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. Martin, North Chicago IL

    I would expect that the majority of posters on this thread to have the intelligence to research Mr. Obama BEFORE stating inaccurate and fabricated “facts” that they got off some blog. He has written two books, read them.

    Any Veteran out there? Read the VVA publication for March and April 2007 they were discussing Veteran’s benefits.

    Toward the end of the article it states, “If this seems to be a venting ground for disgruntled Democrats, readers ought to know that, in addition to Sen. Akaka, six of his Democratic colleagues—Rockefeller, Murray, Sherrod Brown, Jim Webb, and Barack Obama—attended the hearing. On the other side of the aisle, only Larry Craig of Idaho, now ranking member of the committee, bothered to show up.

    October 5, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  2. Jay, Abuja Nigeria

    Obama has lost all moral rights to the White House. Why not ask Michelle to stop sleeping beside him at home and perhaps to start going to John Edwards' Campaign. Afterall, it's what's in the heart that matters not who (or what)you're seen with

    October 5, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  3. AT, San Francisco, CA

    Obama does not want to wear an american flag pin because he is a muslim at heart. Born by a muslim father, raised by a muslim stepfather father, with koran at home, and educated for some years in a muslim school. His early upbringing was obviously muslim, and considered as muslim for life per the muslim religion.

    He said he is a christian, but he could not even quote correctly from the bible, when he identified himself as JOshua last week, but actually should be Mosses. This tell you how much he is a christian. I dare him to quote from the koran which he is more familiar.

    October 5, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  4. Ron Duluth Minnesota

    This dude really says "all the right things." But is still as trailing the Clinton's in empty vacuous rhetoric. Which is why this nation will probalbe elect both of them.

    October 5, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  5. Stephen Russell, Oakland, Ca

    Quite frankly I think this lapel pin thing is going to come back and haunt those who have made it an issue. Are we the American voter to believe this candidates vision for America is some how limited by his wearing a lapel pin?To suggest this candidate is less patriotic in my mind is an insult to the intelligence of the American voter.

    October 5, 2007 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. Kristy, Chicago

    "Every candidate has said they don't see our pulling out of Iraq until at least 2013."

    This is not true. Obama actually said he would start pulling troops out immediately. He said it was unclear as to how long there would need to be a minute contingency there to protect the embassy. That is the only reason he said that he could not guarantee all troops home by 2013. He even clarified on Tyra when he was on there.

    October 5, 2007 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. Pat Snelling, Garden Valley, CA

    What the heck is wrong with CNN? Why would you take a quote that was edited and spread it? Who at the desk? Rush Limbaugh?

    Obama said he wore the pin for a while after 9/11.

    What is wrong with you? You took a distortion of a statement and didn't find out what was really said.

    Maybe you should watch MSNBC for the WHOLE QUOTE.

    Poor reporting skills Mr. Norman–and you are an Editor to?. Go back to journalism school!

    October 5, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. Steve Granstrom Medford , OR.

    Boy scouts wear the flag and so do our soldiers and so should someone who wants to become Commander in Chief!

    October 5, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  9. Glen, Andover Kansas

    If the flag isnt good enough for him, he isnt good enough for my Vote

    October 5, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  10. Scott L, Rochester, NY

    At best, this story represents CNN's continued blurring of the line between decent journalism and tabloid "entertainment". I earnestly wish I believed that was all there was to it. Instead, I see this inflammatory headline as yet another example of CNN bias against Obama. CNN continues to demonstrate its willingness to play a hand in the race for president. And so the tragedy (and yes, I believe this is one more symptom of a larger tragedy) extends beyond the decay of quality news reporting and into the desire of some media to choose favorites and allow bias into their coverage.

    October 5, 2007 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  11. David, Columbia South Carolina

    I personally have no problems with Barack Obama not wearing the pin, and I like his comments that patriotism isn't a pin, but comes from the heart. After 9/11, everyone hung flags, wore pins, and posted banners because patriotism had become popular again, but that time has slowly begun to fade back to normalcy. I agree with what he thinks, and feels. Being in the Army for 18 years, you can see and feel the patriotism in every thing we as soldiers do, whether we are in uniform or not.

    October 5, 2007 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  12. RJ, East TX

    Obama will never be president. 1) He swore into office using the Koran, not the Bible 2) He was raised Muslim and attended a Muslim extremist school 3)His name sounds like Osama, not good. Let's hope Hillary picks this guy.

    October 5, 2007 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  13. Megan, Atlanta, GA

    And, tell me again...why is this news?
    (Especially since some of the GOP and Democrat candidates don't wear the pin either)

    President Obama...I like the sound of that!

