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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 11/ 2/2007

Obama Nabbed by the Patriot Police

By Michael Dobbs

Obama salutes the flag

"He refused to not only put his hand on his heart during the pledge of allegiance, but refused to say the in the hell can a man like this expect to be our next Commander-in-Chief? "

--Chain e-mail attacking Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

To all the other hazards of presidential campaigning in the Internet age--the blogosphere, the 24-hour news cycle, attack ads on You Tube--add one more, the anonymous viral e-mail. By now, millions of Americans have received an e-mailed photographs of Obama in a relaxed pose standing next to his fellow candidates, Bill Richardson and Hillary Clinton, with their hands firmly over their hearts as they listen to the national anthem. Several readers have asked us to investigate the provenance of this photograph, and we are happy to oblige.

The Facts

The photograph was taken on September 16, 2007, at Senator Tom Harkin's annual steak fry festivities in Iowa, an important ritual for Democratic presidential hopefuls. Contrary to the e-mails attacking Obama for disrespecting the flag, the candidates were not reciting the pledge of allegiance. They were standing for the national anthem.

[Photo of Barack Obama

As far as we can ascertain, the photograph first appeared in Time Magazine on October 1. Visit Time's website for a larger version. It was then picked up by the NewsBusters blog (Motto: "Exposing and Combating Liberal Media Bias"), and from there made its way into all those in-boxes.

To his credit, the NewsBusters blogger does not try to pretend that the photograph had anything to do with the pledge of allegiance. Instead he cites Title 36 or the U.S. Code, which states the following:

During a rendition of the national anthem, when the flag is displayed (A) all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart; (B) men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold the headdress at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart;

By that standard, everybody in the picture (Obama, Richardson, Clinton, and Ruth Harkin) was infringing the Code, as they had their backs to the flag. On the other hand, the Code refers specifically to "Patriotic and National Observances." We welcome the opinion of protocol experts, but we are not sure that a steak fry qualifies as a "Patriotic Observance," even in Iowa. Since the steak fry was awash with flags, it is quite possible that the aforementioned political candidates were facing the flag and had their backs to the flag at the same time.

We should note that this is not the first time that Obama (does that name remind you of anybody?) has run afoul of the patriotic police. Fox News has criticized him for refusing to wear a Stars and Stripes pin in his buttonhole, on the grounds that the gesture has become "a substitute for true patriotism." Previous anonymous e-mails have claimed--falsely--that Obama is a Muslim.

Asked whether Obama normally puts his hand over his heart while listening to the national anthem, Obama spokesman Bill Burton replied by e-mail: "Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't. In no way was he making any sort of statement, and any suggestion to the contrary is ridiculous."

To demonstrate the senator's "true patriotism," Burton e-mailed two photographs of Obama with his hand firmly over his heart. One photograph is at the top of this post; the other is below.

The Pinocchio Test

Anonymous attacks by e-mail are, or at least should be, un-American. This particular one was also wrong on the facts: the ceremony in question had nothing to do with the pledge of the allegiance. We award the scoundrel who put the e-mail into circulation four Pinocchios.

(About our rating scale.)

By Michael Dobbs  | November 2, 2007; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  4 Pinocchios, Barack Obama, Candidate Record, Web Watch  
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Next: Biden Talks Tough to Brezhnev?


Bravo fact checker. I was getting so sick of seeing this kind of thing. They are so obviously smear campaigns. This is no way to have an intelligent discussion of political differences, and I welcome you exposing it.

Posted by: whew | November 2, 2007 6:43 AM | Report abuse

You're fact-checking anonymous chain emails? What's next, a hard-hitting piece on palm readers? This is silly. People who get their "facts" from chain emails are not your audience. Fact-check NewsBusters or Fox News if they carry the story without setting the record straight but don't waste my time or insult my intelligence by pretending it's a big surprise that anonymous emails are unreliable. If the state of reporting today is such that this is the best story you could come up with to examine for accuracy you probably need to shut down this column.

Posted by: Grouchyreader | November 2, 2007 8:12 AM | Report abuse

This is so funny. How many armchair patriots, or for that matter, the rightwing pundits have gone to a ballgame and did not put their hand over their heart during the anthem.
I would challenge many to watch this the next time you watch your football or basketball games.
It is just conveinent because it came on the heels of the flag pin non issue.
Barack Obama is a United States Senator. The emailers need to find another hobby. Maybe take up needlepoint. good for the nerves.

Posted by: vwcat | November 2, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

One note- is there any way the headline writers could pay a bit more attention to what they are doing? The headline of this article is "Obama Nabbed by the Patriotic Police"- which pretty clearly implies that Obama is in the wrong. Might not be as snappy, but why not something closer to your conclusion, like "Anonymous Slurs Against Obama Groundless?" It just seems that the headline misdirects- an irony for a colums supposedly devoted to getting to the bottom of things.

Posted by: skeptic | November 2, 2007 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Please find something more substantial to fact-check in the future.

This is a waste of time.

Anyone who reads and believes anonymous viral emails clearly will not be paying any attention to this column.

Posted by: Vaxalon | November 2, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I actually forwarded the "viral email" to my son becuase I truly enjoy his perspective on this kind of thing. I am posting his reponse (as you read please know he has just turned 17, and I cant help but be impressed by his intellect):

After a little more research, one discovers that he did recite the pledge and that this wasn't some sort of ant-patriotic gesture at all; he just merely didn't have his hand over his heart during the national anthem. Many people do it without even thinking about it. I've done it. In fact, here's a picture of Obama with his hand over his heart during the Star Spangled Banner:
Maybe it was an accident.

Moreover, I think that people who compose emails like this and distribute them around the web to spread like wildfire (God save SoCal) should re-evaluate their attitudes and conceptions about patriotism and what is good for our nation. In the age of 99-cent yellow-ribbon magnetic stickers and other perfunctory excuses for patriotism, our people need to wake up and stop supporting patriotism. They need to actually be patriots. Standing with your hand over your heart during a song about a battle doesn't excuse you from going to the polls or supporting measures to provide veterans with the resources they need. Flag pins and traditional gestures are political passivism, not political activism.

And another thing: So what if his name is Barack Hussein Obama? I didn't choose my name (not that there's anything wrong with it). The real issue here has nothing to do with his name. The problem conservative Americans have with Obama is that he isn't a middle-aged white man whose concerns lie in big business. Also, Obama is not and never was a Muslim. This is an idiotic fallacy most likely based on his name. His father was raised Muslim but is a pronounced atheist, and Barack himself is a member of the Church of Christ.

No, no, the fact of the matter is that Barack Obama is a reasonable man of integrity who is concerned with the health of our public school systems, the protections of basic health care for those who could not otherwise afford it, initiatives to break dependence on oil, preventing telecommunications companies from censoring the internet and demanding a fee for content, and demanding that the Paris Hiltons of America still pay their estate taxes.

So I challenge anyone to tell me why Barack Obama is such an awful candidate for president without spewing some ill-informed rhetoric stained with party loyalty dogma for once. Because quite frankly, Obama has my vote before any of the current Republican candidates. Maybe it's a good idea to vote for a candidate in the presidential elections for reasons other than their political party.

Posted by: Kat | November 2, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

So if political saboteurs showed up at Republican functions and were able to constantly play renditions of the Star-Spangled Banner, would Republican functions grind to a halt because they would have to permanently stand silently at attention? That would be ironic. They'd be a victim of their own patriotism. The strength they claim as exclusively theirs would hinder them completely.

Unless of course they beat up and throw out the people playing the Star-Spangled Banner. That would be twisted party-loyalty over patriotism for you.

Posted by: Brendan | November 2, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Glad this is investigated. Issues need to be addressed, but sound bites and smears are so much more effective.

Democrats address issues and tear Hillary apart. Republicans tear Hillary apart and bond with the audience with laughter.

Posted by: wldbil | November 2, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

It's funny how many of your readers want to blame this email on the GOP when it clearly stinks of the Clintons. Perhaps next time you could finish the article and find out who originated it. That is if you really want your "facts" truly "checked".

Posted by: Republican Joe | November 2, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Hey Jo,

Where is the GOP mentioned? Are you prejudiced against the Clintons?

Posted by: wldbil | November 2, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

This erks of the email I got (and disproved) from a friend about how John Kerry outsourced jobs because "his wife owned Heinz foods". For the love of god do not buy into any of these Bullsh!t emails you get, no matter whether they're from the left or the right.

Posted by: thegribbler1 | November 2, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I would strongly recommend that the Fact Checker go back and look at photos of the first George W. Bush Innaugural. It's worth noting that he was NOT wearing an American flag lapel pin.

There's also a New Yorker piece about Karl Rove from four or five years ago, which recounts an incident of Rove's assistant keeping a basket of lapel pins on her desk and forcing anyone not already wearing one to put one on.

I would like to think that patriotism goes a bit farther than a lapel pin. But how pathetic that Herr Rove made this the patriotism litmus test.

Since Reagan, the flag lapel pin has been de rigeur for Presidents.

Wonder why Fox isn;t covering that?

