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. Brad, Stockton, CA

    Who cares if he wears a flag pin? I see those who wear them now and those who have worn them in the past. At present I don't even support Obama, however I believe his honest response made it abundently clear that has more TURE patriotism in his baby fingernail than most who wear the pin as a necessary fashion accessory.

    October 5, 2007 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. Wufpakmom, Zion, IL

    For the love of whatever Deity you wish to worship! People, get your facts straight! The person who was sworn in to office using the Quoran is Congressman Keith Ellison, representing the 5th Congressional District of Minnesotsa. NOT Barack Obama! And by the way – there is absolutely no law, no statute, no legislation, no ordinance, no rule ANYWHERE that says you MUST be sworn into office on a Christian Bible! You could be sworn into office on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, if you so chose.

    October 5, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  3. Kathy in Oklahoma

    While I haven't decided if I will vote for Barack Obama, I can say this....whomever I do decide to vote for, it will have absolutely nothing to do with whether they do or do not where a pin! To everyone who is judging his abilities to run this country, on whether or not he has on the American flag lapel pin ....don't go vote...you insult the intelligence of the people of our country. In simple terms, you are not smart enough to vote for the most qualified person. Try spending less time worrying about a pin, and more time educating yourself, about who will do the best job, as our President.

    October 5, 2007 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  4. Dr Atomic

    RJ, it wasn't Obama who swore on the Koran. Get a grip, man. His family was Islamic, he's not. Once you renounce Islam, sharia law says you must be killed as a heretic. If he becomes president, Osama bin Laden will have a stroke! Making him prez would be an extended finger to our enemies.

    October 5, 2007 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. aj, radcliff , KY

    As a Hispanic voter not sure about the Democrats, they have show to be very hatefull regarding Patriotism. Hilary is a macho candidate who cares for diversity but only certain color but brown. and Obama is just plain idiot.

    Posted By Maria in New Hampshire : October 5, 2007 12:12 pm

    Now read your own statement and tell me who is an idiot. I'll need you to learn to speak properly before calling him an idiot. ESL classes help

    October 5, 2007 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  6. Sandra Eau Clarie Wi

    A piece of "jewelry" should never be a measurement of patriotism, and that's about all that pin is. Flag or whatever.

    October 5, 2007 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  7. SyF, Chicago Illinois

    Flag pins making top news stories and controversy is hilarious.

    Lol @ America

    October 5, 2007 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  8. MJ North Mississippi

    Hey Bubba from Swainsboro, GA are you from a deep sleeper cell group?

    October 5, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. Tom, Philly, PA

    This is news? Why? At best, it means it was a slow news day and you had nothing better to cover, at worst, you're a sham of a reporter who deserves a post on FOX and trying to associate a pin with patriotism. Either way, terrible story. Find something worth covering.

    October 5, 2007 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. J.Crobuzon

    Mrs Air Force,
    Boy! You have a lot of husbands!

    The flag's a symbol; as you say, some people burn them and some people wave them around. It's not a thing, it's an ideal, and you can't burn The Flag any more than you can burn Liberty or Freedom. But you can soil it and smirch it by using it to conceal or redirect misdeeds. Right now that flag has a lot of innocent blood on it and it's making people nervous.

    As you know from your husbands, our military is not designed to conquer other countries, but to strike at them and force them to the bargaining table. Our soldiers should have done their work and returned before we got trapped in a role America never wanted. We intended this as a war of liberation . . .

    October 5, 2007 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  11. totaltransformation

    What's the next headline going to be?

    Obama forgoes American Flag Boxers?



    October 5, 2007 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  12. jenny Hanson,KY

    i'm not upset if someone doesn't wear a pin but that fact that he chose not to wear it because someone he saw wearing it wasn't acting in a patriotic way is just stupid. i wast a leader that chooses to wear it and act in a patriotic way . That makes a much better point and sets a better example for all the people in this country that he claims to want to lead.

    October 5, 2007 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  13. PSB Saint Louis, MO

    Obama seems desparate to use a non-issue in order to generate some buzz. Yawn.

    Do you think this tripe will work for you in the general election Barack?

    October 5, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  14. Jaype F., Carmel, IN

    HA! I love the hypocrisy in all this.

    Democrats smear the troops, and Republicans call them on it. What happens? Democrats say "Don't question my patriotism"

    Then what do they do? They say, "I won't wear my pin because the Republicans wear their's and they express phony patriotism"

    Brilliant! And the amazing thing is many ignorant Americans will fall for this ploy!

    October 5, 2007 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  15. Sana Momim

    doucebollards, I'm a Muslim and I'm a patriotic American too, and I LOVE wearing jewelry. But wearing a tacky looking made-in-taiwan pin doesn't make anyone more or less patriotic. If it goes with my clothes (say, a casual tee and jeans), I'll wear it, if it doesn't (say, on a formal ballgown – yeah, Muslims can wear those too – surprise surprise), I won't. IT'S WHAT YOUR HEART FEELS IS HOW YOU ARE. btw, if you check into any muslim literature instead of talking your mouth off, you will see that jewelery is allowed for men, women and kids in Islam. Except for men and boys it's preferred they wear silver not gold, because it's too ostentatious. But all ages of girls and women can wear however much they want in all fashions. AND it's preferred that Muslims wear real jewelry – like siver gold precious stones etc – than costume jewelry made with steel and iron and brass, because that is the jewelry people will be wearing in Hell (probably more conducive to heat). Thats why God – yeah, Allah – gave us precious metals and stones in the first place – for jewelry and other uses to help man AND womankind!

