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. laurinda,ny

    BOBBY from Florida, you are absolutely right. I am voting for Hillary.

    October 4, 2007 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  2. brenda mon cty nj

    Well it is basically as he said; actions speak louder then words. I'd rather our president have policy that is good for America and consequently our citizens then merely prop themselves behind a symbol as though that is all that matters. After all shouldn't it be more about substance then show?

    October 4, 2007 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  3. Val Davydov, Agawam, MA

    This is not news since he hasn't "worn that pin in probably a very long time", but it serves its purpose. Bizarre Obama will NOT be the next president of the United States – he is unworthy.

    October 4, 2007 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  4. Michael James - Illinois

    If it was so important to wear a flag pin, why didn't anyone notice a long time ago?

    Also, anyone who thinks less of Barack due to his lack of wearing a flag pin is clearly misguided. It's the sort of meaningless issue that distracts from important discussion of substantive issues. Barack had my vote before this story and continues to have it. He is a true patriot and the most inspiring leader this country has produced in a very long time.

    Lastly, for what it's worth, I took a cursory look at some photos of McCain, Romney, Huckabee, Giuliani as well as Hillary and didn't see any of them wearing a flag pin either.

    October 5, 2007 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  5. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VAj

    Good to see someone abandon this faux-Patriot symbolism. Most of the flags I've seen are pretty tacky designs too.

    October 5, 2007 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  6. Andrew, Jakarta, Indonesia

    I would have thought that wearing the American flag was a personal affirmation of faith by the wearer and that by then not wearing it was indicative of a change in that faith. But certainly it is a personal statement, not influenced by what others do.
    I had thought that Mr. Obama's beliefs were stronger. Now I am not so sure.

    October 5, 2007 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  7. Lacey Orlando, Fl

    Wearing a pin does not prove your patriotism. Just like wearing a cross around your neck and knifing someone else in the back isn't becoming either. Let's look at the flip side. A little while ago if you were againt the war in Iraq, the Republicans made it look like you were against our brave men and women of the military, that couldn't have been farther from the truth. I want our soldiers home and safe.

    October 5, 2007 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  8. Lacey Orlando, Fl

    Wearing a flag pin does not make you patriotic. The issues are what matters.

    October 5, 2007 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  9. David, Roseburg OR

    "I'm not ashamed to wear the flag pin. Don't muslims eschew jewelry? Maybe that's why."

    Why is it that you and many others seem to think Obama is a Muslim? He is not, has never declared he is one. I think you are confusing him with another Congressman that used a different pulp fiction book (bible) on his swearing in speech than the one you have confused him with.

    Of course I can understand you being confused on the issue being that you are basing your comment upon another pulp fiction book called the Holy Bible.

    The man is making a valid statement. Soon after 9/11 our local towns put out so many flags that I am sure the flag companies showed a profit for the first time in many a year (then again most of those flags were made in China), yet one year later not a flag is flown from a private household unless it is a holiday that includes putting the flag out. So much for America thumbing their nose or middle finger at Bin Laden.

    How dare any of you call Obama a Muslim without doing any research, how would you like someone to call you a Mormon or Seventh Day Adventist if you were indeed not one? I am not calling those cults down as they have every right to be there as long as the Catholics and "born again" Christian evangelicals have a standing in society too.

    However you prejudice is showing when you presume a dark skinned man running for President is a Muslim. It becomes very apparent with your statement that you have not done your own research on the candidates running for office and that is the reason we now have Bush Jr. in charge and doing such a bang up job of it.

    You can try to call me a democrat, atheist or whatever, but alas I am just a citizen that does my research and votes for the person that is best able to do the job according to my standards and way of looking at things. I vote neither Democrat or Republican, I have voted for both down through the years as neither side has all the answers.

    I can promise you this though, if you vote because of religious belief you will never get the government you truly want as all sides, even the religious right and card carrying left have perverts in their midst.

    Why vote blinded by political party when instead if you use your true understanding of the world you will find you need to vote for the person, not the party line.

    Corruption is more about power and money that anything else, and you know that. I am sure that most of you have met someone that has come into power or money and seen the change in them. It is a sad state of affairs, but very true, to look that good you have to be that bad. Could we find a grassroots person to run for office, yes, of course we could, but no one would fund them as there is zero payback for the money those people were putting up. If there were someone that could bypass that give and take then they would be certainly circumspect with the media as no way, no how, could a honest man be promised honest money to fund their campaing.

    Do you see the sadness in this? How do we change this political machine around? I have some ideas, but you know I would rather stay alive a bit longer than push to hard for the political parties to clean up their act.

    Do you have a better idea?

    October 5, 2007 03:24 am at 3:24 am |
  10. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    "Obama is Osama in disguise. Beware of him.
    Posted By SM : October 4, 2007 10:42 pm"

    You can always tell who watches Faux News! They parrot the bumper sticker philosophy that passes for rational discussion.

