- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 6, 2007

Most presidential candidates say it’s fine that Sen. Barack Obama doesn’t want to wear an American flag pin on his lapel, but they’re not shy about their own flag-wearing ways.

“There are so many ways that Americans can show their patriotism,” Sen. Hillary Clinton, New York Democrat, said yesterday.

“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,” she added.

Mrs. Clinton, who dons a flag pin from “time to time,” said she didn’t know if Mr. Obama’s decision was a serious issue.

Republican front-runner Rudolph W. Giuliani’s campaign officials declined to comment on Mr. Obama’s decision. They did say the former New York City mayor continues to wear an American flag pin to most campaign events.

To wave or not to wave the American flag pin became a flap after Mr. Obama told an Iowa crowd he thinks some use it as a substitute for “true patriotism.”

“My attitude is that I’m less concerned about what you’re wearing on your lapel than what’s in your heart,” the Illinois Democrat said.

“I probably haven’t worn a flag pin in a very long time. After a while I noticed people wearing a lapel pin and not acting very patriotic.”

Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, a Republican, said during a appearance yesterday on the Fox News Channel that scrutiny of Mr. Obama’s decision was justified.

“He made this an issue by putting it into the context of his own patriotism,” Mr. Steele said.

While some pundits and newspaper editorial boards slammed Mr. Obama for his remarks, others said it was simply an unusual public disclosure from a viable presidential contender.

A spokesman for Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign says the former Massachusetts governor “has worn a flag pin, but he doesn’t wear lapel pins regularly.”

“He views the flag as a symbol of freedom, sacrifice and hope,” Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said. “When he has worn a flag pin, he has been proud to display it.”

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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