Underlining the inanity of last night's Democratic debate, at the same time that Senator Barack Obama's patriotism was being questioned because of his decision not to wear an American flag pin on his lapel, neither of the two debate moderators were -- you guessed it -- wearing a flag pin of their own.
Indeed, as one reader of the Huffington Post pointed out, neither the well-dressed Charlie Gibson nor his sidekick George Stephanopoulos donned an American flag last night. In fact, Obama's opponent, Sen. Hillary Clinton, didn't have one either.
That, of course, didn't stop the ABC honchos from raising the issue strictly with Obama. Segueing off of a voter video and "conversations" that had come up "again and again," Gibson scolded Obama:
"It's something of a theme that Senators Clinton and McCain's advisers agree could give you a major vulnerability if you're the candidate in November. How do you convince Democrats that this would not be a vulnerability?"
Obama responded by restating, as he's done in the past, that he reveres the American flag as well as the country.
"What I've tried to do is to show my patriotism by how I treat veterans when I'm working in the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee," he said, "by making sure that I'm speaking forcefully about how we need to bring this war in Iraq to a close, because I think it is not serving our national security well and it's not serving our military families and our troops well..."
Sensing that the moderators weren't swayed (this was, after all, the same group that had just asked Obama if his controversial former pastor "loves America as much as you do?"), the Senator went on.
"And let me just make one last point on this issue of the flag pin," he said. "As you've noted, I wore one yesterday when a veteran handed it to me, who himself was disabled and works on behalf of disabled veterans. I have never said that I don't wear flag pins or refuse to wear flag pins. This is the kind of manufactured issue that our politics has become obsessed with and, once again, distracts us from what should be my job."
There were no follow up questions as to whether Clinton didn't show the requisite amount of patriotism. Nor, for that matter, did Gibson and Stephanopoulos turn and accuse each other of sedition.
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