not successful. Back then I had the feeling that his staff was too busy to waste time on a mere constituent.

Several weeks ago, I called his office in Washington and spoke to several members of his staff. I cannot tell yet if anything has changed, but I am not optimistic.

It is unfortunate that many people think that it is unreasonable for a constituent to expect to be able to have a dialog with a Congressional staff member.

In all fairness, I have been shown ignorance and indifference by some of the staff members of my other representatives in Washington. I guess that with all of the money spent on campaigns, there is not much left to spend on the help. I never see or hear any discussions about the ways in which Members of Congress respond to their individual constituents though.

For the record, the name HUSSEIN is very common and quite innocuous. Derived from the Arabic word HASUNA, "to be good," the name means "handsome." In other words, it's the Arabic equivalent of KEVIN.

It just disgusts me how these people are even allowed airtime. Clearly, they thnk the American public are completly ignorant idiots. Okay, they disagree with Barack being a viable candidate. Fine. Give us intelligent reasons! Debate! Give us your opinions, yes! Don't pick on his name and the way he dresses as if you were part of a group of bullying children on a playground. These people are part of the reason why so many are encouraging Obama to run! We are tired of the B.S.! They are so stupid they don't even realize that what they are doing only drives home Obama's point that the American public has had up to their eyeballs with all the lies, negativity, hypocricy, and mud-slinging! The American public deserves more from these so-called news organizations.

In response to "Vern"

Clarification here.

Isn't our instantaneous negative reaction to Obama's Islamic heritage Emotionalism??????? His father was Kenyan. Shouldn't a thinking man want to explore his roots? Good and bad?
And wouldn't a thinking man
want to experiment, and find his path in life ?
I did alot of soul searching and religious exploration. Thinking people do this.

A "simple" man like George Bush might not. Neither do many Frat Boys. (until they grow up)

You should all gather around the Kool Aid picture and drink some more.Obama has voted aginst marriage protection, against paretnal notification on underage abortion, against partial baerth abortion. Check thesae out because they are facts from his voting record. Drink up people.

I think it's fair to assume that the people who are bothered by his middle name wouldn't vote for him no matter what he is called.

I don't think his name or his color will make or break his candidacy. However, what may resonate nationally (it remains to be seen)is if Obama is seen as yet another dirty Chicago politician. Even his cheerleaders have to admit, if they're honest, that Obama doesn't smell as sweet as he did just a few months ago.

This just goes to show that this country is highly effected by generic propaganda. If a garment is naturally made or manufactured a certain color, some one or some group, will decide to dye it another color of their choice, simply because they don't agree on the original color. This is a rule of selfishness, imaturity and greed, which is equivalent to evil desires. If Mr. Obama's name was "Jesus" no doubt they would crucify him.

It is shocking that in the 21st century many people who had the priviledge of educating themselves are viliantly feeding on the ignorance that still pervade American cumminuties. Defining the dignity of any human being based on color and name is nothing but prejudice which is the most corrosive ill in our communities today. Jesus never taught prejudice as a virtue. We profess christainity in the west. What is christain in being part of this evil known as prejudice. Americans hould stand up and tell these folks that they have just one vote each. America is not fighting a religious war in Iraq. Fundamentalism is evil regardless of who perpetuates it. Condemning Obama becuase of his name is nothing but racial and religious fundmentalism which Americans are fighting in Iraq. It time to examine the praise worthy vitues of Candidates and their ability to be a leaders.

hi-Can you please tell me what this senator has done to even think of running for President? He has done nothing.

I'd be interested to find out how much if any of the anti-Obama items are being fed to the media by Hillary's camp.

We will have a fresh start. The days of the right wing scare tactics are over. Barack Obama is an intelligent and compassionate man. These are the 2 things we need more that ever in Washington. Since when is it unamerican to be a muslim? Get ready people. Please send money to the Obama machine and be ready to knock on some doors. I will. Obama/Edwards 2008!!

Mr. Obama is way too left of center to make a serious run at the White House. His name and ethnic back-ground will have less to do with his failure to win the presidency than his position's on the issues. Mr. Obama has had the most liberal voting record in the U.S. Senate since his arrival in Washington in January 2005. Does anyone remember the shooting star of Howard Dean?

Enjoy your Obama now. There is no need to bash him. He is a lightweight flash in the pan, poof, to only fade away, quickly rock star of the moment.
He is not a rock star, he is a left wing, unproven, beneficiary of his mixed race and smooth voice. Get over it!

