A chain e-mail that originates with a letter from American missionaries working in Kenya warns about Sen. Barack Obama's ties to Kenya and its opposition party, encouraging readers "not to be taken in by those that are promoting him."
Among the many allegations is one about Obama's name: "By the way. His true name is Barak Hussein Muhammed Obama. Won't that sound sweet to our enemies as they swear him in on the Koran! God bless you."
The e-mail reads like a bad game of "telephone," its claims drawn from assorted people and sources that have been stitched together. And yet, because it is signed by real people, who have a life in Africa, it somehow carries more credence than your average blog posting — and it's spreading rapidly. ( Read the e-mail here. )
Let's be clear: The senator from Illinois who is running for president of the United States is named Barack Hussein Obama Jr. His campaign has insisted that is his full name (no Muhammad). We've checked this before and found it to be blatantly wrong. But since the rumor persists, we decided to dig deeper.
We have now searched every public record we can access and find nothing to support the notion that Obama has a second middle name of "Muhammed" or "Mohammed." Only in the ether of chain e-mails does this allegation fly.
We have a copy of Obama's marriage certificate from the Cook County Bureau of Vital Statistics in Illinois. Barack H. Obama married Michelle L. Robinson on Oct. 3, 1992, in Chicago. (And, yes, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. officiated.)
We looked at Obama's driver's license record in the state of Illinois, and the name reads: Barack H Obama. (Senator, just a reminder that your license is up for renewal this year).
We searched property records for Obama and found listings under the names Barack Hussein Obama and Barack H Obama.
We also found Obama's registration and disciplinary record with the Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois. ( You can see it here. ) Barack Hussein Obama was admitted as a lawyer by the Illinois Supreme Court on Dec. 17, 1991. (By the way, Obama has no public record of discipline.)
We tried to obtain a copy of Obama's birth certificate, but his campaign would not release it and the state of Hawaii does not make such records public. (UPDATE: On June 12, 2008, the Obama campaign e-mailed to PolitiFact a copy of the senator's birth certificate. It confirms our findings. See it for yourself here.)
Loren Davis, whose wife Celeste wrote the e-mail, says he can't substantiate the claim.
"That was what we heard there (in Kenya)," Davis said in an interview with PolitiFact. He says they've lived and worked in Kenya for the past 12 years and this was a personal letter "never intended to be forwarded or sent out to the Web."
Regardless, it's time to ground this charge once and for all. His name is Barack Hussein Obama. There is simply no evidence anywhere to support the allegation that his name is something else. We're going to rule the way we have before. Pants on Fire!