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. Pete, Washington

    Barack, you are a true patriot, I don't care what George Bush wears, what Hillary says, or those folks who need to get back on their meds.

    Since they can't destroy your integrity, intellect, and judgment, they will do whatever they can to 'knock you down'. It's not going to happen.

    I am so proud of you and what you are bringing to this campaign; honesty, great ideas, and a hopeful vision of America's future. I am also very proud to see so many Americans, (even many republicans) who understand what 'Patriotism' really is, are coming to this website and expressing their support of you, and their concern about this 'manufactured' non-issue.

    We are not going to let them distract us from working to make this a better America. God knows, we have so much work to do.

    Fire it up...Ready to go !!!
    Obama '08

    October 5, 2007 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  2. Alex, Loganville Georgia

    What is "that pin" which he is talking about? Obama is referring to our sacred American Flag. Obama seems to think that just because many other politicians wear the flag on their lapel, it's a little too faddish for him.

    I’ve got news for you- this same flag appears on the uniform sleeve of the American Soldier. This same flag flies proudly above our government buildings. This same flag drapes the coffins of our fallen fighting men and women. I don't think that they have to say anything more to echo their love for this country. Yet Obama seems to think that wearing the flag on your jacket doesn't mean anything anymore. Tell that to someone who has actually served in the United States military, Mr. Obama.

    It seems to me that Obama is too good for a little American patriotism. It’s sad that there are actually Americans out there who buy the garbage spewing forth from Obama's mouth.

    October 5, 2007 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  3. Jimmie, Dayton, Ohio

    I can tell you that I'm a recently ret. Vet who belongs to that independent group in the middle. Just because independents have sometimes sided with the republicans in the past as the lesser of two evils doesn't mean they believe in all the garbage they were spewing. Only that the garbage didn't smell as bad as the left garbage on some occasions.

    A true patriot to me is someone who is willing to die for you to have the right to express your beliefs even if he disagrees with them even if that means burning the flag. One of the reasons our troops fight so diligently in battle is because of the rights they and their family have in this country. These troops would not be as loyal to a country that many on the far right would like for America to be.

    These neo-con pundits are phony opportunists who represent the worst of this country not the best.
    I know exactly what Senator Obama message is and I agree. I'm glad that the media is showing us exactly what they are about. It's these types of tactics that seals the deal for many Independents in doubt as to whether or not they are a legitimate news sources that should be taken serious.

    I send my protests all the same but as an Obama support I personally hope they continue this exercise in propaganda. The people that are tired of the ways of Washington and the media will reject the shell game that's being played by the entrenched special interests and their corrupt agents in Washington. So go ahead wear your pins, we still see you. There hasn’t been legislature past in 15 years to help the poor and middle class.

    You still haven't got a clue to what's going on in America and you will never get it until we show you. Your time is up! No more! The people want change and the people will have the final say during this election.

    This lapel issue is no different than the “talking to hostile leaders” issue. Stand by for the blow back, the silent majority is engaged and all the scoundrels are desperate. They sound more like pre-schoolers than legitimate news sources. This applies to congress as well. Soon they'll see what the people have to say about it!

    Obama 08!

    October 5, 2007 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  4. Bobbie Potter-Jacksonville, Fl

    I feel the wearing of the American Flag pin is more about the pride you feel in this great country and not to wear it deliberately says to me that you are not pround and do not support those who are fighting to keep it free for us all. It is like telling those fighting overseas that you have no pride or faith in them.

    October 5, 2007 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  5. faith .atl

    The flag is the symbol of US ,if Barack Obama wants to be our president then he should respect our flag.

    October 5, 2007 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  6. Scott Kay Salem, AL

    I think the flag is only something to represent the "United States of America". People started displaying the flag after 9/11 to let everyone know that we are united, regardless of political alliance. But that was six years ago and some people don't feel like we need to let people know that we are united. Some of us are still proud of this country, and are proud to display the American flag. Maybe Obama will say that there are some people who fly the flag that aren't patriotic, so we probably don't even need to fly the flag at the white house or any other government buildings or even sew it on the uniforms of the men and women who are being killed to defend it. Maybe we should rethink the importance of our flag.

    October 5, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  7. Amelie Grossman, Dallas, TX

    Oalala CNN, why are you interested in this banal and commonplace issue like lapel pin? Do you think American public are so superficial with regards to patriotism? Come on, we are better than that ....

    Stop giving us frivolous coverage. Where is the beef?

    October 5, 2007 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  8. Kjel, Seattle, WA

    Flags aside, how many of you realize that Obama is not a Muslim, but actually a Christian? Here is a man who works for biblical principles in line with the teachings of Jesus and you attack him for having a "foreign" name. Unreal.

