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Barack Obama removes his U.S. flag lapel pin once more

Well, it's gone again.

Barack Obama's little American flag lapel pin, which a disabled veteran gave him Tuesday and the Democratic presidBarack Obama goes flagless on the lapel during Wednesday night's debate with Hillary Clinton.ential candidate announced he would demonstrably don for the crowd of applauding Pennsylvania voters and assembled cameras, went missing for the big debate last night with Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia.

The nationally televised debate was the final encounter between the two Democrats before Tuesday's potentially decisive primary balloting in the Keystone State.

Last fall, as we recalled here Wednesday morning, Obama removed the flag lapel pin that he, like many in public and private life, had worn since after 9/11. The gesture called public attention to Obama's early and continued opposition to the continuing Iraq War.

After a national controversy erupted over the symbolic removal, Obama....

explained his reasonable view that pins on the chest matter less than what's in the heart. He had not worn the symbol since October.

And he was not alone in that act. The Republican presidential nominee-to-be, Arizona Sen. John McCain, a decorated war veteraAFTER PHOTO Look very closely at the left coat lapel of Illinois senator and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama speaking in Pennsylvania Tuesday There's the famous flag pin back on his chestn and former POW, does not routinely wear such a pin either. Nor does Sen. Hillary Clinton, although neither of them used to and then stopped, claiming publicly there was some larger issue behind that choice.

A number of conservative commentators and bloggers suggested Wednesday that Obama's sudden willingness to wear the U.S. flag pin in working-class Pennsylvania was an attempt by his campaign to assuage another ongoing controversy. This one concerns the candidate's recent disparaging remarks at a San Francisco fundraiser about the thinking of small-town Americans who, he appeared to suggest, cling to religion and guns in bitter disappointment with their lives.

The fact is, countless voters at nearly every candidate's appearance proffer gifts to the campaigner or anyone seemingly associated with the candidate. Secret Service guards, who must keep both hands free at all times, refuse to be distracted by such gestures or accept anything and are very careful about who gets close to the candidate holding what in their hands.

Alert campaign staffers usually head off such gift encounters to avoid any embarrassment, politely accepting the pins, cards, letters, photographs, even cookies, pies and cakes, and promising to pass them on, which they sometimes do.

For Obama to accept the token himself and publicly acknowledge it was no accident. Some past campaigns have even helped to arrange such seemingly chance encounters to create positive publicity and photo opportunities, not unlike planting questions in a public forum.

And the veteran's presumably genuine gesture gave Obama the very public opportunity as part of his standard stump remarks to thank all the veterans present for their service to the country and then to put on the pin in front of them, which drew an enthusiastic ovation.

The actual wearing of the pin, however, lasted less than 24 hours. In last night's debate Obama dismissed it as "a manufactured issue."

--Andrew Malcolm

Photo credit: Matt Rourke / Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (82)

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Was it wrong for Obama to accept the pin from the veteran and put it on ? NO. Had he not accepted it OR not put it on, he would have been persecuted for it. Now he is being persecuted for not keeping it on long??? until the end of his campaign ? Seems like a case of darned if you do, darned if you don't. Obama is not a panderer or an opportunist. He has basically said that he will wear the flag when he feels like it, not because he is expected to. His true patriotism is in his heart and his actions not on his sleeve (lapel)

Doesn't he get it? Over half of the country voted for Bush. Not all Americans are into nuance and long winded answers about something simple. His stance will only hurt him in the general election and I can't understand for the life of me why he is continuing down such a stupid path.

you Americans are a laugh. i'm going to decide who to vote for based on whether a candidate wears a flag lapel pin. so sad that you capitalists think i'm that thick. comon', you guys can do better than that.

you Americans are a laugh. i'm going to decide who to vote for based on whether a candidate wears a flag lapel pin. so sad that you capitalists think i'm that thick. comon', you guys can do better than that.

I'm still not sure how Hillary one the debate, according to the polls. Given what questions were asked and how each candidate responded I had Obama winning. When Hillary was asked about bosnia she said, " I lied but lets get over that". When Obama was asked about being bitter he said, " it was taken out of context, I should have chosen my words better." His basic message, is that people are tired of unfulfilled promises, so they are comforted by something that makes them feel good. I think this is self explanatory. Some people when they are seeking comfort they eat, workout, play games, what ever the hobby is, it realy is a true statement. Obama was smart for not taking the bate of attacking Hillary about bosnia. This will divide the two candidates further. In conclusion, the debate was irrelevant to electability in november. ABC was doing it for the ratings. Keep controversy in air to get viewers. This is what happens when special interest is involved in politics.

