Criticizing Sen. Obama, Limbaugh called him "Obama Osama"

Video ››› ››› JEREMY SCHULMAN

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Nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh repeatedly called Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) "Obama Osama" and "Osama Obama" during the July 11 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show. In criticizing a July 10 speech by Obama in Eatonville, Florida, Limbaugh added "Osama" to the senator's name seven times. Limbaugh justified his use of the phrase by explaining that Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) had once done so.

As Limbaugh acknowledged on his show, Kennedy did correct himself after mistakenly saying "Osama bin" instead of "Obama" at a January 12 press conference at the National Press Club. The Associated Press reported on January 12, "Kennedy also mangled the name of the Democrats' new star, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, calling him 'Osama bin ... Osama ... Obama.' "

Limbaugh has referred to Obama as "Obama Osama" or "Osama Obama" several times since the January press conference, generally to mock Kennedy's misstatement. But on his July 11 show, Limbaugh also repeatedly used the phrase in criticizing Obama and Democrats in general.

From the July 11 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: And you've got now another memo from Stan Greenberg and James Carville and Bob Shrum suggesting that liberals are in trouble, the Democrats are in trouble, and Obama Osama Obama was in Florida over the weekend stumping for [Sen.] Bill Nelson [D-FL], and he said Democrats have got trouble. What did he say here? He said, "Democrats, at times, have lost their way. We're trying to decide what our core values are."

You don't have to decide what they are if you have them. If you have core values, it means they're part of you. You don't have to decide what they are. I'm telling you, folks, they're in trouble.

[...]

Of course, my friends, I know, I know. The left has core values. They're just not ours. But I mean, if Obama Osama -- here's the story. It's in the Orlando Sentinel. "Obama Osama Leads Star Power or Lends Star Power to Nelson. A Democratic U.S. senator campaigns for his colleague in a town hall forum in Eatonville. About 500 people rose to their feet in a standing 'O' worthy of a rock star, as U.S. Sen. Barack Obama Osama hit the stage." Grab that Ted Kennedy song. People don't know what I'm talking about here, uh, Mike, and let me know when you have it ready.

"The charismatic black politician from Chicago, who at 43 has achieved almost icon status since his wildly popular speech" -- you know, he's an icon because of a speech. He hasn't done anything. Just like [former New York Gov.] Mario Cuomo is an icon because of a speech. How long did Cuomo live off that speech? Four or five years before he was -- maybe -- well, he's not living off it anymore. He got -- he was defeated, eventually, when he ran for governor again but or, no, OK -- 12. Twelve years after, OK. All right.

So here's Osama Obama now. One speech at a convention and he's living off it. He's a rookie. He's a rookie senator. He hasn't done anything yet, now, but anyway, he went in there to try to drum up support for the fledgling and in trouble Democrat from Florida, Bill Nelson, a former astronaut, and the most provocative question he was asked was the first one. Glenn Anderson of Orlando stood up and said, "I see a Democratic Party afraid to say they're Democrats who voted for the war in Iraq and voted for tax cuts for the wealthy. Why should I remain a Democrat?"

"It was a tough question, but Nelson and Obama tried to answer it. Obama said, 'The Democrats, at times, have lost their way. We're trying to decide what our core values are.'" Now, I know, I know, I know they have core values. They're just not ours. The difference is, they don't have the courage to identify their core values publicly.

This is now the third reference in three weeks I've seen of prominent Democrats saying they're going to have to get together and figure out what they believe and that's -- when you're talking core values, that's not why you have meetings. You have meetings to plot "strategery" about how to implement your core values. You don't have meetings to figure out what they are.

And how long have these Democrats been having meetings to try to figure out what to do and who they are? It's just amazing. Now, if you're wondering why I'm calling him "Obama Osama," Ted Kennedy was at the National Press Club and made a speech and in the question-and-answer session, he got a question about Obama and actually called him, "Osama Obama," what did he call him? "Obama bin Laden" or something. He did correct himself, but it caused us -- we had no choice, folks, we had to do a parody tune out of this.

[...]

Speaking of Ben [sic] Nelson, I still have this story of Osama Obama on the front of the stack and it moved to the back. Obama Osama came down from his perch in Illinois to stump for Sen. Nelson here in Florida -- when was it? I guess it was yesterday. I can't believe they didn't cancel it. This is the Orlando Sentinel. Hurricanes are going through, and they still did the fund-raiser. Doesn't surprise me.

But nevertheless, Obama said the Democrats have at times have lost their way, we're trying to decide what our core values are, of course, and it was for the benefit of Ben [sic] Nelson.

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