February 26th, 2008
09:07 PM ET

What’s in a Name?

Walker, Wilson, Fitzgerald, Baines – good, solid American middle names. Middle names that go with Campbell’s Soup and apple pie, right? Presidential middle names, one could even say.

Middle names have historically never become campaign issues. But this year, things are different. Sen. Barack Obama’s middle name is not Walker or Fitzgerald, it is Hussein - a fact that Cincinnati talk radio host Bill Cunningham mentioned several times today during an anti-Obama speech. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what Cunningham was trying to imply. Sen. McCain (who was not on stage when Cunningham spoke) immediately repudiated his remarks.

Some background: Hussein – which means “good” or “handsome” - is a common Muslim name (Obama’s father was Muslim). In fact it’s so common you could compare it to Paul, Peter or John in Christianity. And yes, it was the name of the tyrannical leader of Iraq, but it was also the name of the King of Jordan, a key U.S. ally.

Presidential politics has never been about middle names. Reasonable people, on both sides of the aisle, seem to agree it should stay that way.

- Jack Gray, 360 Associate Producer

Filed under: AC360° Staff • Barack Obama • John McCain • Raw Politics
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