Seems a little cynical coupled with an unflattering photo.

In addition to discussing Obama's motivations, perhaps we should look at your motivation in making a big deal out of this, using that photo and couching your words to imply something sinister where no evidence exists. It's innuendo. You're trying to connect dots that don't connect on their own.

And what is your goal with that? What is your motivation. Aha! You don't want Obama to be president, and if this helps question his integrity, maybe people won't vote for him.

The headline itself, "Barack Obama removes his U.S. flag lapel pin once more" is inflammatory and out of context with the rest of the story. If people read the headline, they're led to believe that Obama refuses to wear the pin and made some symbolic removal, which isn't true. Lying is not a tool in the reporter's toolbox.

This is yellow journalism to be sure, and the whole thing ought to be tossed out.

And right he is too.

Are you Americans not SICK to death of your own hypocrisy yet?

IT'S A FRIGGIN FLAG LAPEL! George Bush consistently wears one, yet I don't think we'd rush to call him a great defender of American liberties/policies. Agree or Disagree?

Yep, a nation whose scribes and pundits are mired in an ongoing discussion about whether someone wears a flag pin on his or her lapel -- and why and when and for how long and what all that means and how we can parse that to evaluated a person's fitness for the office of president -- deserves exactly the kind of idiotic, symbol-kissing, mindless, inarticulate, unthinking, uncaring president we have right now. Apparently, you think this is what we want to hear about -- over and over and over. Not issues, but a pin on a lapel. A fricking lapel pin. Are you kidding?

Andrew Malcom, your post was an exercise in absurdity. For example: " many in public and private life, had worn since after 9/11." Really? Many in private life? I live in a city of 4 million people and I've never once witnessed anyone with a flag pin on their lapel other than a television journalist or a politician. Wait, I saw a man wearing one at the airport once. Many years ago.

You are part of the problem.

Obama's right. More media focus on tangential trivialities.

Obama does really well with vacuous answers about "hope" and "change" and really poorly with responses to questions about his character, associations and allegiances.

Obama does really well with vacuous answers about "hope" and "change" and really poorly with responses to questions about his character, associations and allegiances.

SHOW your patriotism people. Wear a flag pin and lets show the Chinese that they have our allegiance! What a joke!

Obama's mistake in this whole campaign is that he gives the American people too much credit and assumes they can see BS when it smacks them in the face. Sadly, the American people are idiots and are motivated by soundbites and not FACTS. The American people waste time obssessing over flag pins and patriotism, while flag-pin-wearing patriotic republicans have destroyed America.?

God help us all

Umm, besides the misleading account of the pin removal, is this really a story? Wow, reporting really is in the game of fluff and crap. How about you list how the senators voted on certain laws and policies, and links to what people interpret that stuff as? Hell, even if you have to start off with fluff and crap due to your dumb boss, you could sneak in some intelligent stuff somewhere. Here let me help. Both Democrats vote for the environment (I think Obama is way ahead overall throughout the years though) and McCain hasn't recently helped the environment at all by some accounts (despite what he'd have you believe)... and the Democrats both were trying to vote against tax breaks for super rich oil companies.

Obama in particular seems to like the environment and wants to make some rules that will protect adults and especially babies and children:





Where is Hillary's flag pin.. Has she ever worn one? Noone has asked her that question...Media hypocrisy? OPPS, it may not go with her jewelry ensemble........

Just did a Google image search for "John McCain." No lapel pin to be found. Went to his website and *gasp* no lapel pin in his main photo OR throughout his photo gallery.

Did the same Google image search for "Hillary Clinton." Only three lapel pins in the first 10 pages of results. Went to her site and *gasp* no lapel pins to be found in any of her photos either!

Thank you L.A. Times for helping to make Mr. Obama's point for him. The media truly IS hellbent on distracting us from the issues.

We just went through the AP wire archives and McCain has never worn a flag pin at least since he secured the GOP nomination on March 4th. Not once. We have photos for every day since. Check it out:

(Who said he did? We said he didn't, like Clinton.)

