Barack H. Obama foundation drops middle initial

MGN
Friday, March 21, 2014 - 8:10pm

The foundation dedicated to planning and building Barack Obama's presidential library dropped the 'H' from its name.

A spokeswoman for "The Barack Obama Foundation" confirmed that the name change was deliberate, in order to avoid confusion with similarly named foundations.

An internet search of the "The Barack H. Obama Foundation" -- as Obama's library foundation was known until Thursday -- brings up a charitable organization in Kenya founded in 2008 by President Obama's half-brother, Abon'go Malik Obama. That organization is named after their father.

The President's half-brother's organization already picked up the domain name barackhobamafoundation.org, leaving the President's foundation with obamapresidentialfoundation.org.

Obama's middle name, Hussein, sparked controversy in Obama's first presidential race when some opponents used it to suggest he was Muslim.

The Tennessee Republican Party referred to him as "Barack Hussein Obama" in a February 2008 release questioning the then-Illinois senator's commitment to Israel. It also included a photograph of Obama from a 2006 trip to Kenya, in which he is dressed in traditional attire.

Obama chose to use his full name at both his 2009 and 2013 presidential swearing-in ceremonies.

On Wednesday, the presidential foundation put out a request for institutions potentially interested in hosting the future library to submit a proposal relating to their qualifications.

"Our goal is to build a library of which the whole country, and hopefully the whole world, can be proud," Martin Nesbitt said in a statement. "Our vision is to create a space that reflects President Obama's values and priorities throughout his career in public service and serves as force for good in the surrounding community and throughout our world."

Nesbitt, one of three founding board members, is a friend of the President who worked on his two campaigns for the White House. He announced the formation of the organization in January along with longtime Obama supporters Kevin Poorman and Julianna Smoot.

The foundation is expected to make a decision on the location of the future presidential library early next year.

Obama's home city of Chicago is seen as the frontrunner, but cities in Hawaii, where he was born, and on the east coast, where he attended school, are also vying to host the site.

The library will likely cost north of $100 million, based on the costs of past presidents' libraries. The money comes from donations, and the foundation says it will disclose all contributions over $200 on a quarterly basis.

-- CNN's Ashley Killough and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.
 

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