This dialog was over on the 5th post, when Mr. Isom invoked the Hitler comparison. A wise man once said, "first person to compare his opponent(s) to Hitler loses." Game, set, match.

So, now Obama's "loyalties" are being questioned because of his middle name (Islam or Christian? America or the Middle East?). When was the last time I heard bigoted comments like this? I know... When JFK was running as the first Catholic and it was questionable on whether he would be reporting to the Pope. (and to the person who asked what has Obama done to qualify him as president besides be a senator and write books? JFK was also just a senator and wrote a book when he ran in 1960...)

Who can be surprised by this? A percentage of the people in this country would vote against Obama because of his name; probably a larger percentage because of his race. Americans are really pretty ignorant for the most part, far more interested in style than substance; in 30 second sound bites than in the whole story. As for his experience - commons sense and vision aren't learned in Washington, and certainly not in Austin; knowing and doing what's right and being respected are more important than years of political 'training'.

you lefties are really funny .. blaming the (right wing?) media for obama bashing? just who does the msm spend all it's time bashing? i think that would be the president. but you'll never admit that, will you? i really, really hope that when the next 9/11 comes around, you will have a VERY close view of it.

It's insulting to most when a person such as Mr. Obama is praised for his ability to speak well. Why wouldn't he be able to speak well. Does that amaze people that a black man can speak well? This is another case of how liberals tend to show their real stripes. The right complains about his middle name, the left is so proud of a black man who can speak well. I don't know which side is worse.

Don't focus on his ability to speak well. Closely examine his leadership experience. Closely look at his voting record. Closely look at who he picks to work with him.

Look what happened when we fell for Bill Clinton. He was a great speaker. Until he was caught with all those women. It will take years before we live that one down.

There is a real excitement generated by having a previously excluded group of people crash through the barrier. Let's not forget our goal to put the best person in the office. We have not done such a great job of this over the last two Presidents.

I didn't bother to read this thread of absurd letters and commentary. The reason is simple--the media always uses the middle name of people when discussing them personally and the use of one’s middle name has no racial, religious or political bias--whether it is a president (Richard Millhouse Nixon, William Jefferson Clinton, Ronald Wilson Reagan, George Walker Bush, etc.) or a basketball star (Michael Jeffrey Jordan) or a criminal (Mark David Chapman).

Not all uses of the middle name are racist as Ms. Sweet insinuated in her column.

I think the topic of loyalty to this nation is a fair topic to discuss but I also think it is one to quickly dismiss given a candidate's proven track record. I don't find this topic racist or unfair in anyway. The same questions are asked every time someone of a different race or religion runs for the presidency (JFK's loyalty to the Pope).

Personally I am not a fan of Mr. Obama's and I cannot even fathom a scenario where I would vote for him (based completely on his liberal track record and not on his race, religion or middle name) but neither am I worried about Mr. Obama’s patriotism or loyalty to this nation. So, unless someone has some creditable evidence otherwise, it is time to move on to the next subject.

You all are right to be offended by this childishness we see on the airwaves. Some of you though are placing the blame on the wrong people because you've been conditioned to respond emotionally.

The Dems have been conditioned to blame the "religious right" and the Reps have been conditioned to blame the "flaming liberals" and so you vote for the lesser of two evils but the lesser of two evils is still evil. You think we have a two party system? The illusion of a two party system is ideal for controlling the masses. What we really have is a one party system, they simply do what they're told by the powers that be. The President the most powerful man in the world?!! What a joke!

Some people should read the article again because it says that Mr. Obama has been warned that Hilary's political machine is gearing up to destroy him. Don't think Hilary would do that? You need to really think about that!

Whomever we get, I think it was summed up best by one post... "meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

We've lost control of this country decades ago. I know that sounds impossible.

Please vote for a third party candidate. Please don't listen to those that will tell you that a vote for a third party is a wasted vote. There are those that really want to keep the illusion of a two party system. Check out the rules that Congress has imposed upon those running as a third party. They have made it virtually impossible for them to get on a ballot. They sure don't have any partisan problems when it comes to passing one of those bills!

Vote Independent!!!!

What would Obama do in our WAR to defend ourselves against the Muslim terrorists? Where are his loyalies? He hasn't been under the microscope long enough to see what the answer will be. Bad timing having a muslim running from president!

Hello!, this is a black man. Any word against him and YOU ARE A RACIST!!!

