Obama Embraces His Middle Name: Hussein

ABC's David Wright reports: The confusion today over the precise wording of the oath of office all but eclipsed what might otherwise have been a noteworthy moment in the proceedings: the fact that Obama used his middle name.

During the campaign, mere mention of the middle name was considered inflammatory.  John McCain rebuked one of his supporters for invoking Barack Hussein Obama.  The Obama campaign, for its part, suggested that commentators using their candidate’s full name were trying to imply something sinister.  Prior to today’s events Obama had indicated he would use his full name, "following the tradition."  But really there is no established tradition.  Each President chooses for himself. Bush, Clinton and Nixon all used their middle names. Reagan and Carter did not.  In fact, the latter was famously casual, taking the oath using his nickname "Jimmy." Ford used his middle initial, as did Eisenhower.  Truman use his middle initial too -- but hadn't the option of using the middle name.  The "S" apparently didn't stand for anything. The fact that Obama did use his middle name will likely be seen in the Muslim world as a friendly gesture, a sign of cultural change in the US approach. 

Indeed, ABC’s digital correspondent in Islamabad Nick Schifrin notes: “If you talk to anyone here, no matter how poor, it seems they know Barack HUSSEIN Obama became the president of America. They don't necessarily think his Muslim father will translate into different policies -- but they certainly hope so.”

No doubt, some folks in this country will try to make something unflattering of Obama's embrace of his middle name. 

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