Michelle Obama on the use of her husband's middle name by his opponents:
Michelle Obama, who often has decried "the fear bomb'' that opponents have used against her husband for his middle name -- Barack Hussein Obama -- said in Canton, Ohio, today that it is happening again and shows why it's so important that he wins election as president.
"They threw in the obvious, ultimate fear bomb," Obama said today of her husband's 2004 Senate race. "We're even hearing [that] now. … 'When all else fails, be afraid of his name, and what that could stand for, because it's different.'"
The senator's wife said that rivals use innuendo to play on fears. "Just as they're saying it now," she said.
But, she told about 200 supporters this morning at a restored theater in Canton, Obama won despite that "climate of negativity and doubt" in 2004. "We learned, number one, that when power is threatened by real change they will say anything to stop it," she said. "But we also learned that the American people can handle the truth."
OK, who is "they"? Today's ChiTrib advised us that Alan Keyes, Obama's final Senate opponent, never used "Hussein":
...not even Alan Keyes in his most overwrought, spittle-flecked moments did it during his 2004 Senate run against Obama in Illinois.
"We warned him away from using the middle name," replied Bill Pascoe, Keyes' former campaign manager, when I checked with him to see if my colleagues and I had missed something when coming up empty after plumbing our memories and the news archives.
Pascoe told me he and former top Keyes consultant Dan Proft had steered him away with the admonishment that such a gambit would be "rude, uncivil, needlessly provocative and incendiary."
Well, maybe Jack Ryan dropped the ultimate fear bomb before a friendly (to Democrats) judge unsealed his divorce so the press could have a scandal with Jeri Ryan's "I need a payday" divorce allegations. Jack Ryan left the Senate race in June 2004, but who knows?
Or could it have been one of Obama's primary opponents? Perhaps a Lexis maven can help me out. FWIW, the Chi Trib's archive first kicks out a "Barack Hussein Obama" in Dec 2006, criticizing Rush Limbaugh's use of "Barack Hussein Odumbo". Hmm, Google might have missed that....
MORE: "Hussein" is the ultimate fear bomb? I thought the international community had him contained; isn't "Osama", Ted Kennedy's formulation of "Obama", much scarier?
Whatev. Speaking of scary, let's just call the Senator from Illinois "He Who Must Not Be Middle-Named".