God Almighty, please stop the insanity! Schlussel's groundless insinuations about Obama's loyalties really insult the intelligence of Americans. Although I am unsure that Obama (yet) has enough experience to serve as "leader of the free world" I shudder to think that there are those who would try to spin his ancestral ties to Kenya and experience living in Indonesia as negative. I think America would be well served by a leader capable of considering other points of view. Clearly, such a penchant is missing from our country's current "go it alone" strategy.

If any of you could read most of these useless comments with an open mind, you'd be sickened. A majority are angry and hysterical over playground-level name calling, then turning around and doing the same. The hypocrisy is pathetic. Both parties do it, both parties are very flawed, this whole page, comments & article, reflect that - start to finish.

There are enough reasons for a conservative pundit to oppose a Barack Obama presidency already. Trying to impugn him based on his name is a cheap shot and is likely to backfire, generating sympathy for him rather than the intended scorn.

Perhaps the pundits doing this think that Obama would be easier to beat in the general election than Hillary.

Personally, I would like to see Condoleezza Rice be elected, but as far as I know, she has not expressed any intent to do so.

If you're going to rail against character attacks and name-calling, try to avoid engaging in it in the process. I'm as oppossed to name-calling when it applies to U.S. Senators as when it applies to conservatives like me. I can disagree with someone's political views without stooping to insults. Let's stop saying we'll make 2008 about issues and start doing it.

Okay, so what does this say about Bush. Look at his Nazi sympathizing great-grandfather Prescott Bush. Shouldn't that have been dug up when daddy ran? And again when sonny boy ran? Meh. It's all bull.

Not all Republicans think this way (bigoted, racist, etc.). Most of us are very moderate-minded and are looking at the person, not his/her name, their gender, their family background, or their style of dress. It's sad that a ridiculous few try to speak for the majority. Or that anyone would try scare-tactics in an effort to deem who is and isn't worthy of running for any office.
And by the way, I've seen Justin Timberlake wearing open-collared shirts with no tie and a jacket...should we ban him from performing and influencing our yough strictly since his style of dress is similar to the President of Iran?
Regardless of who ends up running for President, lets hope that We The People vote with our brains and facts, and not based on what any pundit is claiming about one candidate or another.

When did the war in Iraq (or Afghanistan where we really should have focused ALL of our attention and military strength) become a "WAR AGAINST ISLAM", as Miss Schlussel put it? It most certainly is NOT a War against anyone's religion!
And I would also like to ask Miss Debbie Schlussel where she got that NAZI last name of hers!?! She surely must be a descendant of HITLER or something, with a name like THAT, dontyathink?

..all these cries of religious intolerance are very touching. Never mind the legitimate question of allegiance that Islam itself raises.

Be that as it may, I won't be supporting Obama because he is a vacuous narcissist with no experience whatever and who is being propped up by a fawning media who hopes to create that new Democratic "American Idol."

On a semi-related subject (religion), The Mormon Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) has always openly stated that its members must be law-abiding citizens of the countries and communities in which they live. That ought to reassure these same people who raise the question about Islam. But so far, I'm still seeing a lot of true open religious bigotry against Mitt Romney. Republicans and Democrats alike are guilty of this (always in the 3rd person, of course).

Aren't we soooo evil in this country? dems and reps alike.

Comparing a Muslim name to English names that can be traced back to slave owners in the American colonies and our new US country? Slave OWNERS were not slave TRADERS. Africans and Europeans did the kidnapping and shipping blacks to the American colonies to take advantage of vulnerable colonists who needed hands to work. Having the last name descended from a slave owner is no black mark on any present day person. No comparison in any way, shape or form. Muslims attacked us, not descendents of slave owners.

As a freelance columnist for three years for the HOY Spanish language newspaper (published daily by the Chicago Tribune), I interviewed Barack Obama twice and wrote two favorable columns prior to his US Senate election. I thought the guy was the way of the future with his honesty, but he did everything in his power to avoid me afterwards when I asked him about how he felt about 2/3's of the country's legal abortions were performed on black women, especially teenagers.

Anyone who calls himself a family oriented Christian that cannot answer that crucial question regarding black women and the abortion genocide against the black community in general is a LIAR in my book.

I won't care if his name was O'Yeah, why is he so Silent on asking for a federal investigation into the cover-up by Mayor Daley and Cook County States Atty. Devine, of the torture of 100+ plus African- American men, by Jon Burge and other Chicago police officers.

And I'm a Blackman asking this question, is America's media telling the world that it's O.K. to torture people or that it's O.K. to torture African- Americans.

As a matter of fact why is Senator Clinton and her husband so Silent?