Posted by: Food for Thought | November 2, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

First, the best thing to do, is just not read anonymous political emails that are forwarded on to you. I used to spend far too long doing real research to rebutt them when friends would send them to me. Once I discovered that just about all of them could be disproved, I simply stopped. They aren't even worth reading.

Kat - if your 17 year old son wrote what you posted, I want to say thank you for posting it. Too often I shake my head at the level of education exhibited by our kids today, and what you posted, from your son, restores some of my faith in the next generation.

Posted by: corbett | November 2, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

They are obviously smear campaigns but smear campaigns work unfortunately. Until there is a way to make the smear merchants pay a price for their falsehoods, this will go on and we will at times wind up with incompetents like George W. Bush in office.

Posted by: Steve O | November 2, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

They have nothing substantive, so they manufacture BS for all the misguided.

Posted by: eSPO | November 2, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Point #1 of the 14 points illustrating/indicating Fascism:

"1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism

From the prominent displays of flags and bunting to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy, was always obvious. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia."

Search for it -- it's frightening how closely this Administration's tactics match the other 13 points.

It's been 1938 all over again since 9/11. Or mayhap earlier, given the questionable 2000 election...

Posted by: Bush -- not related | November 2, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

" in the hell can a man like this expect to be our next Commander-in-Chief? "

and how in the hell George Bush and all the republicans and some democrats that call themself patriots serving in the geverment they put their hands and their heart and LIE to all of us and then send our children to the war with Irak? and a president who veto the health care for 4 millions children? do they heart so it does not matter where you put the hand what it matters is to have heart to help the families in our country.

Posted by: novagente | November 2, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes novagente, how dare they salute the flag while denying free health care to the children of parents who earn $80,000 a year. Just think how many upper-middle class suburban kids die every year from preventable and treatable illnesses. And now this administration wants to continue that. Despicable.

As for the viral email, any thought given to the odds that it was created and circulated by the Hillary Clinton campaign? Oh, no, of course not, I forgot: Karl Rove invented smear campaigning. Sorry.

Posted by: JB | November 2, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse


Get your facts right. The $80,000 refers to the upper limit in one county in New York, and does not apply to the entire bill. Further, that anomaly has since been fixed.

Try watching something other than Faux News and you might get some factual information.

Posted by: The real facts | November 2, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Corbett-yes he wrote it. He has always been exceptional (of course I would think so). I will confess to being a Reagan lover and I havent seen his ilk as of yet. I always try to encourage my children to think about what people say, not just accept it, think about it, research it, then make a decision. It may surprise you to know that we live in the Rural South (people tend to think those below the Mason-Dixon are low brow, tobacco chewing rednecks, but some of us read Austen, Chaucer and Shakespeare, and even understand it ;) ) I guess I dont consider myself a Republican or a Democrat anymore, I am looking for the common sense party that will save our country.

Posted by: Kat | November 2, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse


What a fantastically well-informed son you have. I'm 25, and I tell you I am hard pressed to find peers at my age as thoughtful as him. Do everything you can to keep him engaged, HE is a true patriot and the kind of person that makes me proud to be an American.

I will be borrowing his phrase, political passivism! Fantastic!!


Posted by: Chet | November 2, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I say, "Two Thumbs Up" for Obama. As far as I am concerned, he is the man for the job.

We don't need another Clinton.

Posted by: Lewis Stroup | November 2, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Also - while looking for the common sense party, don't discredit a common sense candidate. Too long has our people been ranked and filed into red and blue shades of political affiliation. I am a HUGE Obama supporter and one of the main reasons is because of his ability to bring people together. My Mom is traditionally republican, and she is really interested in Obama, if for no other reason that he seems like the first polititian in a long time to speak the honest truth.

Keep an open mind and learn more about Barack. I know you'll like what you see!


Posted by: Chet | November 2, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Dobbs, time for a follow-up on the Rudy prostate cancer story? There are so many more levels to the bamboozlement that are coming out. Giuliani is continuing to run with the false "fact". And it turns out he got his treatment on a government plan. And the specific treatment he received was developed under a universal system in Denmark.

Posted by: Crust | November 2, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I have no problem with someone not wearing a lapel pin of the stars and stripes. The only thing I have a problem with is this, if you are going to run the country that my brothers and sisters and I defend, you WILL have enough self-discipline to render the proper customs and courtesies that my flag and my country are deserving of. I don't care if you agree/disagree with our current international operations. If you are a true, blue-blooded American you should be proud to say the pledge, stand during the National Anthem, and proud to put your hand over your heart during both. That's just my two cents though.
~Proudly defending your rights and freedoms. A1C Smith, USAF

Posted by: red,white, and true | November 2, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm as conservative as they come, and am certainly not a Obama supporter. But the fact checker is right on. Obama can be attacked legitimatly from so many other angles, why make something up that is totally irrelevant, out of context, and misleading.

Posted by: Paul S. | November 2, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

To those that say not to expose this garbage,I say expose it all.There are people reading it and at some point someone I know will send me this chain email and I want to be able to point them here so they can read the truth and maybe they will keep coming back for more.

Posted by: Bob Dowding | November 2, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I have no idea who writes this column, but could it be a far left liberal ??

Posted by: yojoe | November 2, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

I see a man running for president that does not have is hand over his heart. Pledge of Allegiance, National Anthem. . . what difference does it make which one it was? He's running for the freaking presidency. He doesn't get in trouble because he lives in a country that is FREE - that being the case I'd WANT to put my hand over my heart. Plain & simple.

Posted by: don't.over.analyze | November 2, 2007 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Wow, as always the Washington Post Blogs just continue to support how crazy their far left audience is. If it walks like a chicken and asks like a chicken it's probably a chicken! He doesn't like to wear a pin of OUR FLAG, doesn't put his hand of his heart for OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM, is scared of IRAN, and refuses to provide our troops with the items they need. Be careful who you support, you may just get what you ask for. Do you think he would just come out and say he doesn't support America? Come on people, wake up! It's amazing people actually support him.

Posted by: Concerned Dem | November 2, 2007 9:08 PM | Report abuse

How is "an important ritual for Democratic presidential hopefuls" not a "Patriotic Observance?" The only way it isn't is if Democrats aren't patriotic which I don't believe is true. Even if he was within the letter of the code, Obama, as a presidential hopeful should know better. He should have at least been standing at attention and not habve his hands folded like he did. It goes to show that he isn't ready for prime time compared to the other major presidential candidates from either party.

Posted by: Bob | November 2, 2007 9:55 PM | Report abuse

After checking into this on Snopes and watching the video clip there, I'm not so surprised Obama doesn't have his hand on his heart (neither does Edwards, BTW)--I'm just amazed he doesn't have his fingers stuffed in his ears.

Posted by: Tumtin | November 2, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse

What is really disturbing is that I saw one of these emails from someone at the Missile Defense Command. Is the all-volunteer military becoming a dangerous Preatorian Guard that has forgotten it is meant to defend democracy, not distort it?

Posted by: wizinit | November 3, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

The Clinton's stealth smear campaign is now fully metastasized and Obama is merely on life support these days. They are the quintessential pathogens of politics. If he submits to slick willy's orthodoxies and kneels before the king, he will be our next vice pres. If not, he will be destroyed politically.

Posted by: arkanman | November 3, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

If all you want is image over substance, you get politicians like George Bush destroying the country. A turd wrapped in the flag is a turd.

Posted by: thebob.bob | November 3, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I could not believe it when I recived the email in my inbox. I automatically looked up this article and forwarded it to people. It is important that people know the TRUTH and aren't driven by fear, because of someone's name or their father's religious views! If Barack was white with a name like Bob, this wouldn't be an issue.
Barrack, you have my vote and support!

Posted by: alaskasuport | November 3, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I am constantly amazed at the number of bogus emails out there. They can target companies, political parties, specific politicians, and celebrities. Who in the world has so much time on their hands that they can cook up garbage just to see how many people will forward the email? Get a job and improve the GDP!

Posted by: Chris | November 3, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Observing the photo brings me to one undeniable conclusion. Obama is clumsy.

Posted by: sullivant | November 3, 2007 10:34 PM | Report abuse

These are the tactics of those who would ruin our nation. To all the Bush/Chaney/Limbaugh Republicans and Clinton Democrats. We have critical job openings at the US Embassy in Iraq that we're having problems filling. There are over forty critical positions that we can't fine true patriots like yourselves to fill. Take off your flag pins made in China and please help us man these posts. Present Bush's State Department employees refuse to answer their nation's calls for duty a possible death sentence according to them. They seem to feel as long as they are wearing their flag pins and placing their hands over their hearts while the anthem is playing or helping their father in his campaign they are doing their part.

P.S. Relocation expenses paid

Posted by: Jimmie | November 4, 2007 5:48 AM | Report abuse

Is the writer of this article really Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton???

Posted by: yojoe | November 4, 2007 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Yojoe, are you really Glenn Beck or some other mouth-breather?

Posted by: pretzel logic | November 4, 2007 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Just for the record, I do not put my hand over my heart when I hear the national anthem. I really am not in to the whole patriotic thingy.