    October 5, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  14. bukky, Baltimore, MD

    As far as flags being nothing but phony displays of patriotism. I guess all of those flags draped across caskets of fallen military members (that liberals want splashed all over the news) are phony gestures as well.

    Posted By Chris, Palm Bay, FL

    The fact that it is drapped on the caskets of our fallen soilder is the exact reason why it should not be taken lighty. If you trully love your flag you would rip it of the lapels of every single person that has not earned it.

    Those soilder had to DIE for thier flags. These people walk around with it on their clothes as if to say it means something. If you really want to RESPECT the flag reserve it for true hero's and shun the people that try to stand in the heros light attaching a silly.. yes SILLY pin.

    I may be a tree hugging hippe, but at least I know the same flag that drapes the caskets of our soilders should not be worn as a fashion accessory. It demeans the dead.

    October 5, 2007 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  15. Bob Greenwood,In.

    If Obama will not wear the American flag lapel pin,he does not deserve to serve the United States in the capacity of president!

    October 5, 2007 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  16. stan pitts p.a

    Sadness is in my heart as i write this, America has a long way to go before things change, obama chooses not to wear the pin and he is literally abused on this blog, any true amaerican knows that true patriotism is in the heart and does not have to work as a fashion accesory, he may not wear a flag bin, but if he promises to fix health care, reduce taxes and stop waging a war for oil, outsourcing jobs and stopping the abuse of our tax dollars...then that to me will be truly American give him a chance!!!America is slowing being destroyed by flag hugging incompetent republicans with numerous gay sex and fraud allegations, the canadian dollar is now on par with ours, if interest rates are reduced any more, the canadian dollar will be worth more than ours soon....its time we wake up to the real issues facing this country, and trying to reduce the debt, and leave a safer and better worl for our children, obama represents that hope for millions of Americans, and he will win this election, true Americans are not deceived by this media propaganda and can see right through it, obama says what he means and follows through speaking from the heart, its about time we trust again that our leaders will tell us the truth no matter how hard it may be...obama has my vote, GOD BLESS HIM AND GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!

    October 5, 2007 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  17. Peggy Austin Tx

    Same is true for the magnetic yellow ribbons on cars. I don't get it...how does a yellow ribbon on a car support a troop? If you took the money that the ribbon cost and sent it to the vet hospital then you would be supporting the troops...but oh, then only you and God would know of your good deed.

    October 5, 2007 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  18. Mrs Air Force TN

    I am one of those sitting back and watching the circus acts within our politcal system. I am definitely outraged at the moment.

    I am an Air Force wife and my husband is on a mission as we speak. If he and the countless number of men and women serve should die today, there is an American Flag on thier uniforms. They would be brought home in a casket, draped in the American Flag and the American Flag would be presented to the surviving family. I know because my dad died in Vietnam and I have that very American Flag.

    Say what you will, but I am a Christian and I am sure I attend church with hypocrites. Doesn't stop me from wearing or displaying my cross. I am an American and I will display my flag even though someone in this country may choose to burn it.

    I believe this country was founded on Godly principles and just as the good book tells us....we humans are going to screw it up.

    Wake up people..A man that pulls away from the basics this country was founded on and verbally expresses that the American Flag has become an insignificant symbol should make us all a little leary.

    May God grant us wisdom and favor as we stand united.

    October 5, 2007 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  19. Gordon Campbell, Sugar Land, TX

    So what now, everybody is going to NOT wear the pin because Obama says it's fasionable not to wear it????!!!! I was seriously considering his political philosophies but this raises serious new questions as far as I'm concerned. It is true that unfortunately most people are die-hard followers of fashion, and have no clue what is called for concerning acts of real patriotism. But the danger here is this: The wrong kind of leader can come along and cause other people to blindly follow his misguided assumptions or philosophies, based solely on some kind of superficial interpretation of our symbol of freedom? The United States flag is the symbol of, and sign of our dedication to the ideals and pursuits of freedom and democracy, not just a commitment to those people who put their lives on the line to uphold those ideals, so no matter where your political idealogy falls, wear the US flag pin proudly, for YOUR OWN reasons, and DAMN the naysayers!!!

    October 5, 2007 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  20. Bubba, Swainsboro GA

    Catherine, you seem sincere, but what the heck do you mean? You think all we did to Afghanistan was drop a smoke bomb? We destroyed the Taliban government and reduced them and Osama bin Laden to mouthy refugees in a cave. Everyone in the USA was on the same page for a while, taking revenge against the ones claiming credit for 9-11. Suddenly all we heard was "Oh, forget Osama. Let's get Saddam instead."

