During the October 23 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, while previewing a discussion of a clip of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) in which Obama did not place his hand over his heart during the playing of the national anthem at a campaign event in Indianola, Iowa, co-host Steve Doocy asserted, "First he kicked his American flag pin to the curb. Now Barack Obama has a new round of patriotism problems," echoing an assertion made by the conservative blog NewsBusters. As Media Matters for America documented, during an October 3 interview with ABC-affiliate KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Obama was asked why he was not wearing an American flag pin on his lapel. Obama responded, "[R]ight after 9-11, I had a pin," adding: "Shortly after 9-11, particularly because as we're talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for, I think, true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security." NewsBusters noted in an October 20 post that Time magazine had photographed Obama without his hand over his heart during the national anthem, writing, "Turns out that not wearing a flag lapel pin isn't the only way Barack Obama chooses to show he's a different kind of Democrat."
During the segment that Doocy had previewed, co-host Gretchen Carlson asked, "[D]id you know that there is United States Code ... that talks about what your stance and hand-over-heart action should be ... when the national anthem is playing?" Doocy responded that, according to United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10 , Sec. 171, "During the singing of the national anthem, you've got to have your hand over your heart." Contrary to Doocy's assertion, however, 36 U.S.C. § 301(b)(1) (the current section of the U.S. Code dealing with conduct during the national anthem) does not compel the placement of the right hand over the heart during the performance of the national anthem (a requirement that would presumably be unconstitutional). Indeed, according to the code, "During a rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart" (emphasis added). Subsection (b)(2) provides: "When the flag is not displayed, those present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed there" (emphasis added). According to the website usflag.org, 36 U.S.C. § 171 contained the same provisions.
This is not the first time that Doocy has attacked Obama. During the January 19 edition of Fox & Friends First, Doocy asked of Obama, "Why didn't anybody ever mention that that man right there was raised -- spent the first decade of his life, raised by his Muslim father -- as a Muslim and was educated in a madrassa?" as the blog Think Progress noted. As Media Matters for America documented, during the January 22 edition of Fox & Friends First, Doocy issued a clarification: "We want to clarify something: On Friday of last week, we did the story from the Insight magazine where we talked about how they were quoting that Barack Obama, when he was a child growing up in Indonesia, had attended a madrassa. Well, Mr. Obama's people called and they said that that is absolutely false. They said the idea that Barack Obama went to a radical Muslim school is completely ridiculous. In his book it does say that he went to a mostly Muslim school but not to a madrassa."
From the October 23 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
DOOCY: First he kicked his American flag pin to the curb. Now Barack Obama has a new round of patriotism problems. Wait until you hear what the White House hopeful didn't do during the singing of the national anthem.
DOOCY: We told you -- I think it's been a couple of months now -- Barack Obama was out in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and he was asked by KCRG, the local TV station, "Hey, what's the deal? Why don't you wear a flag pin?" And Mr. Obama said that he would like to -- he wore it for a while but he'd like to show his patriotism a different way.
Well, they were at an Indianola, Iowa, event earlier this month, and during the singing of the national anthem.
CARLSON: Yeah, and you can see some of the Democratic presidential candidates there -- Hillary Clinton, Bill Richardson, and off to the side there -- there's [Sen.] Tom Harkin [D-IA], I believe.
DOOCY: Yup, Chris Dodd.
CARLSON: Chris Dodd, John Edwards.
DOOCY: And Joe Biden.
CARLSON: All right, and so they all apparently have their hands over their hearts. Now did you guys know.
DOOCY: Except --
CARLSON: Well except Barack Obama. Now did you know that there is United States Code --
CARLSON: -- that talks about what your stance and hand-over-heart action should be --
DOOCY: That's right.
CARLSON: -- when the national anthem is playing. I never knew this.
DOOCY: Are you talking about United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, Sec. 171?
CARLSON: I am, and you are so good with numbers so early in the morning, Steve.
DOOCY: Yeah. During the singing of the national anthem, you've got to have your hand over your heart.
KILMEADE: Here's the thing, if he was in the middle where Hillary Clinton was standing, that means he'd look to the right and left and see. But he is looking only to the right.
CARLSON: I know.
KILMEADE: And I know. Before, I've gotten communion and my mom would hit me in the back of the head and go, "Get your hands out of your pockets." Because I was thinking about something else, and she was like, "Fold your hands."
DOOCY: Brian, I don't think you ever ran for president.
KILMEADE: That's true.
DOOCY: I would think that the bar would be a little higher than that.
CARLSON: Are you saying he wouldn't be qualified, Steve?
DOOCY: Brian? No Brian is qualified. He's an American citizen, born in this country over 35.
KILMEADE: All I'm going to say is, sometimes you sit there like this, you go, "Oh my goodness, I've got to fold my hands."
CARLSON: So we don't know what was going through Barack Obama's mind. However, we do know that he decided not to wear the flag pin, and he used to wear it. And I don't know. I just think there are certain things when you are running for the office of the presidency.
KILMEADE: Of the United States.
CARLSON: Yeah, that you need to maybe pay more attention to some of these symbolic things.
KILMEADE: We've got to get his take on this.
CARLSON: He has a choice to not do it if he doesn't want to, but maybe he didn't realize --
CARLSON: -- that the others were doing it.