Psst. What's Bob Kerrey's middle name?

Bob Kerrey, who called Bill Clinton unelectable when they were both running for president in 1992, endorsed Hillary Clinton Sunday. Later, he said of Barack Obama:

"The fact that he's African American is a big deal. I do expect and hope that Hillary is the nominee of the party. But I hope he's used in some way. If he happens to be the nominee of the party and ends up being president, I think his capacity to influence in a positive way without spending a penny the behavior of a lot of underperforming black youth today is very important, and he's the only one who can reach them."

Kerrey continued, "It's probably not something that appeals to him, but I like the fact that his name is Barack Hussein Obama, and that his father was a Muslim and that his paternal grandmother is a Muslim. There's a billion people on the planet that are Muslims and I think that experience is a big deal." He added, "He's got a whale of a lot more intellectual talent than I've got as well."

Much speculation ensued about whether this was praise or more not-so-subliminal negative campaigning. For what it's worth, Kerrey gave an interview seven months ago in which he was similarly interested in Obama's name and personal history. At the time, Kerrey told the New York Observer that "Obama's foreign-language skills, connection to Muslim countries and personal background uniquely qualify him to send the message that 'we are not your worst enemy, unless you make us so. And then we're your worst enemy.' "

UPDATE: The Observer also traced the interesting arc of the Kerrey-Clinton relationship, including Kerrey's 1992 prediction that the Republicans would open Bill Clinton up "like a soft peanut" and the never-confirmed suspicion that Hillary Clinton vetoed the idea of Kerrey being Bill Clinton's running mate that year.