PFP staff writer
Illinois Senator Barack Obama, one of the frontrunners for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, has announced that, effective February 1, he will be legally changing his name.
The Honolulu-born Obama, whose full name is Barack Hussein Obama al-Honoluluani, will soon be known as Barry Hawkins.
“I have decided that as I run for the highest office in America, it is imperative for me to have a name that sounds more American and less Muslim,” Obama said in a brief statement.
Obama, whose father was Kenyan and who is reported to have practiced Islam in his younger days, is not the first candidate to make a name change. The other Democratic frontrunner, New York Senator Hillary Clinton, has at times gone by Hillary Rodham Clinton. New Mexico governor and former Democratic contender Bill Richardson, whose mother is Hispanic and who grew up in Mexico City, reportedly experimented with being known as Guillermo Richardson López-Collada Márquez.
Obama brushed off accusations that his name change is a gimmick.
“It’s about convenience,” he explained. “Eugene Orowitz became Michael Landon. Joe Yule, Jr. became Mickey Rooney. Lucille LeSueur became Joan Crawford. Lawrence Harvey Zeiger became Larry King. Cheryl Sarkisian LaPiere became Cher. I mean, what is the big deal?”
Barry Hawkins just has a nice ring to it, Obama said.