Posted by: David | November 4, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

You guys should be ashamed of this headline; it's misleading and lazy. You're trying to clear the guy of being unpatriotic and yet your headline implies the opposite.

Posted by: A | November 4, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Obama showed his patriotism by speaking firmly against the Iraq invasion when 79% of senators, including Clinton, supported it.

He was in a tough senate primary race at the time, and he was in 3rd place.

Posted by: Larry from Purdue | November 4, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

larry from purdue...

Wehn was obama against the war? when he talked at to a voting district that was against the war..

what did he do once elected? He voted for every Iraqi war funding bill, and against every bill that would force the troops to come home.

he's a hypocrit

Posted by: B.WIliams | November 4, 2007 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm confused was he arrested or not? It would take more than this for me to decide whether or not he would worthey to be our president.

Posted by: Mummaw | November 4, 2007 7:30 PM | Report abuse

First of all to all of you out there who think that this is about right wing or left wing you are INCORRECT. This is about patriotism.

Second.... to the author of this article .... is the reason that the picture of them all standing in front of the "flag" so small so people don't realize that its not actually the flag but a billboard??????????????


So as for you saying they are all in violation of the code I guess you would be incorrect because I didn't see a stipulation in your "code" about facing a billboard painted as the flag.

Posted by: Sam | November 4, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

I've posted this once and I'll post it again. Not only are you supposed to place your hand over your heart but you're supposed to be facing the flag, not have your back to it. None of the politicians that were there knew what the heck they were doing which is not surprising. Not only that, we've got over forty critical job vacancies at the US Embasy in Iraq and the State Department employees are refusing orders to fill these posts. There are to many people who believe that wearing fricken flag pins made in China, working on your fathers campaign or remember/knowing to place your hand over your heart while the anthem is played is indicitive of your patriotism. I just recently retired from the US Marine Corp and I can tell you that a lot of people, even Marines who do this every day, are sometimes confused as to whether just standing is sufficient for the anthem. I don't know why Senator Obama or the rest of the candidates were not practicing protocol during the anthem, I do know we've got bigger problems as a nation and we need someone who's no bought a paid for by the criminals that are responsible for the mess that we're in. I also know that challenging ones patriotism is emblematic of Bush/Chaney/Rove/Limbaugh and appearently we can add Hillary and her advisors to this list. I can add a few more regimes in history that have used anti patriotism rhetoric to manipulate it's people. If this is the worst you can come up with against Senator Obama he must be one hell of a candidate. And Sam, I'll match your patriotism and raise you a leader who had the courage and judgement to speak out against this war when we had Senators sending our children off to war base on a report that they didn't even take the time to fricken read. Sir, don't talk to me about patriotism. The junior Senator from Illinois has my vote.

Posted by: Jimmie | November 4, 2007 11:45 PM | Report abuse

It is interesting to hear leftists talk about the "Patriot police". This coming from the modern day Nazi bigots that enforce Orwellian political correctness so they can use minorities to gain power. Modern leftists are nothing but dumb sheep led by eugenicist Nazis that use minority groups to stifle debate and divide the populace.

Posted by: Satan Himself | November 4, 2007 11:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm very happy to read the comments from people who think that fact checking a chain e-mail without a source is a waste of time, because these people understand that where you get your information is vitally important. However, sad to say, in our society there are people who would take this chain email as FACT! So, please, everyone, fact check away, and when an error is found, SPREAD THE NEWS! Stop the madness!

Posted by: Bethany | November 5, 2007 2:22 AM | Report abuse

To me, it doesn't make a difference whether it was the Pledge of Allegiance, or the National Anthem that Obama didn't place his hand over his heart for. The fact is: he didn't do it, and it was caught on film.

As many know, a picture says a thousand words, and people will read into it however they matter if it's true or not.

As a proud wife of a US soldier, I personally feel that we should ALL place our hands over our heart for the Anthem and the Allegiance. It shouldn't just be a gesture to make someone look good, though. It is supposed to have meaning. It's supposed to show that your support for our country comes straight from the heart, that you truly love the land you came from (or come to).

It is the land of the free, the home of the brave, and there are soldiers overseas fighting to keep it that way.

If Obama, or anyone else for that matter, doesn't feel they should support our troops, and support our country, or show respect for it, then they are more than welcome to find a new country to live in.

Posted by: Proud Army Wife | November 5, 2007 5:22 AM | Report abuse

Vote Republican.

Posted by: jeff | November 5, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse


The problem is, people are believing these chain e-mails because they don't know where else to look. If I receive an e-mail from someone I know and trust is intelligent, I might believe they wouldn't send on a false e-mail and would forward it. Thank God I'm intelligent enough to double-check any e-mails like this I get. It would be otherwise very convincing, sadly. This was a great blog that I'll be using in retaliation of anyone who sends me that ridiculous e-mail.

Posted by: HeatherinKazoo | November 5, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Several comments:

First, I grew up saying the pledge in school and singing the national anthem in music class, and I was NEVER taught to put my hand over my heart during the anthem, only the pledge. So it is news to me that such a gesture is expected or written into law. You salute the flag, not the song.

Second, thank you for documenting the true nature of the photo. I lean very conservative, but one of the primary things I believe true conservatism supports is honesty--pure, unaltered, in-your-face honesty. I would love for the candidates to stand up and say, "I'm raising your taxes to give health care to the people who broke the law to get into the country." And I believe most Democrats AND Republicans could say that, so I'm not pointing the finger at only one side. If they were honest and up-front in what they believe, people could vote on real issues.

Third, Kat your son is truly inspired. I don't agree with his conclusions, but at least they are his own thoughts based on his own beliefs developed from his own research. I have no issues with someone who disagrees with me, I have issues with someone who disagrees "just because I said so," and then calls me names because we see things differently. As long as he continues thinking and taking an active part, he can go to sleep knowing he cared enough to try and find out the facts, and didn't just swallow some political hogwash.

Bravo to all with informed opinions, and to those who are willing to listen respectfully to those who disagree!

Posted by: Independent Thinker | November 5, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

It shouldn't be considered a moral crime to not salute the flag or put your hand over your heart during a national anthem. That being said I feel that someone who is vying to become the president of that country should hold his hand to his heart out of pure respect of that country. When I was in H-School at the start of every game the national anthem was played and everyone in the gym turned, faced the flag, and put their hand over their heart. If you failed to stand up or put your hand over your heart someone was sure to put you in your place.

A lot of Americans have given everything they had, including their lives, to have the honor to live in a country where you were free. The national anthem is just a short period of time to reflect on those who have given so much and asked for so little. I feel one of the foremost requirements of becoming a president is having an intense love for the country. I'd bet that if Kennedy or Regan were on that stage they would be facing the flag.

Posted by: Gabbit | November 5, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps, after putting your hand over your heart several times a day, probably every day of the week, every week for the past nine months since announcing to run for the presidency, perhaps every now and then you may be excused for not reaffirming your patriotism with this symbolic gesture. And yes, after watching the video under scrutiny I really admire his resilience not to put his hands to his ears instead to cover them.

Posted by: icebear | November 5, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Jimmie, You really did just retire? Then why would you support Obama? He clearly has a different view of what patriotic means. But so do most US haters. As a just retired MARINE you should have a lot less to say about Americas children going to war. Saddam was bad man. Someone needed to stop him. Or are you one of the Marines that never came over here yet. I have been 3 times and will go another 3 if they tell me to. I am also a MARINE.

Posted by: mac | November 5, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Why are the shadow angles different between the chair and Obama? It looks like this picture was doctored.

Posted by: Dan | November 5, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

@Dan: Because, silly, the chairs don't have vertical (upright) legs, and diagonal structures cast diagonal shadows. Furthermore if you watch the video you will agree there's no way this can be doctored. Check it out here: (I say watch it, but cover your ears *LOL*)

Posted by: icebear | November 5, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Jimmie, It should be second nature to a man running for president to place his hand over his heart during the national anthem.... so having said that, in my opinion it was a conscious choice not to put his hand in the proper place.
second of all the post right above yours that I wrote points out that the "flag" behind them isn't really a flag but a painted billboard, and since all the politicians were faced the same way that leads me to believe there was a flag off the right hand side of the stage.

and i just want to be clear Obama may have spoken out against the war when the polls were with him, but our president has done what he believes is right and what he believes will keep us safe even when the media and the polls were and are still agaisn't him. That is someone who loves his country.

Last- if you are an ex marine i would like to to thank you for protecting me and my family- if you are not then its no wonder you support this phoney, because you are one yourself.

Thank you to all the soldiers and their families!

Posted by: Sam | November 5, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

icebear- thank you for posting that I have been trying to find the actual video instead of just a picture. Im really wondering who sang that it was totally butchered lol

Posted by: Sam | November 5, 2007 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Some folks were incensed without checking the facts. Whatever party you believe in, this is not the type of campaign that should be run in American politics. A smear without taking time to get the entire story is shameful. I truly hope the divisions in this country will not preclude at least a minimally "clean race" for a change. We should be more interested in the platform than in any mud slinging. No matter who you vote for, be sure to vote. We want to preserve our democracy and hopefully begin to heal the rifts within our OWN country!!

