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. Tom, Macon, GA

    If you folks don't stand proud behind our flag, you can leave, we won't miss you.

    October 5, 2007 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  2. Nathan, New York

    This entire charade – that Obama's choice not to wear a pin is newsworthy, the racist, simpleminded comments accusing him of allying with terrorists, etc – reveals so much more about some of the fringe lunatics in this country than it does about Obama.
    I suppose the illegal invasion of Iraq, denying children health care, allowing torture and illegal wiretapping, leaving the residents of New Orleans to fend for themselves and calling Purple Heart recipients "phony soldiers" is patriotic.

    October 5, 2007 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  3. A Kansas Vet, Kansas

    While, I thought to my self that's a stupid thing to do when I read the lead, "Obama no longer wears flag pin", I must now say, that is not a dumb thing to do.

    Wearing the pin is something that just about everybody does, but it does not make you a patriot.

    We have to many individuals in office today, that hide behind the flag and proclaim I wave the flag, see my pin, therefore I am a patriot, when in truth the vast majority are not, they are power hungry, hypocrites, that will say and do any thing to get re-elected.

    I have proven my love of country through service and duty, I have been called unpatriotic by flag pin wearing indivduals that have never served this nation in any manner what so ever, because I deeply believe in the Consitution and the Bill of Rights.

    Perhaps it is time to show love of country rather than claim it on your lapel.

    October 5, 2007 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. Obama lost it, Rochester, MN

    I just visited the Obama site and I noticed the three main clours are White, Red & Blue. Which makes me wanna ask: Mr Obama if the flag means little or nothing to you (just what's in the heart) then why not put down those three colours and replace say with Golden brown, Purple and bright yellow (those are cool ones) and finally, I found a reason why I shouldn't tell my girlfriend I love her verbally (it's in my heart young lady and please judge me by my actions because many boys profess love but show none!) Now I need no longer wonder why my ex- left me lurching in the cold on Vals nite.

    October 5, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  5. Amanda, Chicago IL

    I just want to clear up that Obama is not Muslim. Unlike most people who were easily born into Christianity, he searched and found it later in life. I think that speaks louder than the coincidence of just being born into something.

    Now that that's cleared up, I want to ask why religion matters? You don't have to be Christian and white to be a patriotic American. That's not what America is about. America was founded on the basis of religious freedom. It used to be applauded for being a "melting pot" of all types of people.

    So, even if he WERE a Muslim, so what? THAT is what makes America great. It's a place where all people have equal opportunity. I can't stand that we pretend to be so accepting when, in reality, we only accept those who look and think like us.

    Let's put our differences aside, stop calling each other names, stop making being so petty.

    October 5, 2007 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. Publius

    what bothers me is the expectation, nay, almost social rule that an american politition is supposed to wear "the pin". The Nazis wore a pin too you know. what ever happened to mind your own lapel and leave mine out of it?

    October 5, 2007 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  7. S.M

    Ok! This is really ridiculous how some reporters make a mountain out of a mole hill. No other candidate wears the American Flag pin, so why is Obama being targeted? Just because someone wears or carries the American flag doesn't make them patriotic. This reporter has nothing else better to do with her time than to ask such stupid questions? In my own opinion there are those Americans who seem to care more about their patriotism than the real issues at hand. Patriotism doesn't have anything to do with a child going without healthcare, a fair education, or food in their stomach. It has nothing to do with a parent(s) who have lost their job and are worried about how their going to provide for their family, the war in Iraq, children being murdered by a gun, and the elderly who have to decide whether to buy their medicine or pay their rent. It all boils down to one thing! Are we caring for the less fortunate? You can't eat the American flag, nor can it replace the medicine a child or adult needs to take or provide a good education or health care. Let us as Americans focus on the real issues at hand and stop focusing too much on patriotism or telling another country how to clean up their own backyard, when we can't even clean up our own.

    October 5, 2007 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  8. Lindy, Wilmington, MA

    How embarrasing, a Democrat that won't wear the American Flag. He just lost my vote in the Primary election, shame on him.

    October 5, 2007 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |

    im glad this pin is a good platform for his campaign.

    maybe cnn should stop reporting on needless clothing accessory remarks and more on the issues.

    is this cnn or people.com?

    October 5, 2007 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  10. m T WI

    Oh no! Obama stopped wearing the pin that violates U.S. Flag codes and hurts Communist China's U.S. flag manufacturing economy! People died so that flag could be imported from China!

    October 5, 2007 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  11. Reggie, Columbia, Md

    The fact that anyone would be offended by this is really beyond me. I understand some people do no like Obama, but using a pin to dictate a man's patriotism is just . . . . stupid. How does not wearing a pin keep you from being a patriot? For some reason people think that if you dont' do what is "the norm" then you can't be a patriot. The fact that he is serving in public office as a senator for his state proves his patriotism. I'm not sure how the negative people that are on here working for McDonalds can say the same thing . . .

