Mo Rocca On Obama's Name Problem

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., right, listens to New York Times columnist Bob Herbert while participating in a forum held to discuss his new book, "The Audacity of Hope," at the John F. Kennedy Library, in Boston, Oct. 20, 2006. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) AP Photo

Barack Obama is exciting people in a way Democrats have not been able to do in a long time, but Sunday Morning commentator Mo Rocca said he may have trouble getting support simply because of his name.

Never mind Barack Obama's color. The real challenge will be getting Americans to vote for a guy whose name is Barack Obama. It's just so foreign sounding. Strange, maybe even dangerous. Ted Kennedy already slipped up and last year called the golden boy/junior Senator from Illinois "Osama." And they're in the same party!

The first name isn't the problem. We've had Rutherford, we've had Grover, we've had the suspiciously-Muslim-sounding Abraham.

Besides he can always just go with the first initial followed by the middle name, like former FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover. That would make him B. Hussein Obama. Hussein's his middle name?! He'd be better off with Milhouse. Or maybe he should just go with J. Edgar Hoover.

But I digress. The last name, Obama, is the tough part. It's not Adams or Coolidge. It's not even an anagram for anything remotely WASP-y sounding. Amoab? Too many vowels.

Yes, some of this would be mitigated if he were Caucasian, even Irish-Catholic. But would candidate Barack O'Bama have a much easier shot? Nope.

And yet the name presents such possibility. There's just so much you can do with it. A gathering of Obama lovers becomes an Obamarama.

A triumph at the New Hampshire primary? Obamatastic.

Mothers for Obama? Obama-mamas.

Star Wars fans will naturally call him Obama-Wan Kenobi.

And followers of Emeril Lagasse who plan on voting for the Senator will be shouting "o-BAM-a!" (an example of what your English teacher might call Obamatapoeia).

The mantra of his doo-wop supporters? I've got a candidate named Obamalamadingdong!

Of course not everyone is an Obamaniac, marching behind their leader like some Obamaton. Certain Democrats even are probably downright scared. Just call it Obamaphobia.
  • Caitlin Johnson

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