    October 5, 2007 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  16. clydefro

    What is this country coming to when this is even an issue? Why should someone be told they have to wear a symbol or suffer the consequences? About seventy years ago there were some symbols folks were forced to wear too. They surely weren't ashamed of their religion any more than Obama is ashamed of his country.

    October 5, 2007 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  17. Shawn, Denver CO

    James from Columbia,

    You claim that he's a joke. Based on your admission of being ex-military, let me ask you this: how many days a week do YOU where a flag lapel pin now that you don't wear the flag on your shoulder? I did three tours in Afghanistan, am not wearing a flag on my chest right now, and dare any of the hypocrits on this blog to challenge me as not being a patriot over a pin.

    October 5, 2007 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  18. Tom, C-Ville, IL

    if you scroll down you can notice that almost everyone from the south makes the dumbest points.

    October 5, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  19. Ralph E Wilson Jax Florida

    Since Obama never been in service!! Maybe he doen't Understand what this means!! Did not plan to vote for him anyway! He already turned me off With some of His Statements!!!

    October 5, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  20. Laura, San Francisco CA

    Gee, isn't someone who wants to be president of america supposed to be proud of the american flag? How silly of him to "rebel" against wearing a pin. This is not the behavior of a capable leader. I am uncomfortable with the idea that a potential presidential candidate is not proud of the country he wishes to represent.

    October 5, 2007 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  21. Serieus, Humboldt, CA

    What does the flag have to do with anything? As far as I'm concerned the flag is a representation of the democracy we don't have. We salute the flag, we pledge allegiance to the flag. We drape our soldiers with the flag. We have a flag over gas stations, McDonald's, WalMart, everywhere. I've been to many countries and I've never seen so many flags. If the flag represents our country then it represents the Iran/Contra, it represents slavery, it represents the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War, the phobia of communism, the phobia of muslims, the phobia of homosexuals, the placement of dictators in Latin America and the middle east, it represents 150 countries worldwide where our troops are stationed permanently. If you want to be patriotic then stop consuming and stop buying into loving a country that think it's great because it's taken advantage of other poor countries around the world. The flag doesn't mean anything to me anymore, this is why it is such a huge representation of America after 9/11. 9/11 is an incident that any person reading worldwide newspapers would have known was possibly going to happen (french and german newspaper gave us warnings a week prior to 9/11) yet our government who knew of this fell short of saving innocent lives for their private benefits (oil industry, the drug industry, as well as the military complex). This is what the flag represents for me, I say stop waving your flag and start waving your fist to stop the next president from making us, the citizens of the United States of America looking like the evil tyrrants of the world, because that's who our politicians are. Stop living a dream America, ground your feet and realize our dream is only real because we have caused others to live a nightmare. "You can wave your piece of """" flag if you dare, but they killed us, cause we've been killing them for years."

    October 5, 2007 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  22. anna, Appleton, WI

    I don't trust Obama whether he wears a flag pin or not. His attitudes and behavior should be enough to make anyone question his ability to run this country. But like alot of other politicians, keep watching them and you'll find out that all those ideas of theirs add up to more taxes for us!

    October 5, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    I must say to not wear the pin every political outing is one thing. But to say 'I decided not to wear that pin on my chest' is something entirely different. I mean yeah this issue is petty, but it makes me wonder. I'm a young african american who was beginning to think that I might vote for Obama, but now this incident I must be honest and say is making me think twice. Obama everything you do does'nt not have to prove a profound point. Listen man we all have to do things we don't neccesarily agree with. As president if the people want you to wear a pin to show support then wear the freaking pin. Yeah it does prove nothing either way. But it shows you're the bigger man. That's something small buddy. As president you may have to do simple things that you do not agree with if a pin bugs you that much my goodness.

    October 5, 2007 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  24. Mark R. / Bonn, Northhein-Westfalia, Germany

    Well now, it is just amazing that a small lapel pin can cause such a rucus. Of course, it is plain old stupid of Obama to do this: no average american spends hours in the day pondering that little lapel pin, and most likely just tons of americans have that pin on the lapel of a nice piece of clothing that they wear for special occasions, and if that helps them to feel better after the horrors of 9-11, I can understand them.

    So, wearing a pin does not make you more patriotic, is however, a really nice thing to do. And when I see an american with that pin, I do feel a warmth for them.

    Not wearing a pin is not unpatriotic. There is no clause in the constitution where a lapel pin is prerequisite for serving, nor did the founding fathers think to write about symbols. I suppose they had much more important things on their minds, like surviving and getting a new republic onto it's feet.

    But to make a big point of not wearing a lapel pin that has indeed brought comfort to millions of americans, who, after 9-11, felt helpless and wanted to show that there is solidarity – well, this is just plain old not smart of Obama. And gives a bad name to democrats who do not behave this way. And I, as a registered democrat, am sick and tired of the extreme left doing loopy-doopy stupid stuff and ruining the name of the democratic party. Those extreme lefties are just as dangerous as the neo-cons who have currently hijacked the exective of the US government, imho.

    Perhaps Obama should think about more than just Obama for a short while. If he hopes to be President, he should have been thinking about other people than himself for a long time now.

    But I doubt it matters as I seriously doubt that he will be nominated.

    October 5, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  25. David Huson, Jacksonville, Florida

    If Mr. Obama does not think the American Flag lapel pin is worth wearing, I don't feel I should vote for him as President. He is just making a joke of our flag and is not worth the effort to vote for. Rule out one know nothing Democrat with ultra liberal views. We can do better and find a President proud of our flag. Afterall many hundreds of thousands of men and women have died fighting for that flag and this kid has done nothing.

    October 5, 2007 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
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