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. Anonymous

    Phony. The guy wouldn't be in office if not for Jeri Ryan's divorce being made public.

    October 5, 2007 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. Sharon, Huntsville, AL

    And people want to vote for this man for President because???? NOT ME! I will show my patriotism by not voting for him!

    October 5, 2007 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. Richard Charleston, WV

    What the Senator fails to mention is that Patriotism is not an either/or statement! You can still "act" Patriotic and wear the pin! I am sorry that it is so difficult for Mr. Hussein to wear an American flag pin on his chest. Maybe we could get a pin of someone burning a flag for Senator Hussein.

    October 5, 2007 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. Sean, Austin TX

    The overuse of the lapel pin after 9/11 began to remind me disturbingly of the common red star lapel pin in the old Soviet era – as if you were somehow not a true member of the party...er, sorry, a true patriot if you didn't wear your lapel pin. I am so relieved to see someone point out that wearing a flag on your suit says precisely nothing at all about your patriotism or love of your country.

    October 5, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. Steve, Chelsea MI

    For at least 10 years before 2001 I had always used American Flag stamps. I was even a proponent of the flag burning amendment to the constitution. After 9/11, the flag was everywhere, and displayed by people as a sign of unity, and I appreciated that. After a while though, it became apparent that people were using it for fashion, rather than pride, and it wore thin.

    For the last few years, I've been using any non-flag stamp. Does that make me any less patriotic? No. Does it make people who say they wouldn't vote for Obama just because he's not wearing a pin any more idiotic? Yes. Think for yourselves people.

    October 5, 2007 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  6. Lynne, Watkinsville GA

    He refuses to wear OUR Flag, Hello wake up people!!! Refuse him as OUR president!!

    October 5, 2007 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. Valerie, Grand Rapids, MI

    The flag has always been a symbol of pride. If you can't wear it with pride, no matter what, you should not be running for President of the United States.
    People wear or profess all kinds of things and exhibit hipocritical behavior. I have concerns about a man who wants to be President who worries about the behavior of others instead of what the flag and the office of President symbolizes to the world. We don't need one more politically correct Democrat or Republican in office. That is true hipocrasy.

    October 5, 2007 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  8. Alan P, Arlington, TX

    You are all a bunch of racist narrow-minded bigots. You hate Obama because he is a Muslim man? Well, you can hate me even more because I am an ATHEIST.

    No let all of the "Your Going to Hell" threats start flying.

    How many of you have your own flags to fly proudly in front of your home on the proper holidays?

    "I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." -Susan B. Anthony

    October 5, 2007 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |

    He is going to burn the flag next and tell us that the flag means nothing. This is "Obama revealed".

    Can someone please take his name off the voting list for the Dems?

    October 5, 2007 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  10. John, S. Setauket, New York

    Where does it say that he "Refuses" to wear a label pin.

    The abuse of symbology is the issue. After 9/11 I was asked by a friend from the Georgia, "What's like in NY." My response was "About the same, just a lot more flags". For months afterwards, cars had flags (made in China) fly from the windows. Then then started falling off into the streets to be run over by other cars. Soon the symbol of our unity became just more debris on the side of the road.

    October 5, 2007 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. MT, Round Rock TX

    Since most people in this panel say that the pin does not mean anything about the person's values. What would happen if he wore a pin with the Iranian flag instead? Would that speak of his patriotism, or is a pin still just a pin? I'm not voting for him.

    October 5, 2007 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. Dan, Mountain View CA

    What's wrong with the pin? Is it too heavy for him??? He is a presidential candidate and should become an example by doing whatever related to patriotism from small thing to huge ones.

    People can't say that the most important is his/her heart, but who knows about our heart?? No one does except God. We are not showing a hypocrisy by just wearing such a small thing. If we want to be hypocrites, we will wear the big things not that a small thing like a pin.

    He is not patriotic, he just wants to do maneuver by saying that small pin thing is not important. I don't know what America will be if he becomes the President of The United States of America.

    October 5, 2007 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. Anonymous, Buffalo, NY

    Instead of using our nation's flag, Obama, or his campaign, has created his own symbolic flag...seen it yet? That big a departure just doesn't right with me.

    October 5, 2007 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  14. Catherine Saint Paul Mn

    I wear the pin. I wear it with a red, white and blue ribbon. Everyday.
    I didn't put it on for 911. 911 as horrific as it was/is, was not my reason. On 912, the other ladies in the office came around and gave everyone a flag pin and ribbon. I held it in my hand and looked at it, then around to my co-workers and watched as everyone put on their pin. Like some kind of badge of honor. I placed in in my desk drawer. Everyday some one would ask me, ”Where’s your pin?” I wondered to myself, why do they want me to wear it? I have never been to New York City. I have no family or friends there. I knew no one that was missing or dead.
    One day I looked at the news screen of streaming video on my computer and that’s when it hit me.
    We didn’t attack back. We didn’t reach out and touch someone. The Greatest Nation in the World and we did nothing. Oh we threw some bombs a month or so after the fact but no real collateral damage. No Osama. I was ashamed. Saddened. He big smoke but no fire.