Gator the Urban Translator

Does anyone remember oreo cookies being physically thrown by the 'oh so politically correct' left at a right wing black political candidate recently? To say everyone on the right is racist or that they wouldn't vote for a black candidate is ridiculous, wrong and is said only to incite hate. The right has plenty of minorities in the party who are currently holding positions in government. Why is everyone on the left giving their senators a pass on the war? They voted for it and if they say they were "misinformed", then they certainly are not capable of serving the public. It is important to interpret vital information that might have profound implications. To lie about it now just shows total disregard for our intelligence-but then again, it seems to have worked-at least on this blog. Lastly, for those who do not listen to Rush Limbaugh but feel the need to ridicule him nonetheless, his statement made regarding Obama's ears was made by someone in the media and he was simply restating it on his program because of its absurdity. He does that regularly and if Lynn were a regular listener, she would've picked up on it. Intelligent and above the fray? Clearly you all need to be a little bit more informed out there.

If that's all they have, I say bring it on. Obama will coast his way into the White House with the greatest of ease.

Right now, I support Obama. Thatdoes not mean that I'll vote for him. Let's see what the political season brings, then we'll be able to dicide. I'm a Dem, yet I've voted for Repub prez candidates in the past. I hope most folks would vote for whom they think is the best candidate. It's that simple.

Eric Isom wrote: "The last charismatic, crowd thrilling, dais slapping, empty suited, inexperienced do nothing up-start that hood winked [sic] a nation into believing he could lead poor fools to the promised land of milk and honey, ended up running a country into the ground. That person was Adolph Hitler."
Actually, minus the "charismatic", that description perfectly fits the delusional, despicable jackass currently in the Oval Office.

White guilt is fading and soon people will look for substance and performance in candidates solely. It's pathetic to see race baiters busy plying their trade. I believe the term "pimping the poor" covers it!

Why don't all these pundits just be honest

I for one feel that Obama would make an excelent President, but not now. I think he needs a little more experience, but he is a very briliant man. I just don't understand why we have all of the non achiever blacks trying to throw the race card out so soon. I feel that we have more racist blacks in the country now than whites. They all feel that they should get soemthing for nothing, because of the past. Get with it, what happened with slavery was not our doing, its over get on with it, this is a new world. We as americans must vome togeather or the bad guys are going to eat us alive.

I don't think anyone is listening. Barack Obama's message is about working together, democrat and republican, to handle the mess we're in. TOGETHER being the operative word. And to the person who talked about Clinton's indiscretions while in office: that has nothing to do with being president! It may not be a good reflection of how he values his marriage, but what does that have to do with being president? Many men who ride the moral-character-bus have made bad choices in that department and have still been leaders our country is proud of (Benjamin Franklin, for example).

The reason that Sen. Obama will make an attractive candidate for many, is because he has not engaged in the nutty extremist dialoge displayed by both extreme right and left wing types.
As for his experience it compares favorably with A. Lincoln's.
On the judgement issue, he is one of the few leaders in either party to have the good judgement to have publicly stated his oposition to our disasterous Iraq adventure at a time when it was not popular. Decisions have consequences. The decisions that President Bush made and that many Democratic Senators supported, cost the lives of 3000 US soldiers, tens of thousand of Iraqs and hundreds of billions of dollars.
This does not make BHO a President, but how DO the others compare? What will they tell their children of their roles in this great blunder?

Obama's middle name has nothing to do with how he'd perform as President or currently as Senator for that matter. However, his extremely misguided liberal idealogy will ensure he'll make a terrible president.

obama is the biggest fraud ever forced down the american public's throat. the media's actively campaining for him. the blind spot loyalists have for his voting record , his total lack of substance makes me laugh on one hand ,and wonder about our country on the other . one question i have is; does barry actually pay for his advertising ? or is all of the media's shameless fawning come free (packaged as news) ?

the citizens in america that have an evolving conscienciousness don't give a rat's ass about all these semantics. what's important to us is that mr. obama continues to be a straight-talking honorable man who also happens to be smart!

I sure Obama's name will not be a problem since he is a media darling there is no way the media will allow his name to get in the way of his run at the presidency. Anyone who attempts to attack Obama will have to deal with "media rage"~~ calling them names like: racist, bigot, right winger, extremist, ect...

