October 5th, 2007
05:57 PM ET
14 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. frederick burt. redditch. england.

    I wear the flag pin everyday on my leather jacket and to make sure i dont lose it i have fixed it in the usual way and then super glued it as well.
    This is to ensure that i never lose it.
    Here is the punch line, i am british, born and bred in London U.K. age now 71 years.
    I wear it with pride because i believe in the United States of America.
    Keep up the fight against terrorism.
    So Obama, show some respect for your country.
    From a true Brit.

    October 5, 2007 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  2. Bruce, Colorado Springs

    'Obama needs to be reminded "FREEDOM IS NOT FREE."'
    Are you sure about that? What does a war against people that weren't fighting us have to do with OUR freedom? Freedom isn't free, though. We will have to fight to get it back from W and Cheney.

    October 5, 2007 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  3. Robert Miami, Florida

    Wearing or not wearing the flag pin is probably not what has made this news. However, a conscious decision not to wear the pin? If Obama is one of the many people that live in this country and are ashamed of it, maybe he should move to another country (The best country in the world despite its flaws) he should leave. As an American, he has that freedom.


    Someone who didn't have the privilege of being born here.

    October 5, 2007 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  4. Jonathan, Cambridge, MA

    Only one of the presidential candidates on either side wears a flag pin, and yet the media chooses to focus the story on Obama. Could it be that there's a vast left-wing conspiracy too? You know, the one that has been working overtime since he declared in February to trivialize him.

    People complain that they don't know enough about Obama to support him. Well, maybe it's because every time he gives a major policy speech, it either barely gets mentioned or it's buried on page A-26. But whenever he changes his wardrobe or makes the cover of GQ or whenever the Crush on Obama Girl makes a new Youtube video, it's front page news.

    October 5, 2007 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    I hang my flag everyday, and I am thankful for everyday that I can. I think it represents all the great things this country has to offer and all those things that one day will be great because we keep working towards making it better.

    October 5, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  6. Cindy, Hammond, LA

    I don't know who to vote for....idiots who make big deals out of little ones or free spenders who like to share my income with illegals & non-workers...

    October 5, 2007 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  7. Richmond, Va

    What a waste of time this story is.

    October 5, 2007 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  8. Eduardo, Los Angeles, CA

    One should wear the pin if you feel like doing so and as long as one's motives are honest and honorable.

    Mr. Obama's statement "...I'm going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great." In my opinion sends out the wrong message at home and abroad. This is a great nation and Mr. Obama should feel proud and privileged to be exercising his rights and enjoy the freedoms our great nation is providing him and everyone else.

    God Bless America!

    October 5, 2007 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  9. Daryl, Phoenix AZ

    Well he's aligned with Hillary and what she says goes. I wasn't going to vote for him anyway once I saw they may be running together. I like Obama, it's too bad. If only the Democrats had a quality candidate to get behind, maybe I should not assume quality is a prerequisite.

    October 5, 2007 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  10. Jeff D, Hattiesburg MS

    This is the most ridiculous fluff reporting I've seen. But these are the same folks who gave us 24/7 breaking news coverage of Paris going to jail. It's all distraction folks.. focus on the small stuff and ignore the men behind the curtain (who own CNN)...

    October 5, 2007 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  11. Brian R Wells San Diego, California

    Thank you Mr. Obama. I consider myself as much a patriot as any other ( 22 years military service ), but I refuse to participate with psuedo patriotic events/practices.
    I am also a sports fan and I refuse to stand and sing when God Bless America is played at the ball park. I proudly stand and sing the National Anthem though.
    As Mr Obama, I don't believe I have to 'show my patriotism' to others. It smacks of forced behavior, similar to the Nazi's, Communists or any other despotic regime.
    America is better than that. And Yes, I realize we are at war.

    October 5, 2007 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  12. Charles Baxter, Portland, OR

    Why is this newsworthy?

    It's completely irresponsible to be talking about lapel pins when there are real issues at stake. Stop fiddling while Rome is burning and talk about something that actually affects people.

    October 5, 2007 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  13. Bob, Seattle, WA

    Shame on Obama. Taking the pin OFF after having worn it IS the statment. Would be different had he NEVER put it on. His statment will hurt him no matter what the rationalization he or anybody else come up with. This will be good for Queen Hillary and eventually good for the Republicans.

    October 5, 2007 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  14. MFJD, Minneapolis, MN

    THIS TOPIC IS THE BIGGEST WASTE OF TIME. If not wearing a pin is a symbol of an unpatrotic American blah blah blah, then I sure hope there are more that 303 million people in this country wearing pins right now. People, we all love our country, our troops, our freedoms, our flag etc., so get over your misguided patriotism. If you think Barak should be wearing a pin, then I hope you are wearing one as well. Were you wearing the pin pre-9/11? Was Bush, Cheney, etc? Nope. And if you think wearing the pin is important, then you have probably let yourself be misguided about all the ridiculous things that are happening these days. Again, such a dumb topic.

    October 5, 2007 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  15. timbuck, houston, texas

    I support people who do not wrap themselves in the flag. I'm sick and tired of conservatives' "terrorism" and "patriotism" sloganeering. Get over it. Bravo to Obama!!!!!!!!