    October 5, 2007 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  12. DCBellosi

    It is amazing to me that there are so many people that are "ashamed" to be American. Maybe we need to realize all the great things we have done for the world and weigh the good and bad. The reality is he could wear the pin and act patrioticly. He is no different than the rest of the politicians.

    As I am in DC today, I pass the Jefferson Memorial and think of the "revolutions" he said we need on a regular basis and I wonder why no is up in arms about how the establishment has made it so hard to run for office to create that revolution...Crazy, but in reality I don't think America thinks there are problems at home other than getting something for nothing like healthcare. In reality, the problems stem from a lack of self responsibility that was perpetuated by the Govt. in the permanent programs put in place at the turn of the 20th cent. Fire one of every 7 gov employees and demand results from the ones employed and put term limits on the congress. Then there will be results

    October 5, 2007 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. John B

    James in MD...Are you so simple minded that you would vote for anybody that wears a pin?
    Then it looks like your options are limited. No candidate shown on the ticker is wearing the pin. CNN must be racist. They only report that Obama doesnt wear the pin when as reported by ABC, nobody else is either. Are you racist James in MD? Did you cheer when the Cost Guard cadtes displyed those nooses the other day?

    October 5, 2007 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. John, Kansas City, MO

    Office Space anybody? If they want us to wear the flair (pin) then why don't they make it mandatory?

    October 5, 2007 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  15. Wolfgang Kaml, San Luis Obispo, CA

    I fully agree Sen. Obama's comment about his reasoning not wearing the American flag lapel pin. Too many things in this country unfortunately are greatly abused, and so is the American flag, or the phrase: "God bless America". People speaking the word "God" out loudly or wearing the American flag lapel pin should rather think about what it truly means to be an American and to stand up for what America is all about. People who blindly agreed to war and the poor decisions our president made, or just put the American flag lapel pin on their chest should really think hard about freedom, people’s rights, and people's obligations that come with it. I am speaking out loud and positive about America when I am traveling to Europe and try to convince many friends that America is more about blindly starting wars although you may have though of an argument to make. Real Americans will support of what America stands for by caring for each other, by helping out neighbors, by educating people, by including black and white, citizens and foreigners in a hopefully global effort to eliminate negative thoughts and any actions that lead up to violent actions here and abroad alike to achieve freedom and peace. I can care less for bumper stickers and pins.

    October 5, 2007 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  16. Henry Quintero, Albertville, AL

    Patriotism comes in mind and heart.. NOT in the pin, tie or desk you wear or sit! America is made out of believing and freedom! Believe that you can do better and free to say it! Our next President should do just that! Regarless of the opposition, congress or public oppinion! Always trying to do their best for the people they believed in.....

    October 5, 2007 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  17. George Schmitz St Louis, MO

    Every Friday I wear a red shirt and a American flag pin. I am not a politician. It is a sign of support for OUR troops period. Not for, not against the war only support for our troops. Once again politicians miss the real reason.

    October 5, 2007 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  18. Bill Jacobs Olney, MD



    If he has a reason, I don't think he has a religion against it or anything. What is this weird spin CNN is putting on a simple wardrobe choice?

    I expect this from O'Reilly maybe...

    October 5, 2007 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  19. Dana, New London CT

    I read this article. As a member of the armed forces. He is dead on his take on patriotism. A pin does not show you patriotism but you actions do. A man of action that is what counts.

    October 5, 2007 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  20. PAC Worcester,MA.

    I can't believe this guy. He lacks any kind of common sense .To wear the pin is to honor not only our country but all those who serve. For a Presidential candidate not to wear the pin to me dishonors those who have died and served in the armed forces- no matter what their political beliefs are on the war. He continues to show poor judgement . We don't need another George Bush in office.

    October 5, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  21. Bee

    In response to Catherine Saint Paul Mn :

    I like the military but i am not going to wear this damm pin made in china.

    For the first time a true politician is speaking the truth and we're all running our mouth.

    Obama, for speaking the truth, you've won my vote. Shame on the right wing addict who have turned this country upside down.

    October 5, 2007 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  22. British Columbia

    According to news articles, Rudi Guliani is the only person running who wears the pin...why isn't that included...all those Hillary supporters...she doesn't wear a pin...I bet she will now...such constant pettiness....no wonder the US is in such a mess!!

    October 5, 2007 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. Daniel, NY

    This is not that big a deal at all. It shows Obama is not afraid to say what he thinks in solid ways, and this will not hurt him. More analysis at Campaign Diaries.com

    October 5, 2007 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  24. Mike, Lafayette, Indiana

    America better wake up and take a real close look at this Obama! He is already showing signs of anti american beliefs. If you believe that imigration can't change things; Ask an american indian what happens when immigrants take over?

    October 5, 2007 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  25. Jill, San Diego, CA

    Sad. I think there should be an extra slot to pick on the ballots that read "none of the above". They are all losers. I am afraid for the USA.

    October 5, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17