I am not a Barack Obama supporter and never would be. He is way too liberal for my Conservative beliefs, but these comments regarding his middle name and allegedly being a Muslim are absolutely stupid. I really wonder why focus can't be on issues instead of crackpot comments as these.
I do wonder at times if a crafty Democrat is possibly behind them either to attempt verbal assassination of Sen. Obama for the benefit of another candidate OR possibly on the other side of the coin to gain public sympathy instead of outcry in Obama's favor.
Who knows?

Tsk, tsk... Now, it is the Obama flak. His name, his style, his looks, his inexperience, his speech, his idealism, etc. Oh! wait, I've forgotten! Am I talking about Obama or Dubya? America has not changed because the people who live in America have not changed. The attitudes, behaviors, thoughts and doings are all 'fixated' in fantasy and illusionary beliefs that have nothing to do with universal reality. THAT is the real 'merica!

The less the press focuses on the backlash the less attention it will get. My experiences with Senator Obama lead me to believe he is an honest man. Imagine that? An honest man in the White House?

Get out the preparation H, the press is determined to shove obama and hillery.
Guess no one else will run.

I never thought I would agree with Gator Bradley on anything, but I agree that people need to be way more informed. Sen. Obama is going to need to explain his relationship with Tony Rezko and he had better have his story down because when the national press gets a hold of that story they will hound him on it. Also, to Don, (Dec 21>) Rodham is her maiden name.......I.IO.T

There is no stopping people who are ruthless enough to passive-agressively add 'Hussein' to his name every time they say his name and smirk. They know what they're doing and for them, the ends justify the means. If they win, it was worth it. It's not wrong if it gets the idealist into power- because the idealist believes that though everyone may think he/she is wrong, in the end they will be vindicated and everyone will bow in penance. This is our society now- nothing is out of bounds as long as it wins. Reading that line, I am very despondant over the future of our country. Where has the decency gone?

Fighting a war against Islam? Our president said this was not a war against any religion but against terrorism. Hmmmmm, I guess the truth is coming out, huh?

"Bush-Whacked on Iraq and at home economically."

The unemployment rate is under 5 percent, and the Dow has hit numerous all-time highs. It's fine to talk bad about the President in regard to things he hasn't handled well, such as the war in Iraq. I will be the first to say that he has flubbed that one up considerably. It's fine to say that you don't agree with his stance on moral issues such as abortion and stem-cell research, however, speaking negatively about the current economic state of America shows that you know nothing about that issue...

As for the Article, I've been saying since the day I heard people talking about him running "His last name is so close to Osama, he will never be President of this country." Does that mean I wouldn't vote for him, no. Does that mean many people in America won't, just because of his name, yes. If the Dems want to take back the highest office, they need to support a real candidate.
John Edwards is the best choice. I am a very liberal person morally, although overall I lean towards the conservative side of things. I would vote for Edwards, and many liberal republicans would as well.

Something I found odd about the article was this statement- "News outlets like MSNBC can make the first move. They shouldn’t give people like Schlussel airtime to spew their hate-filled conspiracy theories because when they do, they undermine their own reputations as legitimate news organizations.��? Not letting people of all opinions share their thoughts undermines the reputation of the news agency. This is America, and in this nation, we have freedom of speech. The news should not be censored, and any news network that decides not to air things because they might be offensive is doing a disservice to the American people. If the news media of the past had decided not to show things that were offensive to some, good things (to most of us anyway) like the civil rights movement would have never taken root.

-Jon

If Obama is a Muslim, or was a Muslim, if his family is Muslim should be brought out into the light of day by the media. Why has the media been hiding this fact? Being Muslim has nothing to do with me voting for a candiate. The facts are Barack Hussein Obama has done nothing. That's why I would never vote him.

I think these people are sounding a warning we must heed. We should similarly disqualify Sens. Biden and Lieberman. Both have the same first name as Stalin.

WE CANNOT CHANGE THE RULES OF THE GAME, UNTIL WE PLAY THE GAME AND DISCONTINUE THE CHEERLEADING FOR THE SIDELINES.I cannot believe what is going on. They are attacking Obama's name and attire instead of his character. Wait a minute...I have yet to see a flaw in his character...I guess when nothing is wrong, 'Create and popularize a wrong (propaganda). I think as a nation we are getting tired of having the wool pulled over our eyes. What was Iraq all about again?
.......
The slogan of the French Revolution was "Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death!" Which one of those three do we really have and which ones are just perception. Are we getting to the point the french people got to? They were fighting an oppressive government at that time. Where are we headed? Rome was the greatest empire during it's heigh day, but it ended up imploding. For a preview of our future we must look to history and the fall of the great civiliaztions...Do not stand on the sidelines, get involved.

