During the November 26 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Neal Boortz stated that "maybe the reason [Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)] doesn't wear a U.S. flag on his lapel is because the U.S. flag -- regardless of what he thinks -- the flag of this country irritates a lot of Democrat [sic] voters." Boortz was referring to Obama's statement that he had decided to stop wearing a U.S. flag lapel pin during the run-up to the Iraq war because it "became a substitute for, I think, true patriotism." In that October 3 interview with ABC-affiliate KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Obama explained: "I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest. Instead, I'm going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great and, hopefully, that will be a testimony to my patriotism." As Media Matters for America documented, Obama's comments led conservative media figures to question whether he "believe[s] in America," to describe him as a "domestic insurgent," and to suggest that he has "patriotism problems."
Boortz made his remark during a discussion with a caller regarding talk show host Oprah Winfrey's endorsement of Obama for president. When Boortz asked the caller whether she thought "Barack Obama believes America is great because of the people and freedom, or ... because of government," the caller brought up "[t]he flag issue," saying "that he doesn't believe in wearing it or displaying it."
From the November 26 broadcast of Cox Radio Syndication's The Neal Boortz Show:
BOORTZ: Why is Oprah Winfrey supporting Barack Obama? Is it because she believes, out of all of the candidates, that -- the Democrat [sic] candidates -- that he is the most qualified and would do the best job? Or is it because he is the first serious black presidential contender we've ever had in this country? Do you think that Barack Obama believes America is great because of the people and freedom, or does he believe America is great because of government?
CALLER: I don't know, some of the things he has said, or not said, or insinuated, kind of disturbed me in the thoughts of, does he really think our government --
BOORTZ: Like what?
CALLER: The flag issue -- that he doesn't believe in wearing it or displaying it.
BOORTZ: I -- no, he didn't -- now, now, Barack Obama never said he doesn't believe in wearing or displaying the U.S. flag. He's never said that. What he said was that, as I believe, you don't have to wear the U.S. flag on your lapel pin to be patriotic.
BOORTZ: And I think that maybe the reason he doesn't wear a U.S. flag on his lapel is because the U.S. flag -- regardless of what he thinks -- the flag of this country irritates a lot of Democrat [sic] voters.
CALLER: Yes, it does. But you know what? Where we are right now is because of where we've been. So, yeah --
BOORTZ: Oh, that's much too profound for a Monday, Francis. Don't do that to me on a Monday.