    Still a free country, by the way. I'm much more interested in what a candidate's plans are than what they are wearing or who they are married to (although 3 wives is a bit much) However, unlike most financial planners – I do think that past performance is a good prediction of their future performance. Once you begin to flip-flop, you will always flip-flop. If you were mean and nasty as a mayor, once elected, you will revert to your true form.

    October 5, 2007 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  11. TL Mpls MN

    I can't believe there are really small minded people out there who will find a way to hate on someone. Obama's response is right, actions speak louder than wearing a small flag. Sen. Larry Craig wears the flag, does that make him more patriotic?

    I guess that's all that it takes to sway the small minded people to vote the other way. Just don't act surprised when the person you vote for turns out like Bush.

    October 5, 2007 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  12. Howard, Levittown, NY

    He's right, it's sad that what he's saying flies right over so many people's heads. It's stupid to judge someone's patriotism by a flag pin or how many yellow ribbon magnets they have on their car.

    October 5, 2007 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  13. Zack, NJ

    Just like Gravel said, America is getting fatter and dumber.

    It's just a pin. Should we now have a constitutional amendment banning pin removal?

    There are other ways to show that you are patriotic, such as voting for change and a new direction for America.

    October 5, 2007 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  14. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Small pin is a petty, small minded way to think, Mike. But where is Obama's heart? I don't think his mind is in America completely. I am a Korean-American, I am proudly wearing flag pins, flag braces, flag hats, flag scarf and flag sticker on my car because I love America and show to the people how much we are lucky to be Americans. Small flag pin is small but it has a huge meaning in it, I think we should think about this issue seriously. People knew he is naive and inexperienced in politics. Obama proved
    he is not qualified as President so far by his speech and his action.

    October 5, 2007 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  15. bukky, Baltimore, MD

    I'm not ashamed to wear the flag pin. Don't muslims eschew jewelry? Maybe that's why.

    Posted By deucebollards :

    Obama's point exactly

    – – – – – -
    But why would a possible future President refuse to wear the flag..?

    Posted By Bobby G. Melbourne, Florida

    The whole freaking article is saying WHY he doesn't wear the pin. Did you read before you commented?
    – – – – – – –

    Bizarre Obama will NOT be the next president of the United States – he is unworthy.

    Posted By Val Davydov, Agawam, MA

    If wearing a pin is what make one WORTHY of being president. This country deserves the stupidity that is Bush

    October 5, 2007 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  16. Cable King Pittsburgh PA

    Sound on principle . . .
    Unrealistic on political

    October 5, 2007 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  17. Ron, TX

    He's 100% correct. The American flag symbol, very unfortunately, has grown into a Republican symbol instead of a symbol standing up for freedom, rights, and equality. I've seen hundreds of people with little American flags on their car cut through traffic and flip others off. True patriotism IS shown through action.

    A little American flag pin doesn't make you patriotic, and not wearing it doesn't make you unpatriotic. How many people acting like he's wrong are wearing the pin right now? I bet it's less than .001%.

    October 5, 2007 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  18. therealist

    "You show your patriotism by how you treat your fellow Americans, especially those ones who serve."

    You mean like you treated General Petraeus??

    October 5, 2007 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  19. Nathan, New York, NY

    I find it disturbing that people get bent out of shape that he is not wearing a pin of a symbol, but many of these same people do not feel outraged that millions of children were just denied health care.

    October 5, 2007 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  20. J.B. Oak Lawn IL

    Apparently, Hillary Clinton supporters have used this posting to show how hateful they truly are.

    Keep it up, Hillaryland. You're only motivatng Obama-world to open up our wallets and dial our phones straight up until 2008.

    October 5, 2007 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  21. Seam, Philly PA

    Most people on this blog are idiotic. No one noticed that Obama hasn't worn that stupid little pin in months, and all of a sudden it's an issue. Please, get real!

    October 5, 2007 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  22. sonny c. v.p.,la.

    Has anyone noticed who first used a flag lapel as a fashion statement/political message? Check out the 1930 & 40's pictures of Hitler & Goebells.

    October 5, 2007 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  23. nyvoter

    I wouldn't stop wearing the flag pin as a symbol of my allegiance to this country just because other people who wear it don't live up to my expectations or agree with my ideolgy. I would stop wearing it if my allegiance was not to this country and that is why some people are suspicious.

    October 5, 2007 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  24. Dave, Evergreen CO

    Possibly the biggest non-story in the history of the ticker. And that is saying something.

    October 5, 2007 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  25. Aggie, Atlanta

    Hillary's people can't criticize him, because she doesn't wear the pin either, but Larry Craig was wearing it in his mug shot.
    I think the media is trying to swiftboat Obama to get him out of this race; or to get his supporters to change their minds. When instead, this has made me support him even more, with our without the nomination.

    October 5, 2007 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
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