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Barack Obama today confirmed that he will take the presidential oath of office using his middle name, Hussein, a choice depicted as routine but likely to be viewed as an olive branch by majority-Muslim nations.
Obama's oath-taking plan comes after a campaign season that saw his full name used in a pejorative capacity by several allies of his rival, John McCain. The president-elect described taking the oath with his full name as a run-of-the-mill decision not intended to be significant.
"I think the tradition is that they use all three names" to swear in new presidents, Obama told the Los Angeles Times, "and I will follow the tradition, not trying to make a statement one way or the other. I'll do what everybody else does."
Yet several recent American presidents, including Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, omitted their middle name when taking the oath.
The past controversy roused by Republicans over his middle name lent a confident undertone to Obama's choice, as did his renewed vow to deliver a speech in a majority-Muslim nation. Speculation has centred on Indonesia, where Obama spent four years of his childhood, as the likely site of his future visit.
"How we structure that is something that I will determine with my national security team in the coming weeks and months," Obama told the Times. "But I think we've got a unique opportunity to reboot America's image around the world and also in the Muslim world in particular."
Obama also addressed some of the more prosaic details of his transition to the presidency in the interview. He said he would keep his home in the Hyde Park neighbourhood of Chicago as a refuge during his term, calling it his "Kennebunkport", a riff on the elite Maine town where the Bush family vacations.
The president-elect also addressed yesterday's shocking arrest of Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, who faces charges of bribery for allegedly seeking to sell off Obama's Senate seat.
Obama reiterated a statement he released yesterday, telling the LA Times that "I have not discussed the Senate seat with the governor at any time", but declined to address local reports that his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, helped blow the whistle on Blagojevich.
Asked if he knew of any recent conversations between Emanuel and the disgraced governor, Obama replied: "Let me stop you there, because it's an ongoing investigation. I think it would be inappropriate for me to remark on the situation beyond the facts that I know."
WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama’s aides say he is considering making a major foreign policy speech from an Islamic capital during his first 100 days in office.
So where should he do it? The list of Islamic world capitals is long, and includes the obvious —Riyadh, Kuwait City, Islamabad — and the not-so-obvious — Male (the Maldives), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Tashkent (Uzbekistan). Some wise-guys have even suggested Dearborn, Mich., as a possibility.
Clearly it would be cheating for Mr. Obama to fly to Detroit, talk to Dearborn’s 30,000 Arab residents and call it a day. And Male and Ouagadougou, while certainly majority Muslim, can’t really be what Mr. Obama’s aides have in mind when they talk about locales for a high-profile speech that would seek to mend rifts between the United States and the broader Muslim world.
So Burkina Faso and the Maldives are out. But that leaves a whole swath of Islamic capitals, all ready to be spruced up for Mr. Obama to make his speech. I’ve thought hard about this, and asked a few people — diplomats even — which capital Mr. Obama should pick.
The consensus, after an entire day of reporting, is Cairo.
Why Cairo? It’s a matter of elimination. I called Ziad Asali, the president of the American Task Force on Palestine, to gauge his thoughts. “Damascus would be cool, except it would look as if he was rewarding the Syrians and it’s too soon for that,” Mr. Asali said.
True. Maybe in a year, if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gets around to a land-for-peace deal with Israel. But for right now, I’m not really seeing Damascus as the spot for the big speech.
What about Ramallah, I asked Mr. Asali, thinking it would show solidarity with the Palestinians.
“I would object to that on so many levels,” he shot back, irate. “Are you forgetting that Palestinians seek Jerusalem as their capital?”
Right. And giving the speech in Jerusalem would just open up a Pandora’s box full of problems. So that’s not happening.
My colleague, David Sanger, heard me talking about it and came over to my desk. “I think he’s going to pick Jakarta,” he said. “It would be a big homecoming-type trip.”
But Jakarta’s too easy. Mr. Asali thought so too: “Jakarta? People would yawn about that.” Sure, Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country — some 177 million Muslims live there — but the very fact that Mr. Obama once lived and went to school there would make choosing it seem like cheating.
Baghdad? Definitely out-of-the-box, but it could appear to validate the Iraq war, which Mr. Obama opposed. Beirut? Too many Hezbollah members — Secret Service would flip its collective lid — and anyway, the Lebanese president has always been a Christian.
Tehran? Too soon for that. Amman? Been there, done that. Islamabad? Too dangerous. Ankara? Too safe. Plus the Turks aren’t going to be too crazy about being used for outreach to the Muslim world when they’re trying to join the European Union.
I asked a senior Turkish diplomat what he thought. He immediately started acting, well, diplomatic. “We don’t have a problem with our Islamic identity,” he said. “But our system is secular.”
Riyadh? Mr. Obama’s national security aides say no.
Kuwait City? Abu Dhabi? Doha? “I don’t think it will be in the Gulf,” one foreign policy adviser to Mr. Obama said.
See? It’s got to be Cairo. Egypt is perfect. It’s certainly Muslim enough, populous enough and relevant enough. It’s an American ally, but there are enough tensions in the relationship that the choice will feel bold. The country has plenty of democracy problems, so Mr. Obama can speak directly to the need for a better democratic model there. It has got the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist organization that has been embraced by a wide spectrum of the Islamic world, including the disenfranchised and the disaffected.
The Secret Service won’t like it one bit, but Cairo is no Islamabad. I called the Egyptian Embassy in Washington to ask officials there what they thought. Someone from Mr. Obama’s team had already mentioned the possibility, although embassy officials said Egypt has not been approached about a possible presidential trip to Cairo.
Still, Sameh Shoukry, the Egyptian ambassador, e-mailed me a statement. “Needless to say, the President of the United States is always welcome in Egypt,” it said. “Delivering such a speech from Cairo would no doubt reinforce the intended message. Cairo has long been a center of Islamic learning and scholarship, in line with Egypt’s central role in the Middle East.”
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Re: Obama to Take the Oath of Office Using His Middle Name
Originally Posted by PatriotsReign
Can you say "douchebag"?
What you do not get is that this is not a "News Posting Site". You are not allowed to just re-post news in thread after thread. If you don't believe me, keep it up and see what happens.
Hopefully you have a thing called a BRAIN. You know, the thing we use to think of comments to write that start intelligent discussions.
You're being a pain in the butt on this board and will be reported as such...try growing up for once.
You will take away my reputation points whenever I post bad news about Obama. Anyway, I want to comment on the thing that I posted later after you finish reading it because i want to give you an opportunity to read the news and see how you react to it. I guess that you can't wait to read my comment. Here it goes.
I don't care what kind of name he wants to use to swear in but it's odd when he wants to do his foreign speech in a Muslum place.
If he goes to ' Christian church', why Muslum ?
Last edited by NEPatriot; 12-12-2008 at 07:38 AM..