He didn't "remove" the pin... he wore a different jacket than the one to which he attached it...

There really are SUCH bigger issues than this that it's ridiculous... only those of you who are already decided against him (and are BITTER because you're finally realizing that the MAJORITY of Americans want Obama for President) get riled up over something so small and insignificant.

This country is in serious trouble when this passes as news. You disappoint.

McCain and Clinton wear no flag pins, yet they get no flack for it. Why don't these people just come out and say what they'd really like to see: a big "N" on his lapel.

"When facism comes to America, it will be draped in a flag and clutching a bible" .... Sinclair Lewis, 1937(?)

Ah, the power of terrorism, that can even make some Americans afraid to remove their flag lapel pins. How brave the "anti-terrorists" are, killing more Americans now than Al Qaeda did, rather than admit to a mistake.

If patriotism is measured by whether someone wears a flag pin or not, we have reached the nadir of ignorance.

I find it interesting that Obama alone gets slammed for not wearing it.

Any insistence that all Americans should wear a flag pin is a little too fascist for my tastes. Good for Obama for pointing out that this is "a manufactured issue." Too bad it's been manufactured by closet fascists.

Anyway, if I wanted a man who wears jewelry in the white house, I would have voted for cross-dressing Giuliani.

Did he flip off the flag pin, too?

I would agree with Obama that this is a manufactured issue except IT"S NOT!

Wearing a lapel pin or not by itself means nothing. However, when we add up the picture here in context it has much more meaning....

William Ayers Weatherunderground terrorist association
Resko association
Project Hope Association
Rev. Wright, Louis Farrakan, Nation of Islam association
Grew up in a Muslim country
Went to a Muslim school
Has a black militant wife
Has been disdainful toward the Jewish people
Has been disdainful to American core values
Has been disdainful to middle America

I guess to Obama any issue he doesn't like is a manufacutered issue.

You know I taught teens how to be attorneys for a teen court program in my state. The cases were heard by our real Municipal Judge. One of them stood up and forcefully objected. The judge asked her why and she said, "B...b....b....because he's hurting my client." We all laughed. The judge said, "Sorry that's not good enough legal grounds for an objection."

Obama might not like the questions asked since they h..h....h...hurt him but too bad lightweight!

Obama's background with Wright, Ayers, Khalidi and Michelle (his wife) says it all to me.

This country is going to be in even worse trouble than it has now if this man is elected President! He is worse than Bush!

Look there are a few things required if you are going to run for president. They may be a bit old and traditional but if you really want to be president then you wear a lapel pin and you don't associate with a whacked out reverend or a known terrorist. I'm sorry but it's really not too much to ask. Obama's reluctance just shows his contempt for the US and his arrogance. He thinks that he can do things his way and that we will all be okay with it. Well, I'm sorry but that's not how it works. Beyond all of these distracts the guy is not qualified to be president so all of this doesn't really mean squat. It is time to wake up! Vote smart, vote Clinton.

Barak Obama is so arrogant he thinks he can do and say whatever he wants and his lies don't matter.
The words of his Pastor don't matter. His handwritten message and signature on a Gun Control document does not matter.

The media have crowned him their King and he believes it, all he has to say is 'I love this country', like he is doing us a favor.
Meanwhile his wife stated this is the first time in 44 years she has been proud of her country.

He is so arrogant he gets angry if he is questioned, the look on his face at the debate showed his anger.
Gone was the face of a man who could make Chris Matthews legs tingle. His eyes had fire in them.

Obama's entire campaign is a manufactured issue.

Obama has turned out to be just a "TYPICAL" pandering politician. Oh, I take that back, he is a little lower, since he claims he isn't.
I have counted 57 lies he has told so far in this election.

Maybe he can't wear the pin because he's too upset. Let's all give a big collective boo-hoo that Obama FINALLY got a taste of what the general election will be like. He's upset that he's had to withstand a WHOLE 45 minutes of interrogation on his anti-American, anti-white, anti-patriotic leanings. Now let's tell this most junior senator that a lot more is in store, and it will hit his wife and kids too. All he needs to do is ask Senator Clinton. ((Isn't her hair funky? What's with the hair bands? Is her voice appropriately feminine for a woman? What (he-he) did or didn't she do in the bedroom that CAUSED Bill to stray? Should a wife stay with a husband who strayed? Did she lie or misstate her experience in a war zone over five years ago?)) Hillary's been under a misogynistic microscope for 17 years, and she's still standing for America and the downtrodden.

