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. Get Real, El Paso, Texas

    With al lthe politicians secretly coming out the closet with gay solicitations, and all the soldiers losing their lives on foreign soil you writing a story about a man wearing a pendant! Please leave this man alone and focus on what really matters.

    October 5, 2007 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. James, Columbia MD

    What a joke, is this guy seriously running for the presidency? I am glad I am no longer in the military because I would be ashamed to put my life on the line for this guy.

    October 5, 2007 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  3. Observer

    Obama Rocks !

    October 5, 2007 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  4. r schier norwalk,ct

    "How can a man that has Islam as his religion can lead a Pro-Christian country such as the United States?"
    Posted By C C Richard, Rock Hill, SC

    CC RICHARD – PLEEEEASE give me a well
    deserved break from this drivel...firstly Obaba is not muslim (not that it should matter anyways)
    secondly....religion should be ENTIRELY
    separate from governmet,
    and last and perhaps most importantly,
    this country has been hijacked as a
    subservient to Israeli policy and desires....wake up and keep your
    religion at home !

    October 5, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. Oscar, Rio Vista

    After reading these comments I now understand why we have a bird-brain in the White House. Why this info about Obama ever came news in the forst place I'll never know.... perhaps if the reporters concentrated on more important things this country wouldn't be in such shambles. There is so much corruption going on but let's report on a missing lapel pin. great job CNN. And what does religion have to do about it. Obama is not a Muslim, and he is not an Arab. He is a very intelligent man who wants the best for America.......... what is wrong with that?

    October 5, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. Dr. William Richard Pabst Cathey, Attorney at Law, Managua, Nicaragua

    Obiously Mr.Obama holds closely held and serious resentments against the USA. I just wonder what flag, if any, he would be willing to demonstrate his loyalty to. Perhaps his antagonism is so great he could not in good conscience take the oath of office for any governmental or political position.

    October 5, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  7. Judy Minteer, Denver, Colorado

    Maybe he is not the true american that people think he is. One more reason why I will not vote for him.

    October 5, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  8. Matthew, Arlington, VA

    A few points:

    Barack Obama is an American, born in Hawaii. So any comments referring to his "true country" or insinuations that he is not American are just silly.

    He has Muslim heritage, yes. But he is a Christian.

    Rep. Keith Ellison (VA) was the congressman who swore his oath of office on the Quran, not Barack Obama.

    And most importantly, if you truly believe in the foundations of America and purport yourself to be a patriot, then you really should read the Constitution some time:

    "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."
    - Article VI, Constitution of the United States

    October 5, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Steve Elliott


    That is one very lame explanation for why you won't wear an American flag pin.

    Let those who wear it for show do so, but let the real patriots also wear it.

    October 5, 2007 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  10. Mark Shapiro, Los Angeles, CA

    You're just now noticing?

    October 5, 2007 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  11. Justin, Lexington, Kentucky

    Next big headline from CNN:

    Obama Goofs: Campaigns in Mismatched Socks

    I realize there are some trolls in the comments, but some of the people here are so off base it is startling. The last thing I want from our leader is someone so cynical, so calculating that they believe they can deceive Americans by attaching a cheap metal pin to their jacket. Obama is actually making a rather poignant point. Constant display of the flag for political gain is not patriotism. It is pandering of the worst order. It cheapens and degrades not only the symbol of our country, but also patriotism in general. If you judge your candidate by the amount of "flare" (yes, Office Space reference) they have on then you seriously need to reconsider what is important in life.

    October 5, 2007 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  12. John

    Please do not tell me all the smart Americans dies in the towers. In America you guys do not have democracy, as we all know how Bush came into power. Your counrty is a plutocracy, the rich run America. Barack is a true leader, I do not think Americans have to nutts to back him. Down America goes just like Rome.

    October 5, 2007 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  13. Tom White, Flagstaff AZ

    This is why I believe in Obama.

    October 5, 2007 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  14. Rex, Toledo, Ohio

    Whew, these comments from the far right are nuts! A lapel pin can cause you this much stress and disdain? You need to seek professional help, and refrain from voting. Now go pop the top on a pbr and tell your buddies all about the "nasty black man" (I'm sure you have another way of putting it)that has the nerve to run for president and not where a lapel pin like your Uncle George. You know what? I'd do anything in my power to separate myself from the criminals currently in office.
    Remember, our collective patriotism is what Bushco used to invade Iraq. Lapel pin be damned. Where a pair of Crocs and a T-shirt, and turn this Country around.

