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Lapel Pin Politics

CRESCO, Iowa--Barack Obama caused a small kerfuffle in the media earlier this week with his comment, in response to a question to an Iowa television station, that he had stopped wearing an American flag pin on his lapel (which he taken to wearing after 9/11) because he felt that worn by others the pin "became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security."

John Edwards, for one, sees nothing wrong with that explanation. At a campaign stop in Cresco, Iowa today, he told reporters that he himself usually does not wear an American flag pin, instead favoring an Outward Bound pin in memory of his son Wade, who died in a car accident (though today his blue blazer was pin-free.) "I think people are entitled to express their views in whatever way they choose to," said Edwards.

Edwards also defended his decision to accept public financing, which will give his campaign an additional $10 million to spend for the primaries but will also under public financing rules leave him unable to spend much in the months between the primaries and nominating conventions, should he become the nominee. A local reporter asked Edwards whether this spending constraint undercut his oft-cited argument that he would be the most electable Democrat next fall. Edwards vehemently said it did not, noting that the nominee would benefit from extensive free media coverage and that the Democratic National Committee and outside advocacy groups would be free to buy ads on their own. (Though, as the local reporter reminded him, those groups would not be able to coordinate with his campaign.)

"Once you become the nominee, there's huge support for you," he said. "There will be a huge amount of resources brought to bear."

--Alec MacGillis

By Washington Post editors  |  October 5, 2007; 5:30 PM ET
 
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