It's sad to see Obama can't withstand 45 minutes aimed at him without the safety of the information monopoly powers that have shielded him so far....But maybe Reverend Wright told him to remove the pin...........

I don't really think that this crap is about a label pin, when the man stands with his hands by his side as the National Anthem's is being played show what kind of heart he has and I would look further into his religious background, you may also want to read about who and what the Anti-Christ will bring and where he will come from.

The one other thing is straight forward- the politicians are not totally the blame for our economy, because we are giving the United Stated away little by little, and we have a infrastructure terrorist right before our eyes and no one see it, if you have gas so high that you can't get to work, diesel so high that truckers can't move food to the stores, airlines will not be able to fly and trains will not be able to move the commerce good, and the illegals draining the systems, and others from around the would getting setup in business with not a cent in their pockets (these are our great elected officials at work) It's right in front of you and I really don't think that either candidates can stop of change the course of the train wreck that our great country in heading for.

Barack Obama is the one who started the no flag pin issue and the video of him stating that he would not wear became combined with the photo of him standing in front of the flag and not placing his hand on his heart and not singing or taking the pledge, ETC. It's a VERY big problem for MANY Americans and it was aperfectly acceptable question.

Barack Obama had an opportunity take the question as a GIFT but he flunked--he could have cleared it up for good. But he FLUNKED. He's terrible under pressure. A glass jaw. WIMP.

Obama flipped the bird?

I watched the video and it is obvious that it is exactly what he did. He did it in one of those "street" ways we know people do it. The crowd knew he did it. Obama's smirk on his face says it ALL.

Is he just going to get away with this also? He also "brushed his shoulders off" like JAY-Z--you know the guy who did the Big Pimpin' song, with the music video of a whole bunch of nalf naked girls on a yacht and JAY-Z's boys holding champagne bottles at the crotches while dousing women's faves in frothy KNOW what I mean..?

Obama is flipping the bird, brushing his shoulders off, doing Annie Oakley standup comedy, and all the while talking badly about small town USA and typical white people and FLUNKING at the debate and he is a MESS.

Barack Obama is not presidential material. AT ALL.


Americans demand that Barack Obama be vetted by the mainstream media. He is not immune to scrutiny--he can't destroy journalists lives for asking him hard questions. We AMERICANS will not stand for that!!!!!!!!!!

This is AMERICA and we have a right to VOTE AND LEARN about the person who wishes to lead our country.


Why does this surprise anyone? It is crystal clear that Obama hates white-Americans and is anti-American. Why should we think any differently when his best friends are Rev. Wright, Tony Rezko, and William C. Ayers?

He is a looser in my book which is why I am supprting HIllary.

Mr. Obama has misrepresented himself to the people of this country. Fortunately, the American people are realizing that Mr. Obama is not the person he pretends to be. Hillary Clinton will be a great President. She will fight for the welfare of all of us common, average, working class people

Label pin - stupid issue, we shouldn't even be talking about it.

then again, a young man with no extensive experience, no history of making a big difference, should not be fighting someone as experienced, as tough, as brilliant, as well-prepared as hillary for the presidential nomination. yet, here we are.

Barack has not said ONE word as the media lambasted Hillary (and her family) and his supporters made sexist demeaning remarks about Hillary - but then has the audacity to whine when in ONE debate he actually gets some questions? C'mon. Grow up.

Barack is not qualified to be president, period. not now. Even a longtime advocate for black rights like Andrew Young said it. Thank God he has the honesty to say the truth - "Obama will make a good president ... in 2016."

Even long term minority and black advocates like Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, Dolores Huerta, etc., etc., support Hillary.

They are applying for a job - to be president of this country. Like any job - proven history, ability, experience, intelligence, knowledge of the issues you will be faced with, all count. greatly.

As a human resource professional for 20 years I applaud Mr. Obama's ability to talk a good game. he is inspiring. But like a lot of job applicants, the gloss wears off quickly when you see how his credentials match up against his opponent. It's no contest. she is the best qualified.

