October 5th, 2007
02:28 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama no longer wears flag pin

Sen. Barack Obama campaigned in Iowa Wednesday without the familiar lapel pin many members of Congress have worn since September 11, 2001.

(CNN) – An astute reporter for CNN affiliate KCRG-TV noticed there was something missing from Sen. Barack Obama’s wardrobe. He wasn’t wearing the common American flag lapel pin, a fashion fixture in post-9/11 politics used to display patriotism following the attacks.

"I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest,” the Democratic presidential candidate told the reporter Tuesday in Iowa City, Iowa. “Instead, I'm going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great. Hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism."

Obama touched upon the exchange again Wednesday at a speech in Independence, Iowa.

"I haven't worn that pin in probably a very long time. I wore it right after 9/11. But after a while, you start noticing people wearing the lapel pin but not acting very patriotic,” he said. “My attitude is that I'm less concerned with what you're wearing on you lapel than what's in your heart. You show your patriotism by how you treat your fellow Americans, especially those ones who serve."

Obama has been campaigning throughout Eastern Iowa since Monday.

–CNN Political Desk Editor Mark Norman

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Iowa
soundoff (412 Responses)
  1. María Soledad (Marisol) Cervantes Ramirez, Mexico City, Mexico

    As a Mexican who knows how strongly wrong U.S.-leaders' policies have affected nations in our Continent (which is the true AMERICA), if I could I would vote for Obama right away. U.S. Presidential elections should be open to voters from all the world, given how hypnotized by the corporate/government right is your population.
    Of course I hope Obama wins the hearts and the patriotism of all decent and honest USAmericans and they vote for him, whatever his color may be!

    October 5, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  2. Justin, Lexington, Kentucky

    Flaunting your patriotism with a pin is equivalent to flaunting your wealth with a hummer. It just demonstrates how shallow you are.

    CNN should try covering the news.

    October 5, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  3. Ralph, Miami Florida

    Only people with an obtuse mind will make an issue out of this. To everyone that is criticizing the guy in order to show their patriotism or faith, perhaps they should start wearing outfits like Uncle Sam, with a bible inside their pockets. If wearing a Chinese pin with our flag painted on it is going to make you more American or a patriotic then so be it. It is part of our Freedom. If you don’t like the guy don’t vote for him. Vote for someone else.

    October 5, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  4. Cheryl from Canada

    Obama is bang on the money. There is nothing as sickening as watching 'sheep' in action. They wear the pins, they fly the flag, beat the tar (figuratively) our of anyone who opposes the war claiming they don't 'support the troops' The proof is always in someone's actions...AND if whether someone votes based on pin wearing or no pin wearing....then perhaps there should be a manidtory IQ test before voting begins.

    October 5, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. Doug, Exeter, NH

    First, I'd love to know what the point is of this "news" article. Imagine how much less yellow journalism there would be if the writers had to explain the point of what they are writing.

    Second, this election is really going to bring out how divided and disgruntled and lots of other words that begin with 'd' this country is after 8 years of the worst president in history. We've been brought to the brink of h*ll in a handbasket by this administration and we're ready to assume the next one is going to be just as bad. Meanwhile, the media will keep focusing on the drama instead of the issues.

    I'm voting for the candidate that's going to get us back together and get us back on track if there is one and/or if I'll ever hear about it. I could really care less what they are wearing. How about, what they are thinking and doing!

    Oh yeah, that won't sell popup ads, will it?

    October 5, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  6. Mark, Dexter MI

    I honestly believe most of America won't buy into this non-story smokescreen. If you weren't voting for Obama because of his issues, that's fine, you can at least subtantiate your position (and probably your education) better than "git er dun!" And I hope educated people do make the choice of whoever becomes the president in '08. I'd hate to see yokel voter turnout dominating the scene again.

    It is a shame people like Kucinich or Richardson are not getting media time like this non-story is.

    If you buy into stories (or non-stories) like this, and probably very likely worship Ann Coulter, then the democratic process allows you to go ahead and decimate all the principles this nation was founded upon just so you yokels can turn this into New Iran. So yeah, if this story was a make or break for your choice to not vote for Obama, you should buy yourself a 1 way ticket to China or Iran, please, as that mentality belongs in those countries.

    October 5, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  7. D.S.F., Courtenay, BC

    I understand his point and agree, but removing the flag of the nation you want to rule in ANY obvious and public way will be seen, by many, as unpatriotic and insensitive. Bad political move, my friend. And you have unwittingly scored a point for Hillary: she doesnt wear one so, according to your sentiments, she IS what you aspire to be seen as: someone who doesnt jump on bandwagons for political gain.