Posted by: tutuwahine | November 5, 2007 7:00 PM | Report abuse

This email as wrong to not print the correct information. However, the simple fact is that he did not put his hand over his heart. He has been seen doing this on more than one occasion. He will need to be more practical and visually more patriotic for me to vote for him. I did not care about the chain email, I however researched it myself and found the same information as above. But, the video is distasteful and heart breaking.

As a fellow military man and one that served during the Persian Gulf War during Desert Storm/Shield I fully understand many of this great nations point of view on bother sides of this. A debate over this type of stuff is not needed right now. The focus should be on getting our troops home and finding a new commander-in-chief and president that understands the values of the this country and the amount of sacrifice it took to get to this point in history. It's a spit on the american soldire and the american people (voters) to not have placed his hand over hi heart.

Watch the video and you can see he's just looking out into the crowd wondering why he's there.

God Bless all of you and God Bless out troops.....

Posted by: Troy - US AirForce | November 5, 2007 9:38 PM | Report abuse

One thing is clear. It is unexcusable for someone aspiring to lead the nation not to observe the code and respect when saluting the flag or listening to the national anthem. Unless Obama has attention deficit, he acted on purpose. Either way, it makes it unfit for the presidency.

Posted by: Montana | November 5, 2007 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey SAM....

Thanks for your comments...I'm right there with you...I'm 4th Generation Military and I can tell you...Until you have served your country or really gotten to know someone that has, you just don't understand how it is....

You are right, second nature to place your hand over your heart is what shows devotion to this country....

God Bless you and your Family as well...


Posted by: Troy - US AirForce | November 5, 2007 9:42 PM | Report abuse

I should note...I'm no longer active duty just incase you are wondering....I served and proud of it...

Take care everyone...I do think everyone is entitled to their own opinion don't take offense if I don't believe in your opinion..its just as important as my own.

Posted by: Troy - US AirForce | November 5, 2007 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm amazed at the number of people who find offense in someone standing respectfully (if he'd had his head bowed, I'd have thought he was praying in church, for goodness sake) while listening to some singer butcher the national anthem.

For those who suggest that we, who don't meet your personal patriotism-measurement in how we stand or show respect, should find another country: perhaps it's you who should consider it. A few suggestions: pre-1985 Soviet Union, China today, 1941 Germany. You'd fit right in to the mindset there, as you obviously don't have a clue about the freedoms our armed forces are pledged to defend.

Patriotism is not about posing to appear patriotic. Freedom is not about conformity; it's not about a nazified judgemental outlook toward your fellow Americans and how they choose to show their respect for our flag or our anthem. And an election for POTUS should be about considerably deeper issues than this non-story. Time to grow up, get serious, and look at what the individuals running for POTUS intend to do about the serious issues facing our beloved country & what they see is their preferred way to get it back on track.

If this hand-over-the-heart thing is that which would decide your vote ... then it's no wonder we've got so many unsolved major problems.

I'm an American citizen, born free, patriotic, and proud of it. I don't say sieg heil or goosestep for anybody's nazi mindset ... even the evidently growing numbers of misguided American patriot-police.

God bless our freedoms ... or at least what's left of 'em.


Posted by: Penny | November 6, 2007 12:23 AM | Report abuse

In response to Grouchyreader. I received this email from one of my immature redneck (I come from a long line of rednecks) gun-toting (not that I'm against guns, just against stupid people carrying them), illiterate relatives.

I agree with you in principle. Unfortunately there are alot of people out there who get their only information from stupid chain mails like these. Their uneducated dander gets up and before you know it, the South is gonna rise again.

I found this blog after receiving this ridiculous email, sent the URL to my mom who hopefully will forward it to her white trash sister.

If a blog can break the chain of redneck stupidity poisoning the South, then Hallelujah!!

Posted by: BWBlog | November 6, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Penny -

You seem to forget your own arguments. You mention that "some singer butcher(ing) the national anthem" and then tell us that those who suggest that "we" who don't meet "your" personal patriotism measurements should find another country. Well, who are you to say that "some singer" is butchering the National Anthem? You are correct that patriotism is not about appearing patriotic but keep this in mind - years ago it was considered impolite NOT to remove one's hat upon entering a building. Today, any building anywhere is full of men (and boys) wearing all manner of ratty looking baseball caps not only indoors but at the dinner table. My point being that once you allow the watering down of social mores society comes to expect less and less as the norm. If I were to run for POTUS I would expect everything I do and say to be scrutinized and picked apart. I would make sure that I did, at least, pose to appear patriotic for I would know that every action, every utterance would be subject to intense scrutiny.

By the way, there is no more pre-1985 Soviet Union, there is no 1941 Germany. The reason being is that good people stood up for what they believed in and defended what was moral and good. I know there are those of you out there that will argue that the USA is neither moral nor good and to those people I challenge you to name a country that does more for the rest of the world as a whole.

Posted by: Hank the Crank | November 6, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me? This place sounds more like a fan club. Has anyone here bothered to look up Title 36 of the US Code, regarding this topic? I assure you its enlightening. See for yourselves. Barack Hussein Obama, did indeed screw up. It clearly states; "(A) all present (not some) except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart". This goes back to 1931. I wonder what would have happened if this had been 1931 when patriotism meant something? Come on people, wake up. And that is not coffee you're smelling.

Posted by: Joseph | November 6, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

What? Since when did a law passed in 1931 to DEMAND patriotism actually mean anything when it comes to true patriotism??? Your the one smelling the crock of 'not coffee' as you so eloquently eluded to in your post. You are the same type who argues that because Barack Hussein Obama is some how a Muslim extremist and plans on aborting all of their babies and raising taxes to give all their hard earned money to welfare moms so they can pay for their crack... This is the 'coffee' that we have to deal with now and days. Most people who would forward this message are dumb ingorant... whats the word that would include all of them - oh yea - republicans. Not that all republicans would agree with this, but all people who agree with this are republicans. If this changes the way they originally viewed Barack's policies and understanding of the issues that seriously face this country and how he has planned to fix them - then they should GEEEETTTT OUUUUUTTT! (imagine this as if it were part of a country song). Why don't we just do like they did in Fahrenheit 451 and pick the president based on who is the cutest or 'most patriotic' - that is a much more democratic way of deciding. If people are so dumb as to think that this picture means anything then this just highlights why they shouldn't be allowed to vote --- If they think patriotism is about putting your hand over your heart during the national anthem then we need to do something drastic and quickly - like drink our coffee and get to work on educating these people.

Posted by: Crank Hank | November 6, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

My goodness. I'm as patriotic as the next person, and I've never put my hand over my heart when the national anthem is played. Nobody ever "taught" me too; rather I was taught to stand up, face the flag, remove my hat, and either sing the anthem or be quiet. I'm showing the proper respect to a symbol of my country! and those of you who don't think so -- the next time your at a sporting event, please take the time to notice the thousands of people, talking, leaving their hats on, or talking -- you've much bigger issues of disrepect to worry about.

I'm not voting for Obama, but not for this issue. I feel sorry forthose of you who decided not to vote for him because of this issue; you're probably the same people who swallowed hook line and sinker George Bush's "patriotic" farce of landing on an aircraft carrier and declaring "Mission Accomplished" about 4 years ago. That was truly trying to use Patriotism for political gain.

So I noticed the "US Code 36" referenced which was only written in 1998 -- its not some defacto long standing tradition / requirement. Here is what it says --


Subtitle I--Patriotic and National Observances and Ceremonies

Part A--Observances and Ceremonies


Sec. 301. National anthem

(a) Designation.--The composition consisting of the words and music
known as the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem.
(b) Conduct During Playing.--During a rendition of the national
(1) when the flag is displayed--
(A) all present except those in uniform should stand at
attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart;
(B) men not in uniform should remove their headdress with
their right hand and hold the headdress at the left shoulder,
the hand being over the heart; and
(C) individuals in uniform should give the military salute
at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until
the last note; and

(2) when the flag is not displayed, all present should face
toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag
were displayed.

(Pub. L. 105-225, Aug. 12, 1998, 112 Stat. 1263.)

This "law" is no law at all -- It uses terms like "should" not "shall". And the reason why is that Congress -- cannot dictate what people do -- its the first amendment! But, Congress & the President (Republicans and Democrats both) waste our time -- once again trying to dictate how people should ensure morality and patriotism. Patriotism is so much! Its what is in your heart and your deeds that makes someone a patriot -- not some dumb "law" on trying to tell people how to be patriotic.

I learned this many years ago, when I wrote and won the "Patriotism award" in my Elementary school as a Third grader "what it means to be an American". As a third grader, I learned this simple fact. I think many of you have forgotten the true meaning of patriotism.

Posted by: Patriotic as the Next Fellow | November 6, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: jimmy | November 6, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I am not a supporter of Barak Obama; however, upon receiving this email I was immediately suspicious. After ten seconds of research (i.e. typing a few key words into google), I came across this article and replied to the sender with a link. Thank you, Mr. Dobbs!