She is the real change.

the only reason Barack is still in the race is because the media and Oprah's millions have done everything possible to make him the golden boy - the rock star.

Hopefully the super delegates will do their job and vote for the BEST candidate.

Hillary should not, and will not quit - she can get the nomination (as much as he can) and will actually win in November - most importantly she is the best qualified to be president.

Go hillary!!


America is finally starting to see Obama and what he is really about. This man cares nothing about America. America has values and if someone does not recognize these values then they should leave and go to another country. It is about time that we took our country back. Displaying our flag, holding our hand over our heart while saying the Pledge of Alligance, praying to our God, going to church, singing God Bless America, standing at attention when our flag passes, and honoring those who have served our country are things that we should place strong in our hearts. This is an American. And these are the only ones who can be called American. Hillary stands for these things and she should be the next President. Obama exposed is what is is. So quit whinning.

Atrophied pride in American values- Robust tolerance for
desecrating pastors, Chicago slum lords and bomb planter
Ayers,welcoming of endorsements by conspiratorial Soros financed extreme left rabble-rousers and other
Judas and traitor Hanoi Jane and this most recent gesture
of vulgarity.......HELLO ? Looks,sounds and feels like a
sub-prime candidate to me. Hope and change we can
believe in ? Yeah... right

I agree it does show us more about Clinton than OBama. It shows us that she does pick up on elitist attitudes. Obama said he knew groceries were going up because the last time he was in Whole Food’s argula had went up. How many middle class families shop at Whole Foods? They are at Food Lion hoping for a sale on hamburger or chicken. Is this relating to middle america. Don’t get me wrong I love Whole Foods, but I am a single male, who makes 6 figures. I know Hillary is a lot richer than me and probably Obama, but I don’t hear her being that out of touch. The problem is he will eaten up in November by the Republicans. He can not win. The states is has done well in are republican states. We can all wish and hope, but that will not get the democrats back in the White House. And if he should win do we want someone with his lack of experience and knowledge being President. He will the the equivalent of a democratic George W Bush. We need someone with leadership skills, who can start on day 1. Who knows where the restrooms are at. In 8 years he can run again. But we need someone to get us straight in the world.

It appears that Sen. Obama considers anything he chooses to dismiss as a "manufactured issue," a "distraction," and "politics as usual." This is a pattern he consistently demonstrates. Well, the pattern doesn't go unnoticed! I, among the viewing public, take notice. Sen. Obama needs to give us more credit and recognize that what he is labelling as manufactured, distraction, and politics as usual is, in fact, informations which we voters need and want to know. I would like to see Sen. Obama stop dismissing and answer such matters when asked for example about his questionable relationships.

Obama manufactured the issue himself -- in 2001 by making a big deal about not wearing one. LIke Bush in 2000, making up some kind of 'principle' about every little thing.

Unfortunately, the lapel pin is just a small part of the deception. The manufactured candidacy of Barack Obama is larger than life. While researching the candidates, I saw plenty of the past problems with Clinton - the Clinton White House was bogged down with the Health Care disaster, Travel Gate, Whitewater and Lewinsky, to name a few. Obamas controversies are just begining. Tony Rezko trial is coming very close to the Senator. After a nearly 20 year relationship with a corrupt individual from a state where the Combine is part of the politics in Chicago as well, you have to wonder not if, but when Obama will be implicated. Besides the Rev. Wright, some of Obamas choices for advisors are puzzling, Tom Daschle - Bristish Petroleum Advisory Council Member, then theirs the Oil Moguls Robert Cavnar and George Kaiser. Seems like he's got plenty of Oil people to help out once he's in Office. Looking through the list of oil company executives and their spouses is long, along with lobbyists and their spouses, banking industry executives and spouses. Obama doesnt take money from PACs or Lobbyist Firms directly, he takes it from them individually. What else is he telling the Elite Wealthy Donors behind close doors? "They're not only bitter, but they're fools, too?"

The lies, the connections, the ghetto gestures, the arrogance, the unpatriotic words, the disdain for whites and for middle America, the racist wife...

These are only but a few reasons that Obama should step down, now. If he manages to steal this nomination because of the disenfranchisement of millions of voters and/or corrupt caucuses, the Dems will lose the White House to the republicans come November. Mark my words.

This man is not fit to hold the highest office of the land, much less a seat on the senate.

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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