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Obama (Supposedly) Explains His (Supposed) Refusal to Salute Flag in Viral Hoax

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Barack Obama David Greedy/Getty Images

Circulating via social media and forwarded email, statements purportedly made by Barack Obama on Meet the Press explain why he 'refuses' to wear a flag pin on his lapel or salute the flag during the pledge of allegiance and national anthem.

Description: Viral text / Hoax
Circulating since: March 2008
Status: False / All quotes are fabricated (see details below)


Example #1
Email contributed by an AOL user, March 27, 2008:

Obama Explains National Anthem Stance

From: "Brig Gen R. Clements USAF ret"

On Sat, 22 Mar 2008 18:48:04 -0400, "LTG Bill Ginn" USAF ret forwarded:

Hot on the heels of his explanation for why he no longer wears a flag pin, presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama was forced to explain why he doesn't follow protocol when the National Anthem is played.

According to the United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, Sec. 171, During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform are expected to stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart.

"As I've said about the flag pin, I don't want to be perceived as taking sides," Obama said. "There are a lot of people in the world to whom the American flag is a symbol of oppression. And the anthem itself conveys a war-like message. You know, the bombs bursting in air and all. It should be swapped for something less parochial and less bellicose. I like the song 'I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing.' If that were our anthem, then I might salute it."


Example #2
Email contributed by Sue F., March 18, 2010:

Subject: Horrific, but, no one was listening!!!!

This is our glorious leader, the anointed one - how did we let this happen ???

The following is a narrative taken from a 2008 Sunday morning televised "Meet The Press'. The author (Dale Lindsborg) is employed by none other than the very liberal Washington Post!!

From Sunday's 07 Sept. 2008 11:48:04 EST, Televised "Meet the Press" THE THEN Senator Obama was asked about his stance on the American Flag.

General Bill Ginn' USAF (ret.) asked Obama to explain WHY he doesn't follow protocol when the National Anthem is played. The General stated to Obama that according to the United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, Sec. 171...During rendition of the national anthem, when the flag is displayed, all present (except those in uniform) are expected to stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Or, at the very least, "Stand and Face It".

NOW GET THIS !! - - - - -

'Senator' Obama replied: "As I've said about the flag pin, I don't want to be perceived as taking sides". "There are a lot of people in the world to whom the American flag is a symbol of oppression.." "The anthem itself conveys a war-like message. You know, the bombs bursting in air and all that sort of thing."

(ARE YOU READY FOR THIS???)

Obama continued: "The National Anthem should be 'swapped' for something less parochial and less bellicose. I like the song 'I'd Like To Teach the World To Sing'. If that were our anthem, then, I might salute it. In my opinion, we should consider reinventing our National Anthem as well as 'redesign' our Flag to better offer our enemies hope and love. It's my intention, if elected, to disarm America to the level of acceptance to our Middle East Brethren. If we, as a Nation of waring people, conduct ourselves like the nations of Islam, where peace prevails - - - perhaps a state or period of mutual accord could exist between our governments ."

When I become President, I will seek a pact of agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity, and a freedom from disquieting oppressive thoughts. We as a Nation, have placed upon the nations of Islam, an unfair injustice which is WHY my wife disrespects the Flag and she and I have attended several flag burning ceremonies in the past".

"Of course now, I have found myself about to become the President of the United States and I have put my hatred aside. I will use my power to bring CHANGE to this Nation, and offer the people a new path.. My wife and I look forward to becoming our Country's First black Family. Indeed, CHANGE is about to overwhelm the United States of America "

WHAAAAAAAT, the **** is that!!!

Yes, you read it right. I, for one, am speechless!!!

Dale Lindsborg , Washington Post



Analysis: No, presidential candidate Barack Obama didn't actually utter those asinine words. All of the quotes are fictitious.

Some of them, specifically the sentences quoted first in the earlier variant above — e.g., "I like the song 'I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing.' If that were our anthem, then I might salute it" — were put in Obama's mouth by conservative humorist John Semmens (see his October 27, 2007 column, "Semi-News, on the Arizona Conservative website). His intent was satirical.

Semmens's barbs were aimed at two of candidate Obama's actions early on in the presidential campaign that were perceived by some as insufficiently patriotic: 1) his decision to stop wearing a U.S. flag pin, and 2) his failure to place his hand over his heart during a rendition of the national anthem at a public event in 2007.

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