Posted by: Chris | November 6, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

yes indeed there are plenty of opinions out there on a photo that is being sold as "worth a thousand words", all it did for me was make me curious about this man and what he indeed does say. HIS WORDS IMPRESS ME AND I THINK THEY MUST ANGER SOME PRETTY POWEFUL FORCES.
yes i believe he threatened the clintons and the more research i do, the more i am convinced that he has the right ideas to change this country from the lazy, apathetic people into a people that embrace change to help our planet.
he addresses the global warming issues, was honest in his opposition to this pointlessly destructive war.
yes i believe he has what it takes to run this country. i will vote for obama!
thanks to the idiotic slur e-mail- i read more about this man.

Posted by: sissy69 | November 6, 2007 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Yes this picture is indeed worth a thousand words, more perhaps. And as mentioned above, Title 36 is not a law just a Code of Conduct, one that should be followed particularly by those running for our highest office. This is only one way of showing respect for the national anthem, our flag and our country, Sen. Obama needs to show proper respect and honor his country.

Posted by: sassygirl | November 6, 2007 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Thank you fact checker! Pledge or National Anthem - you choose, either way he is no patriot. This islamic sleeper has no interest in true patriotism. He has no idea what our principles our country was founded upon. I will not allow anti-American liberals to REDEFINE the word patriot.

Posted by: Jake | November 6, 2007 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Why is Obama a bad candidate? Because he's never led anything in his life and has no relevant experience to be the most important leader and decision-maker in the world. Christ, have we learned nothing from putting Bush, another inexperienced moron, in the White House? Has this whole country gone insane?

Posted by: Ashamed | November 7, 2007 1:22 AM | Report abuse

Hand over their heart? All four should have had their hands over their ears. It was a larger crime to have the national anthem destroyed in a public setting. Step aside Rosanne Barr, We found a new winner

Posted by: Doug | November 7, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

your supposed to have your hand over your heart then too.

Posted by: anon7 | November 7, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Why do we have to bicker over these silly things. Don't people have something better to do? Why can't we just all stick together as Americans and be united like we were afer 9/11. Obama is not the enemy. Remember who the real terrorists were? And who said it said it right, we don't need Hillary in the Whitehouse. She is a flipflopper. At least Obama says what he means and means what he says.

Posted by: Hammie | November 7, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I was there at the steak fry. All of you are over analyzing the moment way too much. I believe that Barack was caught up in the beauty of the moment of hearing the national anthem sung. He in fact had just marched with over 3000 of his supporters along a rural Iowa road. Truly, it took many by surprise. I do believe he was caught up in the moment, and perhaps it was just an over site, that he didn't place his hand on his heart. He has lived his life with his hand over his heart by serving others and trying to make a difference. So perhaps it is nothing more than that. I do believe that people should look a little deeper.

Posted by: Dorothia | November 7, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Singing the national anthem is a patriotic observance. Also, why do something half way. If Obama claims that no special actions are taken for the national anthem, then why is he even standing.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 7, 2007 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Singing the national anthem is a patriotic observance. If Obama claims that no special actions are taken during the singing of the national anthem, then why is he even standing.

Posted by: Common Sense | November 7, 2007 10:34 PM | Report abuse

has everyone here overlooked the fact that the man was still there paying attention to what was going on and actually listening to that horrible excuse of a singers "rendition" of our National Anthem? Watch the video (posted further up this page by "icebar") and notice that he is singing along or at least trying to. how about if we attack that "singer" for being unpatriotic. not for being unable carry a tune, instead for not knowing or changing and adding words to the most important song this country bases its patriotism on. This song has lyrics of a battle that men fought, killed, and died in. If you people downing Mr. Obama want to cry disrespect, you should re-direct those cries toward the person singing. As far as Barack Hussein Obama is concerned I believe firmly that he is a true patriot and one who is humbled and proud to be afforded the freedom we in this country are given by the efforts of our service men and women. That being said, plain and simple people, the freedom I am talking about is the freedom to keep your hands folded neatly at your front, down to your side, across your heart, or quite frankly over your ears as so many have suggested. We have a freedom that must be honored and respected if you ask me, but then who am I to take your freedom of being able to disrespect if you so choose. Perspective people, we have men and women DYING overseas right now because of a man unsuited for his position as Commander-in-Chief. Lets focus less on who has their hand over their heart and more on who is going to be best suited to bring our country out of turmoil and bring our amazing service men and women home and out of harms way.

one last note: Kat your son is truly an inspiration to me personally after reading what he wrote. I am 23 years old and disgusted with the overall lack of education and CARE that young men and women have about our government, our country and who is controlling it. we need to get educated, become informed, make decisions and vote; not based on Republican or Democrat but on our education of the system and of the candidates running. Young people--- get a clue... Kat your son is a patriot and commend him for his interest and care for where our country needs to go from here.


Posted by: Crow | November 7, 2007 11:39 PM | Report abuse

I truly appreciate that you fact checked this. I believe a lot of folks are influenced by viral emails. B/c you remember "if it is in print, it's gotta be true." NOT.
Thanks for the hard work.
I'll be back.

Posted by: Whit | November 8, 2007 12:18 AM | Report abuse

As a Certified Meeting Professional I know that the standard is to salute toward the flag OR the music during the national anthem. I guess I am about as liberal as you can get, however I do have to ask how a senator or a presidential candidate did not know this? Which is worst, Obama's lack of knowledge or John Edwards lack of cross-cultural sensitivity by wearing a coat and tie when every one else in that 3rd world meeting was open collar. Both are now off my radar.

Posted by: Lee Brown, C.M.P. | November 8, 2007 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Excuses can be made that everyone else on the stage was in violation of Title 36 or the U.S. Code, but the fact is that he didn't place his hand over his heart and everyone else did and it doesn't look very patriotic. He should have learned his lesson from the lapel pin incident.

Posted by: D. John McCarthy | November 8, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Thank you Fact Checker. Many of my family members circulate these right-wing smear chain letters, and it usually falls to me to go do the research and find out exactly why they aren't true. Thanks for saving me, and other people in the unfortunate position of loving otherwise wonderful people who also happen to be die-hard republicans, from another research task.

Posted by: SW | November 8, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Troy AirForce wrote - " He will need to be more practical and visually more patriotic for me to vote for him"

How obeisant to a false idol must he be? He certainly loves this country more than the man presently holding the office of the President, and you're casting him simply because he isn't sufficiently VISUALLy patriotic?

Excatly the kind of uber-patriotism that has led the GOP (and the rest of US) down the the wrong road. Demanding ARDENT, VISUAL and APPARENT patriotism, instead of practicing TRUE patriotism, and protecting us from our own government's illegal activities. BushCo must be proud!

Posted by: Fred Evil | November 8, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Obama's not all bad, but people
---please see through his manipulation!
He refuses to wear the lapel pin, he didn't put his hand over his heart--WHY?
To draw attention to how "Patriotic without being patriotic" he can be.
Any person who has commented by suggesting
that people who DO show signs of Patriotism automatically are trying to decieve is SICK and needs their head examined. It is clear however that Mr. Obama is trying to manipulate and placate the political left by not being "overly" patriotic at specific times!

Posted by: M | November 8, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Well, this code is a new one on me. I was born in 1949 and I specifically remember being told NOT to place my hand over my heart for the singing of the National Anthem (but, yes, to stand and be respectful) but to place my hand over my heart for the PLEDGE. If that code was written in 1998 (as was mentioned above) then a lot of us were taught something different before then. Heck, I stand for the Anthem when I'm all alone in my house when I hear it on TV or the radio. But I've never placed my hand over my heart.

For what it's worth, I'm a musician and there are plenty of times at patriotic events that I have music in my hands at that time. It would be a sorry state of affairs if musicians were accused of being unpatriotic for not having their hand over their heart.

Obama is NOT a Muslim. Good grief. He belongs to the United Church of Christ.

Posted by: Ellie | November 8, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse


I laugh my ass off everytime one of thee morons starts crap like this.

You know what...NOBODY CARES. The chicken-in-chief may place his hand over his heart...if he can find it. Look what he's done to the country.

Remember, the chick-in-chief was busted for DUI and lied about that (his reason, so his daughters wouldn't be exposed to it...LAME). Then his daddy made sure he was in the front of the line so he could join the guard and NOT have to go to Vietname. Then there's "Deferment Dick Cheney" and the rest of the chicken coop.

Let's see, the RepubliCON party is gay, lies, starts wars because they are bored, screws children out of health care, etc. It's okay I guess. As long as they salute, put their hand over their heart, and don't get a bj from a WOMAN, then they are okay. You RepubliCONs need to find another country to live in and ruin.

Anything Obama and any other Democratic candidate does pales in comparison to the sleaze that exists in Washington (the Gay Old Perverts club) or the RepubliCON candidates running.

I'll be voting Democrat because I'm tired of "more of the same".

Posted by: Michael | November 8, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

The fact remains Barrack Obama DID NOT put his hand over his heart during the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE.

And this wasn't a one time thing either. As stated above, "SOMETIMES HE DOES, SOMETIMES HE DOESN'T." said Obama's spokesman Bill Burton. AGHH! SOMETIMES!!

