October 5th, 2007
05:57 PM ET
15 years ago

Two of Obama's rivals weigh in on flag pin

Watch Richardson weigh in on Obama's lack of a flag pin.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama's, D-Illinois, decision not to wear an American Flag pin was dismissed as a non-issue Friday by two of his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, said she didn't know if it was a "serious issue" that Obama didn't wear a pin and added, "There are so many ways that Americans can show their patriotism." (Video: Clinton weighs in on the flag pin)

"Wearing a flag pin. Flying the flag. Pledging allegiance to the flag. Talking about the values of America. Teaching your children about what a great nation we have. Standing up for those values. Speaking out. There's just so many ways one can demonstrate patriotism," Clinton said in a press conference.

She added that she wears her pin "from time to time."

Meanwhile, CNN's Don Lemon asked New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who was wearing a flag pin at the time, what he thought of the matter.

"Patriotism is what you do and I don't think anyone should - if you feel good about wearing it, wear it,” he said. “I wear it. It's perfectly good to wear it. I love this flag. I love this country. I wear it. But patriotism is about what you do, not what you say."

Obama told a KCRG-TV reporter this week that he has made a conscious decision not to wear the pin.

"I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest,” the Democratic presidential candidate told the reporter 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."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. James Turley

    I dissagree! he knows it will be looked at in the media, making a point to not wear the flag tells the world he isnt proud of his country? Certinally not good for someone running for President, he unfortunately is just too too inexperienced appearing to the world be a leader of such a great country.

    CLINTON/EDWARDS would be a great ticket.

    forget any of the ole republicians running....None stand a chance...either too old, or an airhead like Guiliani...

    After watching all the debates, Dem & Rep, my firm decision is CLINTON, she is by far the best candiate for President. I wish we could vote Bush out NOW!


    October 5, 2007 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  2. laurinda,ny

    I certainly don't blame him for not wearing his flag pin. I stopped wearing one too after I turned it over and their in little tiny writing it said made in China. Now to me that isn't very patriotic. I'll fly the American flag anyday. If I were George Bush I would take mine off to.

    October 5, 2007 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  3. Joe

    Hey Dan from TX. Great comment. I would LOVE to know where you get your information?? Must be from moveon.org. What a typical response from an uneducated bonehead than to just make up an absolutely ludicrous statement and present it as fact. Wether Obama wears a flag pin or not does not matter a hoot. What does was HIS decision to MAKE it an issue by going into a political statement of why he does not wear one. The media did not invent this story, he put it out there in an effort to pander votes from the far left. Lord knows what a bunch of socialists they have become. Drink your coolaide, I am sure you are right that the millitary donates more to that commie than to ANY other candidate.

    October 5, 2007 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  4. Jerry, NY

    Sana is writing about Islam. Does she know that Osama's latest tape was saying that all Americans should embrace Islam. By the way are you fasting these days? Obama does not desrve to be our president. Period.

    October 5, 2007 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  5. Truth Teller

    Today's big stories on the CNN Ticker:

    1. Barack Obama believes actions speak louder than flag pins on your lapel.

    2. Barack Obama misused an adverb.

    Quite a testament to how little there is to criticize.

    October 5, 2007 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  6. Big Bill

    Don’t you know that you have to wear a flag pin to prove that you are not a “Phony American”?

    October 5, 2007 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  7. A. Thomas, New York, NY

    Obama said, "I decided I won't wear that (american flag) pin on my chest.”

    That is a very drastic and damaging statement for a guy who wants to be the next american president. I can support Hillary's position of "wearing it from time to time."

    This shows Obama's INEXPERIENCE AND NAVIETY as a politician and presidential candidate. He is simply not a seasoned politician, and may fumble if nominated, and may bring embarassment to the country if elected.

    Obama, now you know why you are down in polls, and falling.