    October 5, 2007 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  15. Tom, Rockport Maine

    It's time for liberals to reclaim the American flag.The truth is that,since 911, the act of displaying an American flag does not simply represent pride in America– it represents an endorsement of Republican policies. If I flew an American flag in front of my house, my neighbors would all take that to mean that I support the war in Iraq, that I want tighter immigration policies, that I am anti-choice, and that I am against gay marriage. Sad that this is what the flag has now come to represent, but it's true.

    While I don't think that Obama should be judged unpatriotic for refusing to wear a flag lapel,I do think he could send a stronger message by actively working to change what we see in our national emblem: inclusion rather than imperialism, freedom rather than fear.

    October 5, 2007 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  16. Carol, MD

    ~~~What's wrong with a little sincerity over jingoism? This is nothing more than a case of mock shock.~~~

    October 5, 2007 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  17. melissa seattle wa

    who cares about a pin? Isn't one of the most patriotic things you can do participate in the government of you country actively?!

    October 5, 2007 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  18. Tina, Napa California

    I find it very interesting that Mr Obama is uncomfortable wearing a symbol that represents the country he is hoping to lead. I geuss that makes me a conservative. I have our Flag hanging at my house-I'm proud to be an American. I will not vote for this man.

    October 5, 2007 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  19. Rockefeller Q. Einstein

    I feel ashamed that I even read a third of the comments I did. the only thing dumber than the article was the people commenting on it. Forcing people to wear patriotic symbols IS FASCIST. end of conversation, game over, we're done. If he wants to wear it or not, his business. doesn't change he spent his whole life serving this country. Like Bill Hicks said, let's get off this boot rally mentality and use our brains, people.

    and if OUR country includes people like lynn and angela from whereever, I'm thinking there might be more to this moving to a tropical island thing than I thought before.

    October 5, 2007 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  20. E New York

    When I read some of these comments
    I am so fearful for my country." Its only a pin". "Its piece of cloth". Love all people even though they hate us and love us when they need help. Love of country thats what this should
    represent. When I see what goes on in other countries I thank God for my country. Remember in other countries you could not say the comments I have read today. I will not vote for someone that calls the wearing of the American Flag just a pin.

    October 5, 2007 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  21. Margaret, Oklahoma City, Ok

    Your attitude toward wearing the american flag pin was the discussion at our breakfast club this morning. In a vote, 17 said they favored you as their candidate. after the discussion, NONE would admit to vote for you, including myself. shame, shame and you want to be my President.

    October 5, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  22. Bryan Birmingham, AL

    You have presidential candidates who refuse to wear American flag pins and people who fly the Mexican flag above the American flag (while here in the US). I'd have to say that respect for the Red, White and Blue is going the way of the buffalo.

    October 5, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  23. Jim, Washington DC

    Yeah, I agree with the others who commented that CNN is stupid and trivial.

    Just like in the 2000 campaign, when the media incl. CNN focused on "sighing" and which candidate would be "fun" to have a beer with, are they going to trivialize the serious decision in 2008?

    Nobody is laughing now about the 2000 fiasco, especially with close to 4000 dead soldiers. Not so "fun" anymore, is it?

    CNN: Grow up.

    October 5, 2007 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  24. Ryan Indianapolis

    You are exactly who we thought you were.....Wow this guy has alot of nerve

    October 5, 2007 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  25. Pete, Washington

    OK, let's start with Bush and Cheney, all of you out there, can you tell me FOR SURE which Senators or other presidential candidates actually do wear the flag Pin? Hillary does not.
    Do YOU wear the flag pin? Since I don't, and others don't, does that make us less than REAL Americans? Nobody questioned our patriotism when we came back from Viet Nam, on second thought, yes they did. My son-in-law is a Gulf War Vet, and he does not wear a flag pin either. Would it make you feel more PATRIOTIC if you told me that we must wear flag pins to 'prove' our patriotism to you?... WHO are you anyway, the Patroit Police? We proudly fly our American Flag in our front yard and in our hearts.
    And, YES, our family is supporting and voting for Barack Obama, as are most of my neighbors.

    Unity, Leadership and Integrity...Obama'08

    October 5, 2007 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
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