Hussein, v.

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Thu Feb 28 02:52:17 UTC 2008

Another early WOTY candidate...


Rove: Don't "Hussein" Obama

No less an authority figure than Karl Rove has warned Republican
operatives from demagoguing Barack Obama's middle name.
At a closed door meeting of GOP state executive directors in late
January, Rove said the safest way to refer to Obama would be to use
his honorific, "Sen. Obama."
"The context was, you're not going to stimatize this guy. You
shouldn't underestimate him," one of the executive directors said.
Rove said that the use of "Barack Hussein Obama" would perpetuate the
notion that Republicans were bigoted and would hurt the party.
Rove also said that Republicans should refer to Hillary Clinton as
"Sen. Clinton," rather than "Hillary."
Right wing figures are set to ignore Rove's advice. Rush Limbaugh used
Obama's middle name more than a year ago, and Ann Coulter regularly
uses the middle name, once calling him "President Hussein." So does
Michael Savage, who once asked whether Obama was a "so-called friendly
Muslim" or one more "radical."

(Did ADS miss the boat by not nominating "swiftboat, v." in 2004?)

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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