    October 5, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  8. brenda wilmington nc

    "You show your patriotism by how you treat your fellow Americans, especially those ones who serve". Dear Lord, please don't allow another person run our country – one that can not articulate a simple sentence. The ones who serve – sounds a bit better to me – but tells me a little something about the gentleman talking. Also, as far as his rationale for not wearing a pin – unless your mouth is always open, it does show what you stand for without a word spoken. Public figures are expected to do certain things that they do not care for. Putting pin holes in beautiful jacket lapels might be the least of them. Are you really ready to do what it takes, Obama?

    October 5, 2007 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  9. Just a concerned person in IN

    Ok on Obama not wearing a flag well I think thats a bunch of bull. He is wanting to be president then he should wear it to show respect to the soliders who are fighting there and to the ones who lost their lives. I think that he is being disrespectful to all of them. I have watched and listened and most people in politics tell you what you want to hear or else there is always an excuse. Come on people wake up Congress is taking GOD out of our court systems and politics which I think is very very wrong, and now is this a stretch to take the flag out next. Whats going to be the next thing after that the declaration of Independence? I am just one person with an opinion but to get this county back on track they need God brought back in and alot of the hipiocrites in Congress to be let go.

    October 5, 2007 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. Matt D, Kansas City, MO

    I'll say it for all of you who think it. Hopefully CNN won't censor it. I don't want a Muslim as the President of these United States. Don't buy into or try and sell this idea he is a Christian. He was educated by the very people that blow themselves up every day as a way to further their "cause" and kill innocent people. Whoever we select in '08 – Let's vote American!

    October 5, 2007 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  11. Mark Cianchetta, Lansdale, Pa.

    I,as a veteran, take offense to Sen Barrack Obama's refusal to wear the lapel pin. While, yes I agree, that you show your patriotism by what is in your heart, it does not take but a minute to attach a pin to your lapel to show that you are thinking about this country and those who serve, to show your patriotism, as well, as feel it.

    October 5, 2007 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  12. Richard May

    People are dumb. If you read the Boy Scout USA manual on the treatment of the flag, and flag etiquette, it states quite clearly, "• Contrary to what is seen in daily life the flag should never be worn as a display or adornment on a T-shirt or other piece of clothing. Adding wording with the flag display (no matter how patriotic) is not proper."

    Obama is showing more respect to the flag and the country by not wearing a stupid pin (probably made in China), then all the flag wearing politicians combined.

    It's time we elect a true patriot instead of a coorporate greed bag who will continue to ruin this once great country.

    October 5, 2007 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  13. C C Richard, Rock Hill, SC

    The statement that Obama used is ridiculus. From what he said has nothing to do with a person not using a pen. TO me that is an excuse of a man that really don't hold american values at heart. And to be honest, i beleive that Mr Obama has some Great Ideas and strategies for the presidency but, I cannot see him leading "Christian" America. From my research. His Religion is "Islam" I just have one question for him? How can a man that has Islam as his religion can lead a Pro-Christian country such as the United States?

    What he believes in undermines the Christian beliefs and the Values that most Americans hold.Islam believes believe that un-Islamic people are Infidels and they teach if they cannot convert Christians or Zionist to Islam then it’s a service to allah to kill us or Jihad (holy war) against us. So how can we even consider him has president? If he becomes president do you think that he will send American troops to Annialate his people? Islam (Fundemantal, Radical,Orthodox, ECT) May be a little different but, i do know that Basic Islam Teaches that ANYONE WHO DOES NOT SUBMITT TO ALLAH IS AN INFEDEL. So how can he lead infidel America?

    October 5, 2007 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  14. Julie

    I challenge all of you reading these blogs to take a bold move and ignore what the candidates are saying, as it won't hold up once in office anyway.. how many people do you think would vote for GWB if he was running today.. yet he won the election and WE put him there.. so first let's all go out and vote.. second, instead of waiting for the government to fix something or to take care of us, etc.. let's get off our derrieres and do something!! If you are worried about health care.. and not being able to afford it or medications when we are older, get up and exercise, change your diet, eat less, eat healther, exercise..

    If you are worried about health care for your kids.. don't wait for the gov't and your fellow tax payers who might not even have kids, get a better job!! Start your own business to supplement your income.. further your education to increase your income!! Don't have children you can't afford or if you are in a bad relationship!! Birth control is free!!