If that is true it deeply troubles me.

If Obama doesn't care to seriously pledge his personal ALLEGIANCE to the THIS COUNTRY, how can we expect him to be the !!!PRESIDENT!!! of THIS COUNTRY!

When he finds it hard to have express loyalty to his country, how can we expect him to have much much loyalty to anything!

Posted by: Nathaniel | November 9, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

The fact is everybody in the picture has there hand on their heart except Obama. They were all probably facing a flag. I think you went to far to make this seem like no big deal. He is a presidential hopeful and should know the proper way to stand during the anthem. The fact that he want be president should make him even more careful about appearances. Yet here he is.

As far as the statute only being for patriotic displays. Anytime you stop an event for the playing the National Anthem it is a patriotic display. What else would you call it?
The fact is everybody in the picture has there hand on their heart except Obama. They were all probably facing a flag. I think you went to far to make this seem like no big deal. He is a presidential hopefull and should know the proper way to stand durring the anthem. The fact that he want be be president should make him even more carful about apearences. Yet here he is

Posted by: Dan | November 9, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Note to Nathaniel - One more time - it was the National Anthem, not the Pledge of Allegiance. Read the article carefully and once you are a perfect human being, then you may require it of others.

Posted by: Paula | November 9, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Osama , I mean obama , needs to be eliminated from the presidential race, as does Hillary,Edwards, Guliani,and all the other pseudo-patriots that infest our country.

Posted by: Rick | November 9, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

I thought that everyone knows that you are supposed to put your hand over your heart for the Pledge of Allegience and the National Anthem. Weren't any of you in scouting? I think that Obama has a lot of good qualities, and if i were a Democrat, i would vote for him over Hillary, but he seemed to be oblivious to the fact that he should have placed his hand over his heart, and the other candidatates were behind him so he didn't see the appropriate response from them. It doesn't seem that he is rebelling from placing his hand over his heart--maybe he is trying too hard not to cringe over the singer's hideous rendition of our national anthem. If this was a democrat function, who was responsible for the choice of singer? Maybe democrats are just too dumb to lead this country if they can't take care of the important details. The demos tell us on a daily basis what a moron Bush is, what about whoever was supposed to supply the music for this function? Didn't they check into the singer's huge ego and small singing skills?

Posted by: Barbara | November 10, 2007 4:05 AM | Report abuse

Yes someone did try to fool me. Does Barrack Obama ring a bell.

Posted by: Jim | November 10, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

To Barbara:

I was taught by my father to put my hand over my heart during the pledge of allegiance, and to stand at attention, quietly, with respect, during the National Anthem. I could sing if I didn't think it would hurt the ears of the person next to me. My father was a very vocal patriot with whom I deeply disagreed on the issue of my day, which was Vietnam. He served in the Air Force during WWII and did many many more missions over Germany than was required of him.

So when I see Obama without his hand over his heart during the National Anthem, it doesn't worry me in the least. Just because the other have their hands over their hearts does not mean he is not committed to this country. It means they were raised in a different way. We have no right to judge the patriotism of someone else just because they aren't doing what we consider to be the "showy thing". When we look into the hearts of people we learn more about them than we do when we judge them in such a shallow manner.

Posted by: lkd | November 11, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

To Jimmmie who postedon Nov.4th:

Great comments and great insights.bbbbbbbbbbb

Posted by: lkd | November 11, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I got this e-mail from my mom and was all ready to send it in to fact checker when i found out you had already done your work :) The sad thing is, some people, even intelligent people, are ready to believe whatever propaganda is shoved in their faces without actually doing any research. That goes for both Republicans and Democrats. To me, the most frightening challenge facing politics in our country is our citizens' lack of initiative in researching their candidates, and their willingness to believe anything they hear or read.

Posted by: Kristina | November 11, 2007 11:51 PM | Report abuse

I actually disagree with some of the commentors who have expressed that featuring this anonymous email in this column is a waste of time. I know many people who believe all the urban legend/scam emails that come across their desktops. Are they stupid? No, they have just errantly placed their trust in the wrong thing. Given that there is (what I presume to be) a large segment of the population who are easily mislead and given the importance of truth in a presidential campaign, I can't think of a better topic to place under the microscope. To those who have felt "put upon" to have to read this: Next time, don't!

To commentor KAT: You have every right to be proud of your son. His comments betray his age. He gets right to the point and speaks the truth. Perhaps, in 18 years, we'll be voting for him for president!

Posted by: mdelaney | November 13, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Can AMERICA TRUST a man with the last name OBAMA???? I think NOT!
America--is suppose to be free--Our Men and Women are out of our Country fighting a War--While Americans at Home are letting outsiders take over our Country!!



Posted by: Leigh | November 13, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

If Obama knew his American Civics, he would know that Congress codified the protocol for rendering the Pledge and the National Anthem. In both cases, all present not in uniform shall face the flag or music, uncover and place their right hand over their hearts - except for military members in uniform who render a salute. Anyone who ever attended a pro sports event knows that. Either way; Pledge of Allegiance or National Anthem; Obama is dead wrong and no one in the mainstream media called him on it.

Posted by: Serviceman | November 15, 2007 4:11 AM | Report abuse

It's interesting how the mainstream media is so quick to criticize Hillary (a white female) for any small misstep, but will attempt to rationalize any clear mistake by Barack (an Afrian American). Look at the title to this article, "Obama Nabbed by the Patriot Police." Seriously, what's with the connection between patriotism and a police state. However, society has deemed it politically correct to bash traditional American values. Meanwhile, in the Al Sharpton era (of First Amendment law), its racist to criticize any African American whether they are right or wrong. There's currently a chilling effect on speech when it comes to the criticism of African Americans. Well, last time I checked African Americans are Americans too. They should be held to the same standards as any other American - to do otherwise would be racist. Oh, and supporting a black man just for the sake of having a black president just isn't a good way to elect a president. I guess Reverend King's idea of judging a man by the content of his character doesn't seem to apply today. And if we do want to vote for someone just because of the color of their skin, why limit it to just African Americans. They are so many other races who are arguably more disenfranchised (e.g. Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans). As long as we're choosing candidates based on color, we must make sure that all races are represented. And people wonder American power is declining, and why people hate us. Simply put, American hate themselves and want to see America fall from power. Desertion of the intellecutals is one of the signs of a declining power; and this has clearly happened with our hypocritical, biased academia and media. And yes our values have declined. Take a look around at society. As a sidenote, the incidence of STD's has gone up - I wonder why?

Posted by: Augustan | November 15, 2007 4:24 AM | Report abuse

I find it interesting that Democrats are up in arms because someone has sent a contrived e-mail and make further responses as to well the Repubs have nothing of fact to argue so they make it up, in the Republican camps the same e-mails fly around and they make the same claims. The fact is people DO believe this stuff and it is made up and sent from both sides. I seem to remember a story on the Evening News with Dan Rather that had a lot of made up items, yet people still hold to it as true.

Posted by: Tim in Ohio | November 15, 2007 10:23 PM | Report abuse

No one is "smearing" Barack Obama. He himself says it was the National Anthem (for which he failed to show proper respect).

I looked up another site on flag etiquette, and one is supposed to face the flag OR the music during the National Anthem. It is possible that all three candidates were facing the band or the singer that was performing the National Anthem.

Posted by: Bill Levinson | November 16, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Men died to supporting the flag - and I am not talking about Iraq - Afghanistan. The Jimmy Carter candidate Obama dishonors their memories.

Here, Jimmy Carter candidate means the pathetic, out-of-touch, person who put us into the situation in Iraq (444 hostages), uncontrollable inflation, and employment.

I love my country, like my job, and cannot support another Jimmy Carter candidate.

Posted by: Alan | November 16, 2007 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't matter where he is show the respect that is due at all times, not when it suits him. Just how social liberals are!!!

Posted by: Sam Bass | November 16, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

In present the aggressive black racism has flown over our country. They call whites "the white trash." And the notorious Clinton, our ex-president made blacks to believe that they must not be punished for their attitude, feelings and aggressive expressions for the whites. But the whites must be punished even if a black thinks that a white person is not enough loyal to him. It is difficult to believe, but such a law is alive and active in the country. This law discriminates the whites, but the whites keep silence. They are afraid to raise their voices and to be blamed as racists. We can only imagine what will happen to the whites in the United States, when a black person rules the country.

My opinion is that Obama is too young and inexperienced in order to be the president of the United States. He is not Kennedy who was a loyal American and became a hero long before he became the president. The fact that Obama disrespected the American tradition tells me that he is not in love with the country and just is thirsty for the power. It does not matter what he promises to us now in order to get our votes. He will forget about his promises to us when he becomes a president.

Posted by: Lilia | November 17, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

so i totally agree w/ concerned Dem. i mean really - how can he refuse to do those things or wait- simply forget! micheal- republicans can't be gay b/c most of us don't believe in gay marriage! and since you can't use a proper adjective clearly you're not that bright so your comments can't be taken seriously!

