A couple dozen folks have forwarded me an image showing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama neglecting to place his hand over his heart during the national anthem at Senator Tom Harkin's Steak Fry event on September 16, 2007 in Indianola, Iowa.
The accompanying email text reads:
Barack Hussein Obama's photo (that's his real name)... the article said he REFUSED TO NOT ONLY PUT HIS HAND ON HIS HEART DURING THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE, BUT REFUSED TO SAY THE PLEDGE... how in the hell can a man like this expect to be our next Commander-in-Chief????
The photo, taken by Danny Frazier Wilcox for Time magazine, is authentic. An ABC News video confirms that the picture was snapped during a rendition of the national anthem (not the Pledge of Allegiance).
The claim that Obama "refused" to salute the flag or say the Pledge at the event is unsubstantiated, however. There's no record of the Senator "refusing" to salute on any other occasion, and there are photographs and videos showing Obama saluting and reciting the Pledge at various other events.
The partisan implication, obviously, is that failing to display the proper hand-over-heart etiquette proves Obama is unpatriotic and therefore unfit to hold the office of President. Some talking heads have even speculated that it was a gesture of "dissent" on the candidate's part, to which an Obama spokesperson replied on Inside Edition, "Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't [put his hand on his heart]. In no way was he making any sort of statement, and any suggestion to the contrary is ridiculous."
Not that it will make a difference to everyone, but Obama's campaign was quick to supply photos of Obama properly saluting the flag on other occasions which can be viewed at MediaMatters.org.
Poll: Has your opinion of Obama been affected at all by Internet rumors?
1) Yes, a lot. 2) Yes, a little. 3) No, not at all.