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. nate, Ct

    I see a lot of people who feel he's bashing 'the flag' but it's the PIN he's talking about. That thing is on every person involved in politics and has completely destroyed any chance of me looking at that flag in a patriotic way. I hope out of the DEMS that he wins- smart man.

    October 5, 2007 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  2. Bruce Carter, Plano, TX

    Our country is not perfect – but it is the best on the planet. I love our country, it is great right now, even with its fault, and I have no trouble whatsoever publically displaying a flag to show my patriotism.

    October 5, 2007 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  3. Nick, Falls Church, VA

    This is a man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of this country. He should use every opportunity to display his patriotism.

    October 5, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  4. anon, ottawa, OH

    While many muslim kill the american soldiers, we have a muslim candidate running to be our next president. He is a muslim in hiding, because:

    a) He was born by a muslim father, and also raied by a muslim step father. Acoording to muslim tradition, Obama is muslim for life.

    b) He has a muslim middle name, Hussein.

    c) His mother kept a koran at home.

    d) Based on his book, he spent some years in a muslim school in Indonesia, where he step father lived.

    e) According to his christian church minister, Obama did not attend the sunday services regularly.

    f) He had a shady land deal with a muslim lobbyist to buy a parcel next to his house.

    Now, you know why in his heart does not want to wear an american flag pin.

    October 5, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  5. Steve, Grosse Pointe, MI

    Say goodbye to Barack Obama's candidacy.
    He has no real experience. And now he has shown he lacks judgement.

    Perhaps he should be required to watch the entire series "The War" by Ken Burns so he can understand what has made and continues to make this country great.

    We don't need some political opportunist to "share his vision of what will make this country great". We need a credible leader who can lead in fair weather and foul, not another complainer without a plan or the guts to support this country in a time of war.

    October 5, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  6. James, Waukegan IL

    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?

    For what it is worth, I used to wear the flag pin after 9/11, I also bought one of those yellow support our troop magnets for my car from my locat Vietnam Veterans group where the money I spent went to the VETERANS instead of Wal-Mart's bottom line. I noticed that there were those wearing the, “flag” who supposedly “supported the troops” until the troops came home and stated that they were against going back to Iraq for a third and fourth time. Those “patriotic” citizens then had the audacity to tell those who fought that they are not, “patriotic.” That loved ones of those who were killed in the line of duty and who are now against the war are not, “patriotic.” Personally, I don’t want anything to do with those so-called patriotic people. It is actions, not a symbol that proves your patriotism.

    October 5, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. Phil M, Minneapolis, MN

    To all the people complaining about him not wearing the pin: do you wear one every day? You don't? Then shut up!

    October 5, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Backing our fighting men in war is one thing and being patriotic is another thing.
    Does the American government do anything about white collar crimes, crooked government legislators on the State and Federal level and other various government officials. The only people that have true justice in America are people that have the money to buy it. This is the problem in America not Home grown terroists and
    terroists from other lands. America will never fall to terroists but it could fall due to ampathy of the government toward the common people and ampathy of the common people toward an toward a non caring goverment that cares more about crooked politicians, crooked lawyers and does nothing about white collar crimes.

    October 5, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. Steve, Washington DC

    Wearing a flag has become meaningless to only cetain people. It isnt meaningless to me and millions upon millions of other Americans. Why couldnt he wear the pin AND show how much he is a great patriot??? And someone called this a "smart play"? Please...it is a joke and isthis is the only way he can get his point of view on the war across??? Pretty pathetic if you ask me.

    October 5, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. Gee Los Angeles

    I agree with The President and I have felt like that every time we have a national attack or problem. But still today we havve racial issues and we as black men are still not considered amerikkkin. Until this country gets it in the heart as to treat people like people I will never support the flag or the constitution. I agree stongly. I am not considered american so why should I wear a flag. So I should wear the African Flag but then when I go to africa I am considered American. But after building this country from ground up, we still or not considered Americans. SO I say forget the flag and take care of the people.

    October 5, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  11. MC, Bowie Maryland

    It is his right NOT to wear it. It shows that he thinks differently from the others on Capital Hill. Obama is for people who are ready for a change. He may not win but you have to respect that he is the ONLY one and I mean the ONLY one who is trying to break away from the disfunctional politics that we see now.

    October 5, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  12. Dave, Madison, WI

    Hooray, Barack! The faux patriotism displayed by sooooo many people makes me sick...the 'hey, I'm wearing a pin so I must be a good American' mentality that has permeated our culture has created a country of phony patriots.