    October 5, 2007 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  8. Adrienne; Lawton, OK

    Do people seriously even notice when a candidate is or is not wearing a pin? And do the American people really pin their hopes to a man's lapel because there happens to be a flag there? I think not, and had he not mentioned, no one would have even noticed that Mr. Obama was not wearing the pin. However, his point is valid in that there are people who consider visual representations of their patriotism to be enough–will the troops overseas fighting for our families and lives be brought home more quickly because he wears a pin, or because he votes against political measures that keep them there for 22 months at a time? I say, forget the pin either way, and focus on more substantial issues.

    October 5, 2007 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  9. Pete, Washington

    Hey, I am a REAL patriot. Honest. In fact, I think we should ask congress to pass a Constitutional Amendment that would require, All public officials, ALL candidates, and EACH and EVERY American Citizen to buy and wear a U.S.Flag Pin every day. In this way , we can immediatly see who is, and who is NOT, a real American patriot.
    We are all proud of our country, it is our symbol, the more we see it on everybody's clothing, the more patriotic we will feel. By doing so , we can quickly bring an end to the Iraq War, balance our budget, solve the immigration problem, finally bring a swift end to global warming, and get the republicans and the democrats to work together and take care of the rest of America's problems...Yep, this will take care of everything. At the same time we can "weed-out" all those unpatriotic 'disloyal' folks, who call themselves Americans (how disgusting), and ship them back to wherever their great grandparents came from. After all, we need to know if you are one of us, the flag-waving, God-loving, Flag-Pin wearing Americans, or one of THEM.

    Well, shall we start a petition drive, or should we call all of our congressmen at 9 a.m., making sure that they are wearing THEIR flag-pin, and then tell them to start drafting that most critical, patriotic, Constitutional Amendment. Boy,..I feel better already.

    October 5, 2007 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  10. Amy L. Miami, Fl

    Your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore.

    October 5, 2007 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  11. FT Doylestown,Pa

    OKay No Pin FLAG.....that will get some more $$$$$$'s from the MoveOn Buddies.
    Then in All your Ads and on the Stages when your giving a speech.... DON'T HAVE THE AMERICAN FLAG AS BIG AS A HOUSE behind you. If your sincere this should be done too. Let's see if you do!

    October 5, 2007 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  12. Pragmatic Thought, Phoenix, AZ

    Uh, who cares? You know, one day last week my socks didn't match either.

    October 5, 2007 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  13. Armando, Dallas, TX

    Mr. Obama,

    This is a great country, already! Removing your American flag pin, consciously, is but an insult to many of us. Attention, you're getting, support from many of us, you won't.

    October 5, 2007 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  14. Erik, Bowie, MD

    This is ALWAYS what we do in this country. We argue over stupid, whimsical, dumbed down non-issues. If you get laid off from your job, is Obama's decision whether to wear a flag lapel pin or not going to help you find a job? Will is help you pay your child's college tuition? Will it help you stay on time with your mortgage payments? NO! It's a non-issue.

    October 6, 2007 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  15. M. Seewald, Milwaukee, Wi

    As a member of the military, I was sent overseas after September 11. I am proud to have served my country. I don't have a flag pin on my lapel. This whole nonsenseical story reminds me of the time I was at military leadership school.

    My commanding officer, in one particular session, told us something similar to what Obama is saying. He said that what you do is how you lead, not just telling people what to do or what they wanna hear. It is not what you have done before that makes you a good leader, it is what you continue to do and what you will do. Be proud of your accomplishments, but don't dwell on the past–look for new things to accomplish. At that, he took his awards and certificates and burned them, then asked us if he had no longer done anything because he had nothing to display.

    To those of you who have posted any comments saying that because of a pin, Mr. Obama is naive and inexperienced, you insult my intelligence and yours. If that pin was truly the mark of an intelligent, partriotic leader, I must ask George W. Bush to remove his. If this truly was a symbol of such, maybe they should be wearing a pin of the Declaration of Independance or the Constitution.

