An eagle-eyed reporter for the ABC affiliate in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, noticed something missing from Democratic presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama's, D-Ill., lapels.
"You don't have the American flag pin on. Is that a fashion statement?" the reporter asked, at the end of a brief interview with Obama on Wednesday. "Those have been on politicians since Sept. 12, 2001."
The standard political reply to that question might well have been, "My patriotism speaks for itself."
But Obama didn't say that.
Instead the Illinois senator answered the question at length, explaining that he no longer wears such a pin, at least in part, because of the Iraq War.
"You know, the truth is that right after 9/11, I had a pin," Obama said. "Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we're talking about the Iraq War, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security, I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest.
"Instead," he said, "I'm going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism."
"I'm less concerned with what you're wearing on your lapel than what's in your heart," Obama said Thursday while campaigning in Independence, Iowa.
"You show your patriotism by how you treat your fellow Americans, especially those who serve. And you show your patriotism by being true to your values and ideals. And that's what we have to lead with, our values and ideals," Obama said.
Of course, if he had said that in the first place, he might have avoided any controversy.
What's the best way to protest the war in Iraq? Why, stop wearing a flag pin, of course! That'll show those warmonger, bloodthirsty, anything-for-oil Republicans!!!
And Obama wonders why he has the reputation of a junior senator with no experience and no common sense. Instances like this (and this and this and this) prove that time and time again, he just doesn't know when to shut up.
Hat Tip: Gateway Pundit