Posted by: teenager | November 17, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

fyi when the national anthem is played you are to face the flag. If the flag is behind you then you are to face the music. Actually they are all doing it correctly. One other point. I wonder how many of us stand at attention with our hand over our heart at sporting events or even at the next parade as the flag passes by each time. I also think be careful when i throw stones they might land back on me.

Posted by: dave | November 19, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Even if he hadn't done the 'traditional' thing, it would have still been a valid point. For too long, our country has attributed patriotism to rituals and gestures that are almost religious in nature. True Patriotism is to be an active participant, not an animal subject to programmed responses.

Posted by: Mighty Anonymous | November 19, 2007 7:23 PM | Report abuse

I love this article it speaks such truth. This is the sick vulnerable world that we live in, where the media easily sways our opinions and we'll believe anything. As stated Obama is NOT a middle-aged WHITE MAN and everybody seems to have a problem with it. Even those who aren't speaking towards the political stance, silently they'll show their prejudice nature in the election next year. And I'm not saying that Obama is 100% the best for our country. But he's got my vote.

Posted by: Lashun Taulton | November 21, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the post by "Satan Himself". Minorities are used by some groups to stifle real debate in this country. One of the reasons why I despise the left here in the US>

Posted by: jason | November 25, 2007 3:41 AM | Report abuse

I wont give my name so I don't get mobbed, but I will say I am a muslim. I am also a human being. It is sad to see people agreeing that a muslim could not even stand for president in this country, which stands for freedom of religion. Are all muslime terrorists? Somehow less than human?
The biggest farce propagated in this country is, that this is a a country for Christians only. I mean only those christians who hold their hands over their hearts and stand up when the national anthem is played. Otherwise they stick their fingers and in their ears and close their eyes to the fact that one fifth of humanity cannot possibly be plain evil and crazy.

In my experience of living for almost 3 decades in this country, I found no outward hostility from my coworkers. I get treated with dignity and return the favor. The only thing odd is that I am not invited to socialize. I would not be comfortable with that myself, so I am fine. I almost feel I belong, when I am reminded that are those, who think they own this country, and they decide how one should behave. Remember in the 1930's some of the Germans also decided everyone must raise their hand and proclaim 'Heil Hittler'. Missed that and you are busted. They also had the SS to intimidate and people did conform or got branwashed with lies.
Just remember your history lesson and try to realize where this is going.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 1, 2007 2:39 AM | Report abuse

My guess is if he had not been first in the row with his back to the others, or had he looked over his shoulder, he would have seen what everyone else was doing and copied them.

It's a classic case of "what do I do with my hands?"

There is a video of the event, sound included, if you google it.

Posted by: Chris | December 3, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

The video of this communist called obama is all over the net. Go see it for yourself. The man disrespected this country and no matter how many of you communist take up for him it will not be forgotten.

Posted by: Mike | December 4, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

let em play ref. let em play

Posted by: WESTCOAST MOBB1N | December 7, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

More on Senator Barack Obama and his presidential genes can be found at:

Another Barack Obama Cousins Story at:

and here is one from NPR at:

Posted by: Alexisnexus | December 8, 2007 9:56 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: SON OF LIGHT | December 10, 2007 5:55 AM | Report abuse

I believe this email was sent by the other demon-cratic presidential hopefuls (most likely the Clinton campaign) due to the fact that Obama has been leading in the polls against the other demon-crats.

If you ask me, I don't believe any of the demon-crats in the photo care about America and are just "going through the motions" when it comes to displays of patriotism in order to get elected so they can gather as much political power as they can. Once they get that power, they plan to take our money and as much of our freedom as possible. I think they should be running for president of Russia or China! I also think Republi-crats are selling our nation out to the likes of Pelosie and Clinton because they are afraid of the news media. I don't think smart people care about this crap. It is just another negative campaign trick to attempt to ruin and smear the reputation of an opponent. I would pay more attention to the campaigns if they actually stated there true positions on the issues.

Posted by: Chuck H | December 13, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Don't pick on Obama. He is just a kid!!!!!

Posted by: Ted | December 16, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

bottom line...he didn't place his hand over his heart which MOST people were taught at a very early age to do. I have never been to an event where people didn't do so. go to a professional sporting event people. hell, watch a nascar race and listen!! and for those that say you don't have to place your hand over your heart during the anthem or pledge to show patriotism geez its a small gesture. how hard is it to do so? It's not like you have to stand and hold your hand up for hours is it?? as far as fact checking goes...the man didn't do it! there's the fact...use some critical thinking people...doesn't matter why he didn't...he simply didn't do it! I'm just sick and tired of all the people out there that are simply "republican haters"... this fact checker crap is just SPIN. hellooo washington post?? what part of spin do you not understand?

Obama didn't place his hand over his heart like every other school child in American has been taught since WWI. once again..he DIDN"T DO IT. pull your heads out and look around. he's not the candidate to lead this country!

Posted by: steele | December 27, 2007 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Why in a time where the United States can not tell what our enemy looks like, except that they are Muslim, would we HIRE a muslim to run the country. Obama claims he is not a muslim, yet had a devote muslim father as well as step father. It is the religion he was raised in. Anyone can say they "got saved" and "found God" but his behavior says differently. Would he hold his hand on a bible when being sworn in? Would he vote for late term abortion (which even the liberals must admit is killing the child. The head must be punchered before the fetus is removed from the body, or the child would be born alive). These are fundamental Christian "givens". He says he is not devote Christian. What does that leave him? Why would we take a chance with the commander and chief of this country. I like him and his ideas but it is too big a chance to take with our government. Would he help more Muslims get into our country?
Sorry but political correctness is going overboard. We must start being politically cautious.

Posted by: dms | January 3, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe that you even would attempt to justify Obama's action here.

One who is to become commander-in-chief of our great nation should never "forget" to place his hand over his heart during the national anthem. The example that was brought up earlier in this blog that we, as American citizens, may sometimes "forget" or "not think about" performing this should not be granted any merit. Did he not notice everyone around him with hands over their hearts?

Shouldn't this man be attempting to present himself as a positive example of a leader, a commander, and a President? I ask myself this question as I see the results from voting polls in Iowa and sigh in disbelief.

The qualities that I, as a proud American citizen, look for in a leader are obviously not present in Barack Obama. Such events would never occur with someone who actually possesses the qualities principles necessary to lead our great nation. The video footage and photo taken from this event serve to prove my point in a succint and effective fashion.

Elect Barack Obama into Presidential Office and we will have four years to regret it.

Posted by: Eric | January 4, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

There is no way to sugar coat this. If he refuses even once to honor the flag, National Anthem, or the Pledge then he doesn't deserve to be running for President. How do you forget these things unless it isn't a habit? It amazes me how so many play this down but I say it doesn't add up and I don't think he should be running.

Posted by: Linda in WI | January 6, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

America was founded on principals from the Holy Bible, NOT the Koran (or Quaran) and I firmly believe that ANYONE who wants to represent ME or any other American should be held to THOSE standards. I also take exception to the church Mr. Obama claims to have membership in. Their web site clearly indicates that it is extremely racist and unashamedly is black through and through suggesting anyone white is NOT welcome there.

Posted by: Donald W. Moore | January 7, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for this. While some think this article won't be read by those who read it others can still bring it to the attention of those who are actually undecided only due to smears such as these. I was able to give my dad a change of heart after he brought this up as his sole reason why he wouldn't vote for Obama.

I find it funny also how earlier comments label the country as being founded on the Holy Bible. While maybe when it was founded people were predominantly Christian some people seem to forget the fact that Church is SEPERATE from the State. Religious affiliates should have no role in the election of a president. Hell, some people even seem to fail to realize how similar the Islam religion/belief system is to that of Christianity. Really the fact that he has past affiliations when he was younger to the Islam religion should bear no significance on someones vote, but sadly it does only due to the fact of a smear of the Islam religion by the conflicts within the Middle East. Some people seem to forget that while there are Muslim radicals there are also radicals for every other religion.

Posted by: Michael | January 8, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I was taught at a very early age in school to put my right hand over my heart during the Pledge of Allegiance. I don't think I've heard or recited that in quite some time, as think is true with most. Now, the national anthem is different, especially for those who frequent sporting events, such as myself. I've gone to hundreds of college football and NFL games, MLB, hockey, etc and I can honestly say that the vast majority of folks do not put their hands over their hearts. Stand-up, remove hats and face the flag, yes. This is the social expectation, while I might hold one to a higher standard (that code), given that most do not, I would not be so critical. And note, I consider myself highly patriotic with a flag inside and outside our home, before 911, and on Veteran's Day, I like to visit a cemetery of fallen solders; and our family has no members there. I love this country, but I don't put my hand over my heart during the national anthem either, so I suppose some might conclude otherwise, unfortunately. I am not an Obama supporter as I knew nothing about him until I got that harsh email. To be honest, I'm quite sure that I'm not going to vote for him, but it won't be because of this slander attempt to bring him down. What a shame.

Posted by: Tony | January 9, 2008 2:34 AM | Report abuse

This post & article are foolish, regardless of your political affiliation. I love how The Washington Post and their left-leaning readers on this post, have used this article to smear Republicans (i.e. "Republican haters", "Christinan Right", etc.). What you morons fail to realize is this "concern raised regarding who Obama really is" also comes from his political opposition within the Democratic party (i.e. Clinton ). Wake up people.

