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. Ken Jameson

    Again, a presidential candidate wholly committed in thought and practice to bringing about a change, even in the most subtle ways, from the formulaic, symbolism reliant rhetoric of the old order. Three Hurrahs for Obama!!

    October 5, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. Carlos

    Not sure on his "statement" other than it appears to be "unpatriotic". Does he also take down the flag and stop being respectful towards our military? What's next? His stock is plummeting.

    October 5, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Who gives a damn?! This is not news, this is not politics. Now I can see why Paris Hilton makes more press than these guys.

    October 5, 2007 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  4. E

    Osama Obama wouldn't need to wear one, now would he?

    Vote Republican 2008!

    October 5, 2007 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  5. Hank, Los Angeles, CA

    If I recall my Civics/Social Studies classes from my school days, wearing the flag is a desicration to the colors. Therefore, Cheney, Bushie, etc. are the ones who are dishonoring this country! You go, Barack!

    October 5, 2007 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. T

    As long as he has a decal of a yellow sticker on a big SUV, I am ok with this

    October 5, 2007 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. Mike Young, Panama City, Florida

    Whether right or wrong, he won't win with that attitude. He won't even finish second. Too bad.

    October 5, 2007 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  8. RuthieM

    Again, first of all it's Usama, with a U not Osama with an O. Ever since Barack Obama came on the scene the media has made Usama Bin Laden's name out to try and match Obama's, to put brainwashing in the minds of Americans to deter them from Barack Obama. the American, the presidential candidate. And it needs to stop!!! Spell Bin Laden's name correctly, with a U, not an O.
    Second, why are these major headlines Obama not wearing a flag pin? Why hasn't the media headlined Hillary and Billary not wearing their flag pins? I've never seen a flag pin on Hillary's pantsuits.
    I'm rather relieved Obama does not wear a flag pin, I'd hate to confuse him with Bush, who's never seen without his flag pin as he continues to strut, swagger, boast and lie, while our American soldiers and innocent Iraqis continue to be killed for this illegal, immoral and unjustified invasion!

    October 5, 2007 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  9. Stop These wars, Tampa, FL

    No flag, no vote from this veteran

    Posted By E N Jay, Elizabethtown, KY

    Fine, then vote for Hillary or one of the deferrment-prone GOP warmongers.

    Just don't unpack your dufflebag yet, and brush up on your persian because you are going to Iran buddy.

    I wonder how many Hillary/GOP voters are going to enlist once she's elected? Answer: none.

    – from another veteran.


    October 5, 2007 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  10. D. Vinson

    I wouldn't vote for him even if he covered his entire body with flag pins!

    October 5, 2007 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. Chris

    What, no pin wearing?? Fine, I'm not wearing underwear then.

    October 5, 2007 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. DF in FL

    The comments are more entertaining than the article.

    October 5, 2007 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. Me, Fullerton, CA

    Mr. Obama, you just want to get excuse by blaming other people who are wearing that pin. How can you know that those who are wearing that pin are not as patriotism as you??

    Even though it's just a symbol, a small symbol, at least we can start our patriotism by wearing that pin (especially you as a presidential candidate to give example for all the Americans from kids to seniors).

    If just such a little patriotism thing you already object, how can you bear a huge responsibility of patriotism of this country? Are you willing to live suffer for your country? I don't think so. Just for a very small thing, you are already not willing to.

    God bless us.

    October 5, 2007 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. Kim, CT

    If you feel you are a patriot, then you would not shun our flag because of what others do. Is this more of a devotion to the muslim community? This man cannot be trusted.

    October 5, 2007 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  15. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    To JB in Oak Lawn:

    Read between the lines on all of this and you'll find the GOP's "wrap the flag 'round me boys" mindset at work here.

    A friend of mine wears his flag pin everywhere, and while wearing it in Europe got confronted by angry people, because the Americans have placed them in greater danger than here.

    I'm humoured by all the administration flunkies wearing them, yet nary a one of them has any service to support the chest-beating and patriot trumpeting.

    And spare me Bush's military record!

    Hiding out in the National Guard does not constitute a record. Especially when you consider his "just happening" to move to Alabama weeks before his unit deployed to Asia!

    October 5, 2007 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  16. John Whte, Bronx, NY

    Obama is right, he decided not to wear it because he is not patriotic. I would never vote for him!!!!! USA USA USA

    October 5, 2007 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  17. John, Central Florida

    Mr. Obama is not ready for the presidency. One thing Hillary took away from her time as First Lady is a sense of the weight, enormity, scrutiny that comes with this position. The world is watching every word, every gesture our president makes. We all know what it feels like to see someone abusing a symbol you believe in. Christians know it. Homosexuals know it. Most of us (I assume) would like a president who overrides this first impulse because he believes the commonality, the unity, the breadth and width of the symbol supersede our first, personal reaction as an individual. The flag is much larger than Iraq. It is much larger than you or me or George Bush or Barack Obama or Republicans, Democrats or even the United States in 2007. It is simply and wonderfully a symbol, encompassing all of those things and more. The fact that Barack doesn't understand this, or at least have the instinct to pause and consider it before doing something that you and I as non-presidents may find inconsequential, separates him as one who isn't ready to be the single most powerful individual in the world. Think about it. It is a quitter's impulse. He should put the pin back on because of what he wants it to symbolize and what it will symbolize as he likes to say, "when I am president."

    October 5, 2007 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  18. Jon / Clifton, New Jersey

    Mr.Obama needs to do the right thing. The flag symbolizes alot more than just the heart.

    October 5, 2007 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  19. Kathy, Lee's Summit, MO

    Obama is already behind in polls. Not wearing this pin as a "patriotic symbol" will only alienate those undecideds further. Not a smart move, Obama!

    October 5, 2007 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Wow. Have we become so petty and distracted? Wake up people, before we are dupped into electing another W.

    October 5, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  21. Kevin, Kansas City MO

    Barack Osama has shown his true colors. Wearing a pin doesn't make you patriotic, but no patriot would REFUSE to wear the symbol of freedom that so many have given so much for.

    October 5, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  22. Hooligan, Everywhere, America

    To Maria in New Hampshire:

    You're the first in your family to walk erect, right?!

    Well certainly you've won a Pulitzer for literature?!

    Nice post, now review the elite way the GOP is treating immigrants coming to this country, other than working in their plants for slave wages, that is.

    October 5, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  23. desiree, atlanta georgia

    a really good reason to look deeper at obama. i think i may be voting for him now. i am sick of pins and titles identifying our country. we should be doing things not claiming things. besides why say im an amercian why can we say that we are from earth?

    October 5, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  24. Brendan

    Angela from Athens Georgia,

    I think you are an idiot. That kind of close-minded, blind racism will lead to the downfall of our country. Are you seriously not willing to vote for someone because they have a foreign name?

    I'm guessing you didn't get a lot out of history class when you were in school, but perhaps you'll remember that George Washington did have a foreign name. He had an English name.

    If you mean he doesn't have an Anglo-saxon name, you right...and a bigot. Remember, you do not belong here anymore than any other citizen of this country. And with racist comments like those, I would say you belong here a lot less than most.

    October 5, 2007 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  25. Dan, TX

    I also don't wear the pin on my chest, of course I never did, and I certainly wouldn't wear one to say I support America. Of course I support America. I don't need a pin and neither do you. Unless you sell pins of course. Then, this a story you care about.

    For people that say they use this as a factor in deciding who to vote for. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! You make me laugh. It's OK not to want to vote for Obama because you disagree with his policies. I compared the major democrats based on that among other things. That's why I will be voting for Obama for President.

    October 5, 2007 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
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