    I am now more likely to vote for Obama...but only if Edwards and Clinton have no chance of winning the nomination.

    October 5, 2007 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  13. Pete, Washington

    Nice try... Wow, the Hillary attack machine has learned from the republicans how effective 'swiftboating" your opponents can be by questioning their patriotism. The funny thing is, SHE does not wear a flag pin either. So,she has her 'hit machine' try and finish off Barack and thus, walk to the nomination witout a real contender...

    As you can see by most of the people, (except the republicans) are very supportive of Obama, and can see through this poor attempt to engage in an 'attack of personal distruction.'...

    Most Americans KNOW about his integrity and his love for this country. Nice try, folks.....

    Unity, Leadership and Judgment...Obama '08

    October 5, 2007 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  14. John, Arlington VA

    Someone said – "If you don't agree with Obama on the issues, fine, I can deal with that. But to not vote for him just because of a small pin is a petty, small minded way to think.". They fail to realize that it isnt the action of not wearing a pin, its his reasoning behind it. So no, I wouldnt vote for someone with his reasoning....EVER. I wouldnt vote for any of the democratic candidates, but that is another story...

    October 5, 2007 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  15. Jeromy, Spokane, WA

    I think that he is standing up for his principles and THAT is patriotic. After September 11 everyone was wanting to show their appreciation to this country but now it is being worn as more decoration then a real testament to how you feel. I would be more willing to vote for someone like this who shows us his ideals versus someone who tells us what they think that we want to hear. Good for you Obama! Go get 'em!

    October 5, 2007 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. Bill, Columbus OH

    How on earth can he says he doesn't wear the pin because some professing to be Patriots wear same pins. Then why does he want to live for 4 years in the White house where some of those people are presently living in? Obama is playing his luck too far. Someone better tell this guy that Silence at times may do more good than opening your mouth like an Obama. His campaign has just taken a turn for the worse mark those words.

    October 5, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  17. Claude, Mesa AZ

    Thank you Obama. We need to take off these pins. We are a hypocritical nation. Everyone in the world knows it. Our country actions do not reconcile to what our flag stands for. Obama is right!!! Start living it and then wear your pin. Our politicians (especially) Hillary Clinton is bought and paid for. Obama is not. He defies Washington politics and we will have my vote along with everyone else in my immediate family (10). Keep exposing the truth! Maybe, when we go to war with Iran maybe people will start getting that our country is in the toilet.

    October 5, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  18. Jenn, Charlottesville, VA

    Why is this even news???? What's happened to this country? There are so many much more important things going on in the world right now and all we care about is a dang pin?!?!? Come on America...wake up!

    October 5, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  19. Steve - Peoria ,IL

    I would think the one thing that unites us is the American flag; Democrats are the ones being divisive by identifying the Americans who fly their flags as primarily conservatives, and in not wanting to fly their own flags, Democrats come across like pouty children who say "no, I won't do it".

    October 5, 2007 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  20. Brenna, Memphis TN

    Obama hits the nail on the head. I could not care less what is on his lapel but rather care more about his vision for this country and how to get us back on track and in better standing with the world.

    October 5, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. Scott, Dallas TX

    I suppose Mr. Obama also no longer wears his wedding ring since it just a phony symbol of fidelity and so many married people aren't truly faithful to their spouses... Yes its just a stupid pin but it tells us how he really thinks. It won't keep me from voting for him, but does make me question his judgement knowing that it matters to some.

    October 5, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  22. Charles Kelly, Radcliff, KY

    regardless of whether or not you wear the flag , the problem is that the flag should never be used as a fashion statement to gain publicity, it's a rotten stunt. Unfortunatley some people don't have pride in what the flag truly represents, but thats probably because they've never experienced the feeling of coming home to it.

    October 5, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. James, Hickory, NC

    A president or presidental canidate should never not say they won't wear a US flag whether a pin or other sysmbol.

    October 5, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. Nate, Franklin, PA

    This is just another example of why Obama is bad for America. We are at war with a muslim country, and this muslim candidate won't wear a U.S. lapel flag. Doesn't this make anyone else a little suspicious of his intentions?

    October 5, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  25. Sharon

    Ed in Ellenville, NY

    If the worst thing that Barack Obama ever does is misuse an adverb, he can be my president any day of the week.

    October 5, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
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