ABC News senior national correspondent Jake Tapper ended a February 9 post on his ABC News weblog Political Punch by asking: "What do you all think of Mr. Barack Hussein Obama?" Previously, as Media Matters for America has noted, on the January 16 edition of ABC's Nightline, during a report on the Illinois senator's decision to form a presidential exploratory committee, Tapper referred to Obama as "Barack Hussein Obama" and asked: "Just who the hell is Barack Obama? And why, in these dangerous times, should he be entrusted with the most powerful job on Earth?"
In a January 24 post, Tapper had criticized what he called the "sliming" of Obama in connection with the now-debunked InsightMag.com article that alleged Obama attended a madrassa in Indonesia. Yet Tapper continued to use Obama's middle name, even after a January 28 Washington Post editorial described it as a "sleazy tactic." The Post noted that Obama does not use his middle name and argued that people "who take pains to insert it when referring to him are trying, none too subtly, to stir up scary images of menacing terrorists and evil dictators." The editorial stated that using Obama's middle name "would be merely juvenile if it weren't so contemptible," adding that those who employ it "embarrass only themselves."
Media Matters has documented numerous instances of media figures referring to Obama using his middle name. Most recently, MSNBC's Imus in the Morning executive producer Bernard McGuirk, apparently in reference to "Hussein," said Obama has a "Jew-hating name."
Tapper has referred to Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards as "Johnny" (and did so again in his Feb. 9 post; "Johnny" is apparently Edwards' given name) and to Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), also a presidential candidate, as "the Kooch." He frequently ends his posts by asking some variation of the question, "What do you think?"
From Tapper's February 9 post on ABC News' Political Punch:
On a United flight to Chicago right now, then a quick hop to Springfield, Illinois, where Saturday morning Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., will formally declare his presidential candidacy. (Hasn't he already done that? a friend recently asked. Answer: No. The way this kabuki is now performer, for superstar candidates, is: a) tease, b) explore, c) milk the new explore status, d) declare.
On Saturday, Obama does (d) at the Historic Old State Capitol in Springfield at 10:00 am local time.
Why? This is where he served in the state legislature for eigh [sic] years, so it's a defensive reminder that he's not as inexperienced as some may portray him as (I'm talking to you, Johnny Edwards!).
Plus there is that whole Abe Lincoln come let us heal this nation thing.
The event will be outside. The forecast states the temperature will be in the teens.
Intended Projection: Youth! Vigor!
And hopefully no mucous.
Obama then will fly, press corps in tow, to first-in-the-nation caucus state Iowa.
Specifically to Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids for a 5:00 pm ET town hall meeting. He will then have an 8:30 pm ET meet-and-greet at the Central Middle School Gymnasium in Waterloo. After overnighting in Iowa Falls, on Sunday he'll hold a 1:00 pm ET rally at Iowa State University in Ames.
Then the self-described "skinny guy with a funny name" heads to his hometown, Chicago, the city with shoulders, for a 6:30 pm ET rally at the University of Illinois-Chicago Pavilion. Then a fundraiser, I think. We in the press corps won't see much of that.
And then a hard-hitting profile or big wet kiss will run on CBS' "60 Minutes," which has demanded -- and I'm speculating here -- that Obama not do any other TV interviews until its profile of him runs. (Pretty par for the course for a big splashy show.)
More later.... What do you all think of Mr. Barack Hussein Obama?