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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Brooksville residents start 'Hussein' chant



New York Times' Julie Bosman reports that a Brooksville couple was the force behind the "John McCain! Not Hussein!" chant at Gov. Sarah Palin's rally Saturday in New Port Richey. It's the latest crowd-pleasing chant at GOP rallies ahead of Tuesday's election. Now Brooksville residents Shirley and John Mitten are getting widespread attention in the blogosphere.

Read more below.

John Frank, Times staff writer

From the Times' Caucus blog:

After the rally in Florida ended, two of the people leading the chant explained why they did so.

“Because it rhymes,” said Shirley Mitten, 64, a volunteer at a pregnancy center and a resident of Brooksville, Fla.

She said she does not know if Mr. Obama is a Muslim. “He says he’s not, but we have no way of knowing,” Ms. Mitten said.

Her husband, John A. Mitten, 64, took credit for starting the chant. “I was trying to get it going!” he said. “I just do not want Obama to be elected.”

Mr. Mitten said he could not trust Mr. Obama because of his past association with William Ayers, the 1960s radical, and because of his relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. He also pointed out that Mr. Obama’s father was a Muslim.

The middle name Hussein, he said, added to the suspicion. “I guess Obama was named after Saddam Hussein,” he said.


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:39am]


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