    The flag is nothing but a piece of cloth. It is a symbol, to be sure, of our graet nation. But our nation has lost its way and the flag has lost much if its meaning. It has become very comercialized. Give Barack credit for recognizing this and saying let's move away from the crowd and on to new things. Removing a lapel pin does not reduce what someone stands for. It does not undermine their experience. If anything, Mr. Obama, if you put his actions with his words, doesn't want to be a fake who is all talk and no action. He wants to lead America by leading through action. We shouldn't be electing someone based on experience. In fact I beleive that unless a person has already been president they aren't qualified. We should be electing someone who is able to make good, level-headed judgements. Please, people, be smart and do your homework. What you view as naievity or inexperience, can be, in fact, real leadership–new ideas and ways of thinking. Because what has been done before hasn't worked. Why follow the same failed politics and policies?

    CNN...I as an everyday viewer, I am disapionted. A claim as "the most trusted name in news," makes me think twice after seeing this reported as relevant news knowing full well many people will base their decision on this. To see a respected repoter claim the the national polls show Clinton at 50+% and suggest that this year is going to be like a 'national primary?' Shame. Unbiased facts is all you should be reporting.

    October 6, 2007 03:47 am at 3:47 am |
  16. Jim, Denver, CO

    But, you flag decal won’t get you
    Into Heaven anymore.
    They’re already overcrowded
    From your dirty little war
    Now Jesus don’t like Killin’
    No matter what the reasons for.
    And your flag decal won’t get you into Heaven anymore. J. Prine

    October 6, 2007 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  17. Craig H, Mpls, MN

    I disagree that this "lapel pin story" is not an important topic based on the vast amount of comments on both sides of the issue. There seem to be many people out there who do not know that a pin on your lapel does not make you a patriot nor is it even a "minimum requirement" to that end. People should know this, or they will be easily fooled by hucksters and make bad decisions at the poles like we saw on 2000 and 2004. In fact, a symbol can be turned to mean just the opposite of what it used to mean based on the actions of those who wear/use it. People who think that a flag pin is minimum requirement to being a patriot are the ones that defile its meaning in this case and that is why Obama does not wear the pin in my estimation.

    October 6, 2007 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. shawn

    there has to be a reason,he took that pin off ,embracing for islam ya never know

    October 6, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  19. S.T., Arlington, TX

    Obama is right to distance himself from the lapel pin. It's become more than a bit Orwellian. Wearing the pin doesn't show love for America; it shows a willingness to exploit 9/11 for political purposes, and it symbolizes a dangerously un-American "9/11 changed everything" mentality. The pin, like the equally vapid "support our troops," really means "shut your mouth."

    October 6, 2007 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  20. Craig H, Mpls, MN

    I really hope you are joking.

    October 6, 2007 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  21. Dave, Cheverly, MD

    The average American that has seen this on TV for 2 seconds, already think it is a stupid topic. No one is falling for a ridiculous attack. It has quit the opposite effect by looking like it is attacking Obama and therefore has gotten him sympathy. Especially when the other Candidates agreed with him that Patriotism is what you do and not whether one wears a Made in China pin. CNN
    you’re seen as attacking the underdog and America hates that. Ironically CNN has made him the underdog by touting Hillary as the inevitable front-runner. Good thing Obama has the money to combat future dumb attacks. If CNN keeps reporting this, Obama should put out an AD with him taking off a flag pin flip it over and it reads Made in China, Then look into the camera and ask Now is this a symbol of Patriotism and not my time as Community Organizer, State Senator US Senator etc..

    October 6, 2007 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  22. StevenAK, Pittsburgh, PA

    Hey Larry Craig, Duke Cunningham, and Tom Delay all wear the American Flag and they all have been indicted!

    October 9, 2007 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  23. mike from idaho

    two things... I'd like to know if what I heard about obama not participating in the pledge of legence and about him swearing in on the Kuran is true or propaganda. I could be wrong, but I believe that between gender, race and the old school values of the older "voting" crowd..that neither Obama or Clinton can be elected. Right or wrong, it only happens in the movies. I don't really know if I am a democrat or republican and I am currenty undecided, but do believe that democrats need to focus on reality and put somebody in that can compete.

    January 6, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
1 2 3 4