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. D Kelly Geirgia

    I can't believe what I am reading. You guys think is ok? Wow we are in trouble! Any candidate that swears in on the Quran and won't wear an American pin is not someone that I would not vote for. I am really surprised that he is even allowed run in this election. If you guys support this guy you are nuts.

    October 5, 2007 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  2. Josh Maloney, Oakland, CA

    Oh boy. Somenthing for Bill O'Reilly to pounce on. The ironic part is that Obama is the most patriotic of all the candidates. The only reason why the Republicans would slam him for no pin is because they know they are going to lost the '08 election.

    October 5, 2007 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. Martin, Great Lakes Illinois

    I see hypocritical politicians who sport the flag pin (made in China) on their lapels all the time, stating that they believe in America and what she stands for, though, not one of them has a loved one spilling their life blood for this unless war, nor do they know or care to know how us veterans feel. This has been proven time and time again.

    October 5, 2007 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  4. David, Dallas Tx

    This man is running for President of the United States of America… how patriotic can he get. It just shows how the American general public care more about whats on the outside not the inside.

    Well-said. 🙂 Shortly after 9/11 the company I worked for gave pins to all employees. I quietly slipped mine into the trash. It's not that I'm unpatriotic or uncaring about terrorist attacks on our soil. It's that a pin can't reflect what I think and feel. And what I think and feel are much more real than a two-cent pin, or any other piece of my apparel. It's what's inside, not outside, that counts.

    October 5, 2007 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  5. Michael, Columbus, IN

    I am not sure which is worse Obama or Hillary. Either way we in trouble! Question EVERY American needs to ponder….When was the last time you heard a name that resembled Obama? He is not a true American, he is a devil in disguise. BEWARE! Do you think George Washington would ever approve of a guy with a foreign name, foreign background, representing America? He can claim to be an American all he wants, but never in a million years would I have never thought our country would acctually show support for a man who is a wanna be American. There is a reason he isn't wearing the "pin". His "real" country won't let him!! Wake up America!!! Ross Perot isn't looking so bad now!!

    Posted By Angela Athens GA : October 5, 2007 12:08 pm

    Angela: Your view/opinion/comments are pure hate. The blatant racism in your comments – and I'm sure shared by plenty of others in the country – are disgusting. So much for progress. Seriously? People stop with the Obama-Osama comments. What is this, the first grade?

    Let's start deporting all the true Americans like Angela to some island in the Pacific...we can name it Whites Only Island. The only requirement: your last name has to be Clark, Smith, Johnson, Lewis, or Thompson.

    October 5, 2007 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. Donnie Rio Grande City, TX

    They all should be wearing a logo for FDIC. All rich and all for the rich.

    October 5, 2007 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. Mike Johnson Nesbit, MS

    Just what I would expect from an individual raised and educated as a muslim

    October 5, 2007 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. cc, Texas

    Ok. He won't wear our flag pin., and our country is divided. Here's an idea. All of the liberals move north, all of the conservatives move to the south. We'll draw a line and cut the country in half. All of you liberals can burn the flags, pay for death row inmates to stay alive, and welcome all of the illegal aliens you want. Here in the south, where you'll get shot for burning the flag, and a Miranda violation won't get you off, I suspect that many of our current "liberal lack of common sense" problems will subside. One last thought in reference to illegals. Do any of you realize that we actually have what's called a "Border Patrol", and it's their job to keep illegals out? What a bunch of MORONS. I guess they don't teach common sense in crybaby school. Hey can be your president. Not mine.

    October 5, 2007 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  9. Chris, Morristown, NJ

    I like Obama but refusing the pin kinda irritates me a little. I dont know why, but there it is in the back of my head. This is going to come back to bite him

    Posted By Dave Meccariello : October 5, 2007 11:42 am

    I know why this irritates you... it's because you're not too bright and your brain doesn't function properly. If it did, then this wouldn't irritate you in the least.

