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Hannity Once Again Defends Scurrilous Use Of Obama’s Middle Name

Reported by Ellen - March 12, 2008 -

White supremacist sympathizer Sean Hannity is not the sharpest tool in the shed but he’s smart enough to understand that when his pals Bill Cunningham and “Boombox” Ann Coulter use Obama’s middle name, that it’s not for the purpose of making him look presidential, as Hannity again ridiculously claimed last night (3/11/08) on Hannity & Colmes. Fortunately, Alan Colmes and guest Dr. Marc Lamont Hill easily exposed the hypocrisy. With video.

The discussion opened with a brief clip of Obama telling Tavis Smiley last October, “I think if you've got a guy named Barack Hussein Obama, that's a pretty good contrast to George W. Bush.” FOX News conveniently left out the rest of Obama’s statement:

(I’m) somebody who's lived in a foreign country, somebody who knows what it's like to see family members in dire poverty, somebody who has a grandmother who lives in a village in Africa without running water and without heat and without indoor plumbing - a village that's been devastated by HIV/AIDS.
When I got to Africa, I'm not speaking based on what I've read or what I hear in a hearing or what I've seen visiting the ambassador's residence in Nairobi. I'm speaking from experience, in the same way that when I talk about issues facing the inner city here in the United States; I'm not looking at it from a distance. I'm speaking from somebody who's worked in public housing projects and dealt with trying to find ex-felons a better life for themselves. And so that experience, I think, gives me more credibility to talk about these issues.

Predictably, FOX News and Hannity used the segment not to discuss the issues that Obama actually raised there but to attack him -- by both highlighting his middle name and trying to make him look like a hypocrite for using it, himself, while complaining about others’ use (even though the context is entirely different) and, not so coincidentally, give themselves cover for their own blatant smears.

Hannity’s scripted introduction proved that FOX News was just as deliberately intent on smearing Obama as Hannity was: "At the time, the senator seemed to have no problem referencing his middle name… however his campaign has since lashed out at any person mentioning it."

“If he’s willing to use it, why should it even be an issue for anybody?” Hannity asked in an innocent voice. “We got Franklin Delano Roosevelt, JFK, LBJ, Richard Milhous Nixon, Ronald Wilson Reagan… If he’s using the name, himself, why should anybody hesitate to use it?”

The conservative guest was the disgraced Armstrong Williams (not a word mentioned about his past). Williams later admitted that conservative pundits had used Obama’s name to smear him but Williams kept insisting that it was a non-issue. “I don’t see an issue with it. It’s who he is. It’s his identity. I mean there are a lot of people in this country with middle names Hussein, first names Hussein.”

Hill said, “The issue here is the subtext and the intention behind it. When Bill Cunningham is using it, when other people are using it, they’re using it to appeal to a certain…”

Hannity interrupted with the kind of melodramatic tirade that he always seems to unleash on African Americans with whom he disagrees. “You don’t know that!” Hannity yelled with bullyboy Hanctimony. “You’re assuming!”

Hill went on to point out that John McCain and the RNC chairman also agreed that Cunningham’s and other usage of Obama’s middle name was offensive. “It’s appealing to a xenophobic and dirty type of American politics.”

“Stop! Why did Barack Obama use it, himself, then?” Hannity demanded, as if he didn’t know that there was a difference. Then, reaching new depths of disingenuousness, Hannity said magnanimously, “Whatever Barack Obama would prefer in terms of his name being used, I would honor that. He has every right to use it. But if he uses it, I don’t understand why it’s a controversy if anybody else uses it.”

Williams admitted to Colmes that when Ann Coulter referred to Obama as “B. Hussein Obama” and that when Bill Cunningham said, “Barack Hussein Obama,” neither of them were doing so to honor Obama’s name.

“So isn’t there a difference between them, the way they’re using the name and Barack, himself, talking about his middle name?” Colmes asked.

“There is a difference,” Williams admitted again.

“The point is, it’s intent,” Colmes said. He emphasized that when people like Cunningham use the name it’s “to imply that because (Obama’s) got a name that sounds like a terrorist, he’ll be bad for America versus Barack himself saying, ‘You know what? That’s actually a good thing because it shows that maybe people will pay attention and will have a different image in the part of the world where we need to win hearts and minds.’”