    Democracy may well be the best form of government, but it only works if the voters are educated.

    Please, read and be educated. KNOW who our presidential candidates are, not what they wear. Thats the most patriotic thing you can possibly do.

    October 5, 2007 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  9. speakingoutworld

    Tho I probably wont vote for Obama, I will agree that its what a persons actions say that matters not the symbols they wear. I find that symbols whether for religion or patriotism are many times for show and no back bone to back it up.
    Steven Stone
    A.K.A.- The Spokesman

    October 5, 2007 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  10. Pete, Washington

    For the Scotts, Faiths and Bobbies out there, shall we ask congress to pass a "Patriot Pin Law that requires all public officials, candidates and all U.S. citizens, to buy and proudly wear the U.S. Flag pin.
    In this way we will be able to see, immediatly, who is and who is not a true patriot. After all, all of us are proud of our country, and would NOT be ashamed to wear it at all times. Perhaps, we need to separate out those 'disloyal' Americans from us, the real, tried and true, God-fearing, flag waving Americans...To be sure, we don't want anyone living in this country that isn't REALLY proud to wear that pin....What do you think???

    Should we start a petition drive, or do you folks want to start calling your congressmen first???

    October 5, 2007 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  11. Steve, Luke AFB, Glendale, Arizona

    To everyone slamming Senator Obama for not wearing the pin.

    I am in the Air Force. I fly search-and-rescue missions. I also do searches on foot. I have a reversed flag patch on my flight suit and BDUs.

    In civilian clothes, I never wear a flag pin. I don't even have a shirt with a flag printed on it.

    Does that make me any less patriotic? Senator Obama serves, too. He serves in the government, just like me, only doing different work.

    Lay off the guy. Aren't their more important issues to talk about?

    October 5, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  12. Jake, Louisville Kentucky

    As a representative of a country, and a state in that country, you should wear the brand(s) that are a part of that representation. If he wants to not represent America by not wearing its brand then so be it. But, just like many employers, I as a an American would require him to wear the company uniform. If he doesn't want to be an employee he has that choice also. Tax payers should demand more from our employees.

    October 5, 2007 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  13. Kay, Las Vegas, NV

    If you can't even type/speak English, don't stick your stupid nose in US politics...
    that goes for the rest of you non-US citizens posting here. You can't vote so stay out our politics, clean up your before you pass judgement on our, i.e., worry about your own morons in power!

    Rex, Toldedo:
    That would be "nasty half-black man" to us 'inferred' prejudiced white folks. And if you can't differentiate between the definition of 'where' and 'wear' then don't make stupid comments, you just give reason for the pbr drinkers to make fun of you!

    October 5, 2007 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  14. Chris, Palm Bay, FL

    CNN headline next week: “Barak Obama steals donuts from school cafeterias. He thinks it’s the patriotic thing to do.”

    Obama supporters: “See, Obama is a true patriot. George Bush could never be as patriotic as him. After all, Bush is an idiot…blah, blah, blah.”

    Laughing at you clowns never gets old. You have ABSOLUTELY no original thought. Barak Obama has been one continuous sound bite, and somehow people look at him as the man that will change Washington. He won’t because he’s part of the Democrat machine. Just like Romney and Rudy are parts of the Republican machine. Both parties control weak-minded people by making a stand on things that don’t matter. Lapel pins? Baby bonds? Gay marriage? Wow, it’s like watching Finding Nemo. “Look Dory, something shiny!”

    FYI, the last politician who truly stood for anything died in 2004. RIP Gipper!

    October 5, 2007 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  15. stan pitts p.a

    Barack obama already serves this country as a senator, what more do you want, he would rather focus on the difficult issues we face as a nation instead of attached a made in china with lead American flag...part of the problem we need to fix, American flag pins should only be made in the u.s.a, but thanks to bush and previous administrations our country has been sold out and we have to depend on china to make our flag pins what a shame, i dont wear a flag pin, when i can find one made in the u.s.a i would gladly buy it, lets focus on the issues and rebuild this nations economy, im glad obama is a serious candidate who is only interested in the real stuff real Americans care about "our beloved country", and the dire issues facing us, if we pick hillary, we get more of the same, i will vote for bill any day, but since he is not running, i wont vote hillary, as it appears she is being coronated and forced down our throats by the media in this country, Americans are smarter this time around go barack 08!!!

    October 5, 2007 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  16. Oigres

    I can't believe you people waste your time in this kind of pointless discussion. Why don't you wake up and talk about the real issues.

    Definitely you deserve your leaders !

    October 5, 2007 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  17. A. Thomas, New York, NY

    Obama said, "I decided I won't wear that (american flag) pin on my chest.”