Barack Hussein Obama is the person who is focusing and reconnecting with his Muslim father's homeland and culture. His step-father was Muslim also. No offense but I don't think that America is ready for a Muslim President. Maybe in '12.

Mr Moore was right in the last election when he said. Americans are the "dumbest people on earth". I say STAND UP AMERICANS and fight, we have a president who is trying to keep the war where it belongs and you people call him stupid? You will change your half ass mind's only when it becomes more in fashion to dodge the bullets and bombs here in the US in our own streets, and make no mistake that will be the everyday life you will live when not if, WHEN! these people who have sworn to kill every last one of us gain control. I wont live to see it, I'm too old and those of you who remember WW2 most likely wont see it but the day is coming and you can take that to the bank when what I am saying will come to pass. You may as well start teaching your grandchildren to speak arabic now and save some time.. WW2 was a war when all americans united and worked and stood together to win it. Too much time has passed and not many remember what I am saying. Americans have become soft and think the freedom they have now was to be taken for granted..NOT SO you weak, fat, lazy, cowards, how many of you would fight for this country?? America is headed for a very hard fall and it will be the politicians and the lazy do nothing but cry about it residents, will drag it down(notice I didn't say Americans they will be in the minority buy they will fight, )our armed forces have been weakened by the gutless Washington crowd cutting defence fund's to the point that our army has to close some Mess halls and installations and issue wooden rifle's to the trainee's. They were so busy lineing their own pockets, saying what they thought the public wanted to hear and bashing Bush, blameing him for everything but their own greed and mistakes they couldent see or care. Now the general public beliveing everything the media and some poloticians say (and they are as much to blame for the war as Bush is) are joining in on the George bashing because they cant think for themselves. You better hope in your heart of hearts that Mr Bush is right and we win this thing or HITLERS PARTY will look like a family picnic . Lord knows I wish you were right but the future will hold the proof I truthfully worry about my descendants.

Then there is the group worrying about the treatment of the prisoners at Gitmo, you volenteer to babysit them, take good care of them, love them and nuture them. I guarentee you will carry your head home in a sack.. I only agree with one thing, name's or sex dont mean crap unless your name is Clinton. She's already proven herself to be everything I have said about poloticians here....

Keep what I say in mind while you try and think of something smart ass to say here....Been there

It's funny that the media followed him to Hawaii and took those beach photos. Hopefully they don't pull a Princess Diana on him.

To Nancy W: You must be one of those weak women who can't stand to see another woman suceed. So you just blame Hillary for everything. The Republicans are very sly and work the media to make the gullible American public believe that only Republicans can take care of our country. And look what Bush has done!

Obama is the flavor of the week for the left. In a few more months another young turk will pass him by and the American voter will set the senator on the back burner, where he belongs. He's only been in Congress 2 years and he's done what exactly to merit the Oval Office?

This sort of thing is why Americans need to turn their backs on the Dems and the GOP and support a 3rd party candidate. Aren't you tired of all this political BS from both sides?

I think Obama's supporters maybe manufacturing some of the backlash. After an Obama supporter suggested my Mother was racist, for being undecided in Florida, and a supporter suggested at an event table that Hillary would go to war because she was a woman and needed to prove she was tough, I was disgusted. Actually between these events and media bias, being disenfranchised in Florida, I am going to vote for McCain in the presidential election, honestly in disgust.

The funny thing, is I was an Edwards supporter, I probably would have voted for him.

There is a post above that I did not write. Another Morgan Granata? Or, is someone using my name? I adore Barack Obama and have since I heard him speak at CARE's National Advocacy Conference back in 2006. Please make it so when you google my name Preparation H does not come up!

So, NOW what do you say?

Over taxation
Hiding new taxes in other bills, under the guise of bailouts, new programs, health care bill, etc. For all his bravado, and his promise of NO NEW TAXES on ANYONE earning less than $250,000 (I make about $100,000 and his new Health Care Bill will cost me just over $10,000.

What happened to "I will repeal NAFTA!"?? Haven't heard a single word since he took office. In fact, the only things he has done are;
1) Cost me money
2) Give my hard earned money to lazy people, adding to their demise
3) Alienate our international partners

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Lynn Sweet

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

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 20, 2006 3:04 PM.

Bush on Iraq: Still the right decision to go to war, he says. Tells us to shop more. Sidesteps question about Mary Cheney partner benefits. was the previous entry in this blog.

Obama's cocaine, pot use: Does it matter in White House bid? is the next entry in this blog.

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