No less an authority figure than Karl Rove has warned Republican operatives from demagoguing Barack Obama's middle name.

At a closed door meeting of GOP state executive directors in late January, Rove said the safest way to refer to Obama would be to use his honorific, "Sen. Obama."

"The context was, you're not going to stimatize this guy. You shouldn't underestimate him," one of the executive directors said. Rove said that the use of "Barack Hussein Obama" would perpetuate the notion that Republicans were bigoted and would hurt the party.

Rove also said that Republicans should refer to Hillary Clinton as "Sen. Clinton," rather than "Hillary."

Right wing figures are set to ignore Rove's advice. Rush Limbaugh used Obama's middle name more than a year ago, and Ann Coulter regularly uses the middle name, once calling him "President Hussein." So does Michael Savage, who once asked whether Obama was a "so-called friendly Muslim" or one more "radical."

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