    October 5, 2007 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. Truth

    The flag pin means you love america and support the troops. So he clearly hates america and especially the troops fighting in iraq for our way of life and to restore true democracy to iraq. If the Germans can bring democracy back after the Castro regime, why not their iraqi neighbors? All true americans have a tatoo of the flag. it should be automatic, like circumcision. anyone who doesn't agree with that can move up north to mexico.

    October 5, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. PJ - Brooklyn, NY

    I have to say that I agree with Kelley from Lemon Grove, CA; I'm disappointed. If the Senator wants to be President (the elected Executive LEADER of this country), then he should want to show pride in the symbol of our great nation. If he is concerned about the actions of other elected officials bringing disgrace to or discrediting our flag, then I say that is all the more reason to wear the pin and "restore" the flag to its rightful place of honor.

    Our flag is a sacred symbol our nation and, by extension, of the ideals embodied in the Constitution. If you're unhappy with the way your elected officials are running the show then you should become more involved in your government. You should not, however, use your displeasure as license to degrade the symbol of the ideals for which you supposedly stand.

    Last, but not least, while this story certainly isn't headline news (Oh, CNN, when will you move from “news” to “journalism”), it does contain information about the mindset of the candidate and should be considered by voters. Is this the most important news of the day? No. Is the story intended to grab readers by playing on emotions and "hot button" issues? I would say so. That being said, the man wants to be our President. No statement that he makes is insignificant.

    October 5, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. Wynter, Loudon, NH

    On the day after 9/11, I, like most people, needed a flag to bring up my morale and to show that we were united after such a terrible day. I was on travel and away from my family. So I bought one and hung it outside my apartment where I was staying.

    But soon afterward, the flag and "patriotism" were used as a weapon against anyone that did not follow the current administration. Since then I have not flown the flag unless at halfmast. I don't have any bumper stickers that have flags on them or the stereotypical "we support our troops" stickers. The reason is simply that their meaning was taken over by the politicians driving this war as some sort of popular effort. When I look at these bumper stickers and flags now they appear hollow and lacking meaning.

    It's shameful what has been done to our flag by this administration. Once a proud symbol of our unity has been tarnished by this administration and turned into a misguided political advertisment.

    Bring back honor to our flag.

    Telling it like I see it,

    October 5, 2007 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. Maryann, Edison, NJ

    There are more worthy topics to report, but since this one is out there, I wouldn not have given it another thought if Obama had not started to wear the pin, but to take it off???? This speaks volumes and I'm listening....anyone else?

    October 5, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  14. Liberalgirl Cincinnati OH

    It cracks me up that some people use the ability to comment to constantly degrade, Ed doesn't comment on the story or the fact that this is probably less than critical information and that the space could probably have been used for something else, no he comments on how a candidate has to dummy things down for the "intellectually challenged" public. Sounds to me like Eddie has a complex and for deucebollards most days he wears a wedding ring you idiot.

    October 5, 2007 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  15. Bradley Schaubs, Greeley, CO

    By not wearing a flag pin, Obama is really making a true statement. Bush and high-ranking Republicans took the values symbolized by our great nation's flag and perverted them into corruption. Now, the government serves itself, not the people IT'S SUPPOSED TO SERVE!

    Wearing the pin now is a meaningless expression of patriotism. The only true way to restore the meaning of the red, white and blue is to unite and wash out the idiocy of the old administration. Barack is exactly the kind of man we need to help us achieve this goal. I will break down Obama into the U.S. flag.

    RED = Sacrifice. Obama nearly ruined his early political career by fighting against the war. Today, we see just how true his words, spoken in 2002, are. If Obama is willing to stick out his neck to give Americans a second chance in the world, then he is more than qualified to be president.

    WHITE = Purity. In the last eight years, the Bush administration has governed us, spending more than half of it lying to the public and engaging in scandolous behavior (hint: remember the whole phone tap deal?). Who here can name the crimes committed by Bush, Cheney, Limbaugh, McCain, and Craig? On the other hand, Democrats have yet to have any negative publicity. And on that ground, Obama is the only candidate who does not have any notable background that would work against him. Plus, he's running on something more than HRC's "first lady" platform or Guiliani's "mayor of NYC as of 9/11".