    That is a very drastic and damaging statement for a guy who wants to be the next american president. I can support Hillary's position of "wearing it from time to time."

    This shows Obama's INEXPERIENCE AND NAVIETY as a politician and presidential candidate. He is simply not a seasoned politician, and may fumble if nominated, and may bring embarassment to the country if elected.

    Obama, now you know why you are down in polls, and falling.

    October 5, 2007 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  18. anon, ottawa, OH

    Hey Hussein Osama,

    In the last two weeks, you said you are comparable to Joshua, JFK and Lincoln.

    On the contrary. To me, you are Humpty Dumpty, as the ryhyme says:

    Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall (as in your policies).
    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall (as in your polls).
    All the king's horses and all the king's men (as to your supporters)
    Couldn't put Humpty together again (as your situation next February).

    October 5, 2007 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  19. Rex, Toledo, Ohio

    The fact is that everyone here posting that there is no way they would vote for him now that he refuses to wear the pin is a smoke screen. They weren't going to vote for him in the first place. Either am I, but this argument is typical America. Oh and for this:

    "If Obama will not wear the American flag lapel pin,he does not deserve to serve the United States in the capacity of president!"
    Posted By Bob Greenwood,In. : October 5, 2007 4:01 pm

    My mother lives about 30 miles from you, and I used to live there. I know all about this region of the country. My mother constantly sends me bible thumping GOP emails that make me sick. You know the ones. About how Hispanics are taking over the world, and how she can't stand Spanish as a second language.How dare a black man run for President. About how her core Christian values are at risk etc.
    This from a woman that loves Mexican food, and used to beat me senseless at least 5 times a week.
    Republican scare tactics make me sick. And Racism is alive and well in Indianapolis and the surrounding area. It was when I lived there, and nothing has changed. THAT is why you won't vote for Obama, not because of a pin. Get some aguacates and tell the truth.

    October 5, 2007 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  20. Get Real, Atlanta GA

    For CNN to even ask this question is dumb and for anyone who thinks that him not wearing that flag makes him unpatriotic then anyone who recognizes the confederate flag is a racist.

    If you going to judge the man on that flag then America is to be judged on its other flag.

    October 5, 2007 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  21. Sarah

    Remember when the Bush administration told us that anyone who spoke out against the war was unpatriotic? I do.

    This "wear the pin or we will know that you are not a true patriot" sounds just like the Bush tactics.

    Sure doesn't sound like something that would come from a democracy. Sounds like something that would be encouraged in a dictatorship.

    October 5, 2007 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  22. OneWhoServes, San Diego CA

    I think the best way to support our troops is not by wearing a lapel pin. The best way is to make sure that their deployments aren't too long, that they actually have time off to see their loved ones, that they are paid a decent living wage, that they are well taken care of abroad and also when they return home. Right now their deployments are far too long and the health care is sub-par when they return.

    So if you want to support the troops, then do something to fix this. Obama is right, it's about how we treat those who serve. The pin is just an unimportant detail that pales in comparison to the bigger issues that actually directly affect our soldiers.

    October 6, 2007 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  23. Jim, Carbondale, IL

    Isn't it against the flag code to reproduce it in other forms and wear it? I realize that people do it all the time, but isn't that really not supposed to happen?
    Either way, if you think that wearing a flag pin shows you love this country, fine. But its ridiculous to take a holier-than-thou attitude to others who choose to show patriotism in a different way, like putting a flag outside of your house, or actually reading the constitution. In my own opinion, the best way to show patriotism is by trying to make this country even better than it already is in any way we can. Since we all have different talents, that could take on a variety of forms. Calling people unpatriotic because they don't want to wear a pin doesn't really seem to reflect value that I support at all.

    October 6, 2007 05:04 am at 5:04 am |
  24. John Wakefield, Essex, NY

    Heh, after watching Jaywalking on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, I'm not surprised at all the absurd comments seen for this topic. Americans don't like to read and care more about what's going on in Hollywood than what goes on in Washington D.C.

    October 6, 2007 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  25. lrc, CA

    The kind of people who won't vote for Obama because he doesn't wear the pin are the same people who stuck one of those annoying "Support The Troops" stickers on the back of their SUVs – but NEVER considered actually joining the military to fight the war they claimed to feel so strongly about.
    Patriotism isn't waving symbols around and blowing alot of hot air – it's putting your money (and your time and effort) where your mouth is.
    Obama has some concrete plans for getting America back on track – putting New Orleans back together, stabilizing Iraq and the Middle East and pulling our economy out of the toilet – all things that the Bush administration – and their friggin lapel pins – have failed to do.

    October 6, 2007 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
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