    If you are worried about immigration, don't patronize businesses that hire illegal aliens, report companies that hire illegal aliens, we all know who they are !!!! This is a tremendous drain on our system, fills our already overcrowded schools, and so on.. these countries have to fix themselves, and they never will as long as everyone thinks the solution is to come to the US illegally.. we have our own problems..

    If you are worried about the war... decrease fuel consumption!!! Give up your SUV's , Humvees, and all the other vehicles that are not necessary and are not even good looking.. you don't even see these in Europe and South America.. buy hybrids, take public transportation, carpool, move to the city where public transportation, gyms, grocery stores, doctors, etc.. are accesible.. reducing fuel consumption is the only way to put a stop to this war and terrorism..

    If you are worried about the environment... than recycle, eat more locally grown food, take public transportation, ask your employer about teleworking.. it will give you more time with your family, and take away the headaches of commuting.. or find a job close to home!!

    Worried about SS?? Plan better, save more in your 401K, spend less, live simpler, start a home business to supplement your income.. do something!!

    I challenge you all.. there are many things we can do.. but waiting for the government to do these things and take care of us is not an option..

    October 5, 2007 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  15. Robert M. Reidy N.Y.

    Are you a supporter of this administrations policies?

    Or not?

    Do you believe that right is might and survival of the fittest?

    Or not?

    Is not the American tribe superior to all other tribes?

    Or not?

    Are you not engaged in the culture war
    that pits the fundamentalist state religion upon the world and believe in
    the final war when God comes to destroy all of non-believing humanity in the middle east?

    Do you not where the flag?

    Do you! Do you!

    Sieg Hiel !!! Sieg Heil

    October 5, 2007 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  16. Bernadette, Tulsa Ok.

    Excuse me for not noticing Barack Obama's lapel. I suppose I was too busy listening to his hopes and plans for this country. Maybe if more people paid attention to the issues and needs of America, people like George Bush would not be elected, I mean selected,to lead us. Lapel pin or not, Barack Obama has my full support.

    October 5, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. Anne, Chicago, IL

    why is this even a headline? I find it odd that cnn called this out while showcasing an article about john edwards directly underneath with a pciture that clearly shows he is also not wearing a flag pin. Right on Barack. You don't need to wear a flag pin to show your patriotism. It is an ideal, a mindset. Barack and all the other politicians are fine without it. must have been a slow news day.

    October 5, 2007 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  18. Sofia

    Thank God for a candidate who doesn't hide behind a mask of patriotism and finally decided to BE patriotic!

    October 5, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  19. donna

    An "ASTUTE" reporter? PROPAGANDIST is the appropriate term for this individual, because that is the way this non-story is being used. Typical of CNN to deflect attention from important issues.

    October 5, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  20. Tony B., Boston, MA

    Americans need to stop being afraid of being Americans. Prior to 9/11, a company I worked for banned my wearing of an American Flag lapel pin. They said it was making a political statement that some might find offensive. Since when is being an American offensive?? It's ironic that the people that told me I couldn't wear the pin were wearing their shiny new pins on Sept 12th.

    I'm an American, I'm proud of it. I'm proud that my ancestors fought in the American Revolution.

    Any politician that tries to justify not wearing the pin is not fit to be President of the United States. If they can't be proud of the USA while in America, how will they expect respect throughout the world.

    Stop being ashamed. Be Proud. God Bless America!!

    October 5, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  21. Sue, Granville OH

    Good for you, Obama! Really...what have we come to if we really care if a politician wears a tiny, cheap metal flag on their chest? Let's start talking about the issues...

    October 5, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  22. m T WI

    Good for you Obama, you took off the made in communist china symbol of modern american fascism! Now cut your ties to the america-destroying, north american union building, one world government groups like the CFR!

    October 5, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  23. Julian Evans, Ross, CA

    I truly fear for the welfare of this country if Obama becomes president. I think the people of this country are looking for someone so drastically different then Bush that they will make a grave mistake voting him into office. I believe he could be a danger to our safety and economy if he is voted into office. Not wearing the American flag pin is his first step in showing potentially where he wants to lead this country.

    October 5, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  24. Robert, California

    I think wearing the pin also symbolizes that you support the Flag and what it stands for. If your not partriotic enough to wear the Flag on your chest, then your not patriotic enough to run this country.

    October 5, 2007 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  25. Austin, Greenville, SC

    [Posted By Don DeLand Florida : October 5, 2007 12:48 pm ]
    It concerns me that people are considering a person who aligns with the very triranny we are defending our nation. A Religion that would like to desimate America


    To which religion are you referring?

    In what way has Obama aligned himself with "the very tyranny we are defending our nation"?

    October 5, 2007 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
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