    BLUE = Devotion and duty to God and to all. Again, the Bush administration has spent the last eight years serving its own interests, ignoring those of "we, the people" in the process. Because of this, the United States has become the world's laughing stock. Obama is not afraid to face what ultimately must be done. Obama said he'd meet with controversial world leaders, such as Iran's president. JFK said something along the lines of negotiating with one's enemies without fear. If Obama fulfills all his campaign promises, then the US will rise as a respectable power again. Bush relied on paranoia; Obama relies on strength and unity.

    In my mind, Bush is the worst president in the history of the U.S., but Obama may be the best by contrast. Let's see this fine gentleman into office!

    OBAMA 2008!

    October 5, 2007 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  16. Bill, Columbus, OH

    It's a PIN people, get over it. I'd be doing anything to differentiate myself from the tyrants currently running this country who drape themselves in the flag as they run us straight into the ground.

    October 5, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. Richard Cheney Bush,TX

    Those who do not wear flag pins are not patriots and should be shot for hating america and trooops. They're probably all secret muslims. Patriotism isn't actions or deeds, it's wearing pins and waving tiny flags. Also, if you don't have a yellow ribbon sticker on the back of your car, you're probably gay.

    October 5, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. Mati, Seattle, WA

    This guy starts to be annoying. He is trying to show he is doing everything different.. Voila.. this is how he'll bring the real change to American people! I hope he said something else interesting during his Iowa campaign..

    October 5, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  19. Cable King Pittsburgh PA

    Flaunting of the flag is many symptomatic of thoughtless patriotism.

    But, jeeeeez us, why would Obama go out of his way to create such a distraction?

    I used to say that he was the future of the Democratic Party.

    I'm ammending my comment to say the "distant" future.

    October 5, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  20. Kevin, Waterbury Center, VT

    Rock on Obama! It's what's in your heart that counts, a little pin means nothing unless you can back it up. Cheers from Vermont, you have my support!

    October 5, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  21. Brandon, Cincinnati

    Wearing a pin itself is not a patriotic act. Having the American Flag on the pin is what makes this an act of Patriotism and support for the well being of our nation. Many have distaste for the wearing of the pin, but in a similar instance, should we not be allowed to fly an American Flag again in both private and public places, for fear that we, individually or corporately, will be judged for our level of patriotism, or lack there of?

    Who judges patriotic acts?? He says, "But after a while, you start noticing people wearing the lapel pin but not acting very patriotic". It's seemingly easier to judge a lapel pin as a symbol of patriotism than a patriotic heart, doesn't it?

    Additionally, Obama's denial of wearing this pin that displays our National Flag, is increasingly unpatriotic because it seems his only tactic in not wearing the pin, is more press for his campaign. Whether society agrees with his move or not, this act does not bear good for America, because Obama is seemingly running away from a Patriotic symbol because other political leaders wear this same pin, and because he feels these leaders aren't patriotic. Seems to me he's a follower in nature for his reasoning on this issue; in these times we need a leader, and unfortunately he is not one.

    October 5, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. John in Bowie, Maryland

    Obama has revealed himself once again as a person that cares very little for this country and it's citizens. He could have pretended to demonstrate his patriotism AND worn the flag pin. Instead, he chooses to denigrate every patriotic American that wears the American flag. What's next? Will he start wearing an Iranian flag? Barack Hussein Obama is a self-centered fool.

    October 5, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  23. Rex Zinn

    Not that it is relevant in the world of political BS. However, something so little is this will end up in a torrential downfall. Viva Democracy...

    October 5, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  24. Bill, Bloomington IL

    Obama has lost anyway.

    October 5, 2007 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  25. Matt Cutugno, New York City

    Actually, if the pin is a fashion fixture in politics, then wearing one IS demonstrating patriotism. Mr. Obama is being contrary to draw attention to himself.

    October 5, 2007 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
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