Posted by: Jon | January 9, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I've seen this picture recently, and was initially confused as I'm an Obama supporter. Fortunately, I'm not reactionary, and I was able to take a moment to get the facts straight, rather than e-mailing the picture to my friends and relatives without knowing the context.

Posted by: Truth | January 9, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

I, too, received that provocative E-mail. The ready availability of this website is a boon for quickly laying hands on what I trust to be impartial info from a reliable source. Thanks for being here!

Posted by: Laura W. | January 9, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Here is video of the incident.

He never thinks about putting his hand over his heart. By the way, the singer is horrible also.

Posted by: Ryan | January 10, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

It's probably nothing, but in both photos his hand is actually being held too low to be over his heart.

Posted by: Odd | January 10, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I am 62 years old. I was a Brownie, a Girl Scout [we learned about the flag] a band member who for years marched in the Memorial Day parade and attended the ceremonies afterward. I attend a Fourth of July celebration ceremony every summer to this day. Most of my friends' fathers were in WWII and my generation fought in Viet Nam. I said the pledge every day in school.
I NEVER LEARNED TO PUT MY HAND OVER MY HEART DURING THE ANTHEM, only the pledge. Boys were required to remove their hats.

It is only recently that I have noticed some people putting their hands over their hearts during the anthem, and when I first saw people doing this I thought it was strange and that they were getting confused.

Perhaps placing your hand over your heart is practiced in some parts of the county and not in others, such as in areas where there are more people who have been active duty military nore recently. For me it is new, just as I had to learn to add "under God" to the pledge when I was in third or fourth grade.

Many of us old timers were not taught to put our hands over our hearts during the anthem and I think it is silly to castigate Obama for something that has not been a tradition in many areas.
The flag "Code", may have been written in 1931, but it appears to me the following section may have been added in 1998.

To quote an earlier blog post by Partriotic as the next guy---
"So I noticed the "US Code 36" referenced which was only written in 1998 -- its not some defacto long standing tradition / requirement. Here is what it says --


Subtitle I--Patriotic and National Observances and Ceremonies

Part A--Observances and Ceremonies


Sec. 301. National anthem

(a) Designation.--The composition consisting of the words and music
known as the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem.
(b) Conduct During Playing.--During a rendition of the national
(1) when the flag is displayed--
(A) all present except those in uniform should stand at
attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart;
(B) men not in uniform should remove their headdress with
their right hand and hold the headdress at the left shoulder,
the hand being over the heart; and
(C) individuals in uniform should give the military salute
at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until
the last note; and

(2) when the flag is not displayed, all present should face
toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag
were displayed.

(Pub. L. 105-225, Aug. 12, 1998, 112 Stat. 1263.)

This "law" is no law at all -- It uses terms like "should" not "shall". And the reason why is that Congress -- cannot dictate what people do -- its the first amendment! "

I was prompted to write this by a caller on CSPAN this morning who felt Obama disrespected his WWII vet father by not having his hand over his heart. The poor man was nearly in tears. WHY DO WE GET SO UPSET ABOUT SUCH THINGS?

Hand over your heart during the anthem evidently is a tradition in some areas and not in others. Just because someone does it does not necesarily mean they are really patriotic. Who knows what is really in their heart? Not doing it doesn't mean one is not patriotic, either.

As to wearing a flag pin -- first I respect the flag and what it stands for, but I do not worship it as if it were a God.

I would not wear one at this time, because wearing one has come to mean you believe in a certain type of right wing politics, most of which I disagee with, and I do not want to be identified with those people. It does not mean I don't love my country, believe in its values or respect the flag. It does not mean I am not a patriot. I just have a different vision for our country than most people who wear flag lapel pins.

Flag worship in my opinion is a form of idolitry. Flag respect is patriotism. There is a difference.

Posted by: jj | January 10, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

wow, great article, so it wasn't the pledge just the meaningless anthem. You may look into a career in pr, come on thats like saying he didn't beat his child, it was his wife that he beat, shame on the person who said it was his child. Now thats an extreme example but really people how is snubbing the anthem somehow better and to all the people blasting the email, it got its message across, sure it was incorrect about the pledge, but its not as if it was playing the theme song from jeopardy.
Well hope you libs have fun complaining about this at your next ACLU meeting.

Posted by: eric | January 11, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Look. Mr. Obama did not choose not to put his hand over his heart during the national anthem, and that in itself to me is disrepectful not only to our country but to our people, our past, and the people who died for it. He claims he is trying to make a statement about true patriotism, and claims since 9-11 its become more of a show than a true act. Thats no reason NOT TO RESPECT OUR FLAG. When you rise for the pledge of alligance or the national anthem you aren't just honoring the flag for whats happening with our country right now, your honoring our history, the good and the bad and the people, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, everyone, who has died and fought for it. Obama is not being a "different democrat" he is being disrespectful. I know he is a person just like the rest of us and since we are in America he can voice his opionion because its freedom of speach. ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS OUR FLAG REPRESENTS. But as a presidential candidate he has put himself in the position to be looked upon critically with every move he makes and how can we trust someone or respect someone, who wants to run our country when he cannot stand 100% behind our symbol OUR FLAG.? Please tell me how i am supposed to trust this man when he cannot put his own opinions behind him to show at least some respect for the people who have died and are dieing right now, for our country and our flag. Please tell me how this man is supposed to be our millitary leader, when he doesnt respect what our men and women are doing for us? If he does, he hasn't shown us. And all that crap about "patriotism substitute" SHAME ON YOU BARACK OBAMA. 9-11 was a huge tragedy that brought our country together and we wave our flag nice and high to show it hasnt brought us down. And he wants to call it false patriotism? Please, give me a break. I wonder if he actually thinks about how disresptful his attempts of showing he is different are. and the fact that he doesn't just goes to show you, he doesnt deserve to be our president. If you cant respect our flag, through EVERYTHING our country is going through... then you SIR are not a true american.

These are the UNITED STATES, not the "like us when u feel like it states"

Posted by: Marci | January 14, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I was sitting in the teachers lounge at the school I teach at the other day when a particularly ill-informed co-worker if mine started spouting about this very topic. I kept quiet as long as I could, but I had to shut him up. I reminded him of the photoshop class I teach and how easy it was for me to add his dog into a photo he wasn't in before. I also reminded him that this photo could have been snapped a second before or after he raised or lowered his hand.

With garbage like this, you just never know. I personally recieved this email, and like any well-informed individual, I researched it and found it to be untrue. I did not pass this email on.

I am not an Obama supporter. Quite the opposite, I am a Mc Cain fan. But stupidity is stupidity, regardless of the candidate you are following. And anyone claiming that the Clinton camp sent this out is just as ignorant as the person who started this crap email! He who throws the biggest rock gets the sorest arm!

How about you address the real issues. Heaven forbid that a candidate may actually have a platform. What about electing someone on their plans for our country? What a novel idea! Did you vote for Reagan because he promised to keep red white and blue Jelly Belly's in his office? This makes about as much sense!

Patriotism is more than just a pin or a hand. I have failed to raise my hand to my heart during the anthem before. And I spent 8 years as a Navy wife. Does that make me a bad person or unpatriotic? Think before you spout idiocy.

Posted by: rachael | January 14, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Give me a break people! The guy is running for the freakin presidency. Everyone knows that ANYONE that is running for president will be scrutinized. Is this a time to "forget" to place your hand over your heart, whether it's for a song or the flag? If he's not unpatriotic, then he's just stupid. Either way, he won't have my vote.

To all you people "saying what's the big deal, stop nitpicking", I'll say it again, HE'S RUNNING FOR OFFICE. Duh!!

The US Code says that your hand should be placed over your heart "during a rendition of the national anthem, when the flag is displayed..." Both were present here, as well as cameras. Not a good time to be forgetting the hand...

Posted by: Proud American | January 15, 2008 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Have you really watched this video?? He is the ONLY one actually SINGING the song!! And Then others in the audience sang along... This is the National Anthem that you sing, not pledge!!!!

Posted by: katmarie | January 15, 2008 3:57 AM | Report abuse

even with proof people are still sppeculating. you people must want for him to be a muslim and destroy the united states.

Posted by: rihanna | January 16, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: tihfzjea zbtykd | January 16, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: bieh rzglm | January 16, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate the facts coming about the pledge incident. However, Obama's background, which is very Muslim and his stepfather's possible ties to exstreme radical Islam shoud be investigated. Also, the church he has joined, I am told, is a very exclusive one. Their web site certainly states so.

Posted by: Jimmy Meeks | January 16, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

no the steak fry doesn't count as a "Patriotic and National Observance" but the playing of the national anthem does! Nice try and an awful lot of effort to explain off the obvious! It is not a question of patriotism (running from Iraq alone covers that) but it must be embarrassing that your candidate for president just didn't know what to do!

Posted by: Bob Leahy | August 15, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

You are all idiots, including me for even reading about this crap!!

Posted by: Native 65 | August 18, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

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