    So you put on your 9-11 flag pin because we STOPPED looking for Osama and attacked Iraq to 'find the WMDs.' Your emotion seems sincere, and I'm not making fun of your patriotism, but I can't understand your point.

    Obama? Understand that his appeal is that he isn't on the same page with the professional career politicians. He's his own man, right or wrong. If he was Bush, he'd just say he was 'bold and resolute.'

    October 5, 2007 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  21. laurinda,ny

    Obama no longer wear his pin. Big deal. It's only a pin that those nutty Republicans started.

    October 5, 2007 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  22. Lance in Monrovia CA

    My Grandmother's Flag.

    When I was a child I asked my grandmother if I could play with the American flag I found wrapped in plastic that she kept neatly placed in the linen closet. I was curious about it. She smiled and brought it out so I could look at it properly. She unwrapped it carefully and placed it so I could see it. She explained to me that this flag, The United States Flag, was a very special thing, and that it wasn't to be played with ever. She explained that in fact members of our family had fought, and died to protect it. She talked to me about my Uncle Jake that was at Pearl Harbor on the USS Arizona, and how he watched from the docks as it went under.

    I asked her, "Then why do we have it, if we can't put it up all the time? Shouldn't we always have it up?"

    She smiled again with that weary strength she had, and said, "because this flag, is only for special occasions. Its to honor our country and it holds so much value, so much honor, that we should never, ever waste it or treat it like its just another object to hang up any old day. That's why we only put it up on special occasions, like The 4th of July."

    I never, ever have forgotten that conversation I had with my grandmother all those years ago. Ever since I have had great respect for my flag and I've never thought of it just as another object to be displayed or played with.

    I've always felt, ever since that day, that if we displayed our flag every day, we lose the meaning and specialness of the ones we honor with it. We lose the grandure that it represents. We lose the hope that it contains within its borders and within our own, because soon enough our flag becomes just another symbol, another thing that can be sullied, tattered, and ultimately forgotten.

    Today, I have found another reason that I will not only vote for Barack Obama, but do everything in my human power to see that he is the next President of The United States.

    Obama doesn't wear a flag pin on his lapel, as he told the reporter who asked today about the fact that every other politician does. Obama understands that our flag has been subverted and misused by being pulled out every day of the week, a constant fixture on the lapels of powerful men in the same way that the Nazi insignia on the lapel was such a fixture of Germany during WWII. In the hands of such men, our flag becomes a tool for propaganda instead of the symbol of honor that it is. These men and women that misuse our flag use it as a statement to their own ends, a statement of "You're either with us, or against us."

    To honor something, we must never allow it to become mundane. I don't need a badge or a flag on my lapel to tell me that I'm an American, or that I'm proud of my country, any more than I need another politician to tell me what I should or should not think.

    I am just as proud of my flag today as I was when I was a young boy talking to my grandmother about it. I have lost faith not in my country, but in men and women who wave the flag as a banner of division and fear, all to better hide their own nakedness and deceit.

    As Senator Obama said today, “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.

    In order to honor all those that the flag represents, I will keep my flag in the linen closet until another day when it truly is needed again.

    I can tell you for sure that one day I will wave my flag high is on the day that Barack Obama wins the Presidency of The United States.

    October 5, 2007 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  23. Anitra, Lexington, KY

    To the person, that said we need an educated candidate....
    Have you not noticed who's in the White House? "Intellectual" is certainly not one of the words used to describe Bush.

    October 5, 2007 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  24. Enraged, SLC, UT

    Reading some of the comments here is an absolute disgrace. Based on the grammatical abilities of those who bash Obama, I would say that they have the intellectual capacity of fifth graders. What is more worrisome is that these individuals vote and possibly procreate, leading to a continual downward spiral of inanity and moronically misspelled irrationality. It's no wonder Bush won a majority of the high school dropout vote, they were merely supporting their own ilk.

    To those people who question Obama's religion, I have just one thing to say. It doesn't matter what Abrahamic dogma you subscribe to; it's nothing more than ridiculous Bronze Age superstition. I would rather see a president base his policy on logic and reason versus blind faith and unquestioning ignorance.

    Unfortunately, I doubt any of this sinks in with the Obama-bashers. After reading their posts it's apparent that most of them are borderline illiterates who can't comprehend anything outside of monosyllabic grunts (just like the president they elected).

    October 5, 2007 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  25. Upstater, Toronto, Canada

    The problem is that Obama is a socialist and wants to impose that vision of the world on the United States. Obama should be thankful to live in a country in which he was able to rise to the position of a US senator, paying close attention to how minorities are treated in many other parts of the world.

    October 5, 2007 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
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