On Monday, the Tennessee Republican Party dropped the H-bomb, adorning a press release with Barack Obama's middle name, Hussein, and associated him the Muslim religion by running the 2006 photograph of the candidate wearing Somali tribal clothing.
Here's the first paragraph of the release:
The Tennessee Republican Party today joins a growing chorus of Americans concerned about the future of the nation of Israel, the only stable democracy in the Middle East, if Sen. Barack Hussein Obama is elected president of the United States.
Ostensibly, the press release was written to react to Louis Farrakhan's Sunday endorsement of Obama.
A Knoxville, TN newspaper reports that the Tennessee Republican Party stands by the release in its entirety on the grounds that it "has to inform the base" of Obama's background.
An RNC spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The news media in TN is circling, though, ensuring that the story will remain alive for a while down there.
Update: Condemnation from Sen. John McCain and Sen. Lamar Alexander.
Update Part II: A "clarification" on the website now reads:
This release originally referenced a photo of Sen. Obama and incorrectly termed it to be “”Muslim” garb. It is, in fact, Somali tribal garb, hence, we have deleted the photo. Also, in order to diffuse attempts by Democrats and the Left to divert attention from the main point of this release - that Sen. Obama has surrounded himself with advisers and recieved endorsements from people who are anti-Semitic and anti-Israel - we have deleted the use of Barack Obama’s middle nam