    October 5, 2007 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  16. Truman, Castaic CA

    It is truly amazing
    that none of you see what is really going on. This blindness of our
    populous is really the problem with America. You actually believe
    that one of these candidates is different from another and that the
    two parties stand for different principles. Don't you see that the
    same people have been in power for decades and the changing of
    control in congress from one party to another is mere theatrics. If
    Hillary is elected, either a Clinton or a Bush will have been in the
    presidency for a minimum of 20 years!
    senators started back in the 1970's and keep getting re-elected. If
    you want our country back YOU
    have to stop putting the same people in power, remove the career
    politicians, introduce term limits on senators and sponsor true
    statesmen. Otherwise, the agenda of the status quo will continue as
    it has for the past 75 years. Learn your history people and stop
    repeating your mistakes...I beg this of you. Oh, and don't forget to
    wear your flag pin!

    October 5, 2007 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  17. Tony Nazar, Wilton, ME

    I no longer fly the flag. I avoid "flag" postage stamps. I still stand straight and uncover when a parade color guard passes.

    I'm so sick of the chickenhawk neo-cons who wrapthemselves in the flag but either never served or went AWOL when service wasn't convenient. I don't want to be mistaken for one of those pukes. I served my country.

    I will put up a brand new flag on Jan 20th, 2009, assuming there is an inaugeration and not a coronation.

    October 5, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  18. Loren, EC, MD

    How about the guy is running for president! Is that not patriotic enough???

    October 5, 2007 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  19. Terry Flynn, Townsend, Ma.

    My husband and I have flown the American Flag ever since we bought our house complete with a flag pole in the front yard. My husband was a boy scout and scout leader for years, he knows his flag etiquette, once stopping on our main street in town to pick up a flag that had fallen from it's display on Memorial Day weekend. We fly our flag year round, when it becomes tattered we replace it and bring the old one to the V.F.W. for proper disposal. Below our flag flies a service flag for our son who served in Iraq for a year and a half, although he is home, when I pull into my driveway and look up it, it instills a sense of pride in me for all our great men and women who serve and are forever in our thoughts, it will not come down until they are all home. So much for the mundane symbol that some people seem to think it is. Maybe they need to look up the definition of patriotism, or better yet look into their own hearts.

    October 5, 2007 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  20. S-H Lloyd, Scottsdale, AZ

    This is non issue...move onto more important things.

    October 5, 2007 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  21. Happy Ignoranum

    I agree with Barak, and I believe the majority of posters. There's no reason he should wear a symbol of the flag – it's just a meaningless scrap.

    October 5, 2007 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  22. Kay, Las Vegas, NV

    Hey Lance in Monrovia:
    Very touching story...I'm teary-eyed...
    So I guess we should all be tired of looking at the flags that are proudly displayed DAILY at the US Capitol; every state capital; all county, city, state, and federal buildings; schools; universities, military installations, and so on....it doesn't mean anything because they're displayed every day! It doesn't mean anything if we DON"T display it! Ever heard the old phrase "out of sight, out of mind?" If people don't see our symbols of freedom, they don't relate to those symbols and that's when they don't mean anything! Why is it that when Americans are proud of their country and everything it stands for and are not ashamed to make that pride known, they are labeled as "right-wing nutjobs?" We don't demean the symbolism of our flag by flying it high every day and getting irate when people from other countries disrepect it, which is done in pure hatred and jealousy of all Americans. Those people do it to hurt us because they know how proud we are and how much that flag means to us. We're the greatest country that this earth has ever seen. If it weren't for the advances that have come out of this country and its citizens, the world would still be living without any of the conveniences most have all enjoyed for the last 100+ years. You, your grandmother, and your good buddy Barack should never be embarrassed to show your pride and respect for that by displaying your flag or other symbols of American pride EVERY DAY. But, sadly, you won't and neither will he....I doubt either of you get it.

    October 5, 2007 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  23. Kay, Las Vegas, NV

    Brian H:
    That was quite the tear-jerker! New Jersey never sounded so pleasant...Mom and apple pie,Dad and the Norman Rockwell setting...the whole bit...then WHAM! the true liberal get his Bush Smackdown on! Amazing how you can twist a story about Obama and a lapel pin (or lack thereof) into the usual Bush-bashing rhetoric. I'm sure I'm not alone in "longing for the days" when liberals will just shut-up! I hope your WOman does get elected because those of us who have had to endure 8 years of Republican bashing can sit back and watch you all eat your own!

    October 5, 2007 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  24. Dan, TX

    Funny that Barack Obama has more donations from MILITARY personnel than ANY other candidate Democrat OR Republican.

    Think about it. The military doesn't need more flag wavers, it needs people who really care about America's role in the world.

    October 5, 2007 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  25. m T wi

    oh the hypocrisy! keep waving those made in communist china flags and ribbons america!!!!

    U.S. Flag Code (36 USC 10) section 8:

    (d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery.

    (i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever.

    (j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform.

    October 5, 2007 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
1 2 3 4