WASHINGTON — Barack Obama, who labeled discussion of whether he wears a flag pin in his lapel a false issue in a debate with Hillary Clinton, was wearing one Monday as he campaigned in West Virginia ahead of Tuesday's primary vote there.
Obama made no reference to the pin, which could be clearly seen in television images and through telephoto lenses as he spoke in Charleston, W. Va., about veterans issue. There was no public comment from his campaign.
Monday morning, pollster and former Bill Clinton adviser Douglas Schoen wrote in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal that Obama needs to better define his values heading into the general election. First, and obviously symbolically, he must start wearing the flag lapel pin, Schoen wrote. He simply cannot afford to raise doubts about his patriotism.
Although Obama sometimes wears the pin, more often he doesnt. And hes long insisted on being a different kind of politician who doesnt resort to gimmicks or give in to pressure to conform to the status quo.
The issue came to the fore during the Pennsylvania primary campaign when ABC News tracked down a voter, Nash McCabe, to ask a question during the Clinton-Obama debate April 16. McCabe noted that Obama doesn't usually wear a flag pin and asked, "I want to know if you believe in the American flag."