    The day we went to war with Iraq I put my pin on.
    Why? Why then? Because my family is military. My father over 33 years. Both my Ex husbands, lifers. My friends. YOUR sons, husbands, brothers, nephews, uncles, daughters, sisters, wife’s, mothers, aunts, all of them. I hate 911, but it was buffered by distance and TV. But not Iraq. I wore my pin then as I do today.

    While I may not support our president. I support every man and woman that is fighting for him.
    I support my military. A Military that has fought for MY RIGHT to wear or not wear this pin, currently sitting over my heart with it is tattered ribbon. My flag of pride. My flag of prayer. My flag of honor. Every morning for the last 6 plus years, I put it on and it shows, I thought of you. I took a moment and I actively thought of you and thanked you.

    My Tribute. My country. My fellow Americans. My flag flies on my chest everyday. Not for you Joe Public. But for me. So that I remember everyday to thank all of those men and women who gave up their live, families, friends, jobs, homes, children and so much more. So that I wouldn’t have too. Thank you.

    Why do you wear your pin?

    October 5, 2007 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  15. Jason St.Louis MO

    there are plenty of reasons to NOT vote for Obama, this is not one of them. Thank you CNN for another non-news article.

    October 5, 2007 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. Z, St. Louis, Mo.

    I didnt read all of the comments..But it should be noted that lapel pin wearing as a "must have" to show loyalty is not uncommon to fascist type nations. The Nazi's did it, Russian Communists, and in North Korea everyone must wear at least one pin
    with Kim Jon Il or his father Kim Il
    Sung.Your status in the society and
    part is all about what pins you have.
    Is that what we have become? What
    cheap ribbon or flag magnets you have on your car and lapel pins show your
    loyalty? Thats what Barack's point is.

    October 5, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. Mike Adams, Rochester, NY

    I agree with him on this point. In the beginning it was a case of solidarity, and patriotism. However I have never felt that I had to prove my patriotism by wearing something manufactured. I will show it through my deeds and actions.

    October 5, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  18. Joe, St. Louis, MO

    This notion of Obama not being patriotic is too funny...and here's why: The person whose partiotism should be questioned is occupying the White House right now. This Georgie Bushie-man is directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of American troops that he sent on a wild WMD goose chase in the Middle East, has ruined America's reputation around the world, has made the executive branch look far worse than Clinton ever did by bringing this bunch of hoodlums from Texas to occupy his cabinet and key positions, and has shown that he's no more than an ineffective poster boy for the Republican Party. His piss-poor poll ratings shows a lack of support, confidence, and trust on behalf of the American people. If he loved his country, he would have resigned four years ago. Now there some real news for you!!

    October 5, 2007 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  19. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    To Eric in Newtown, PA:

    Drudge and The Truth in the same sentence?

    Not even in the same room, my friend!!!

    October 5, 2007 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  20. goyzilla, Minneapolis MN

    Not one day goes by where I am even less impressed by the major media outlets like CNN, NBC, and CBS. This story is such a non-story it isn't even funny. Let's pick on Obama's haircut, suit choice, or use of verbology to portray him as unpatriotic, divisive, or some other vulgarity.
    Obama is a fresh breath of common sense that our current administration has lacked...

    October 5, 2007 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. James, Tampa, FL

    Mr Obama needs a history lesson....this country is already great and I don't need any politician to tell me that. I'm already tried of hearing what bad shape this country is in from politician on both sides of the isle, but especially from our Democratic brethren. If it is so bad here...why do we have an illegal immigration problem? Hmmmmm.....could it be they what to come to a great country?

    October 5, 2007 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  22. r schier norwalk, ct

    What a stupid thing to waste time with...I'm almost embarrassed for
    commenting....however bush & the
    neocons are wearing the wrong flag
    anyways....might they be better off
    wearing the white flag with the blue
    star on it

    October 5, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  23. I sure don't

    Who cares?

    October 5, 2007 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  24. Gary Concord, OH


    October 5, 2007 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. E.Thurston,Woodbridge, Va.

    If he thinks it means nothing to wear a U.S. flag pin,then why should you think he will even support it if he was to be elected C.I.C. He is one of Hillary's biggest supporters and doesn't know it.

    October 5, 2007 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
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