IBD editorial falsely claimed Obama "permitted" Cuban flag in volunteer office, called Senate colleagues "hypocrites"

››› ››› KATHLEEN HENEHAN

Investor's Business Daily asserted in an editorial that Barack Obama "permit[ed] the display of a huge Cuban flag at one of his offices, emblazoned with a mass murderer's mug" -- a reference to Che Guevara. In fact, the office in question is run and funded by Obama volunteers and is not sanctioned by the official Obama campaign. The editorial further claimed that Obama "dismiss[ed] ... his Senate colleagues who wear lapel flags as 'hypocrites.' " But a review of the Nexis database found no evidence that Obama has ever described any of his fellow members of Congress as "hypocrites" for wearing U.S. flag lapel pins.

Investor's Business Daily asserted in a February 12 editorial, headlined "Barack Guevara," that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama "permit[ed] the display of a huge Cuban flag at one of his offices, emblazoned with a mass murderer's mug" -- a reference to Argentinean Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara. In fact, the office in question -- featured in a February 6 news report by a Fox affiliate in Houston -- is run and funded by Obama volunteers and is not sanctioned by the official Obama campaign. The editorial further claimed that Obama "dismiss[ed] ... his Senate colleagues who wear lapel flags as 'hypocrites.' " But a Media Matters for America review of the Nexis database found no evidence that Obama has ever described any of his fellow members of Congress as "hypocrites" for wearing U.S. flag lapel pins. The editorial went on to assert that the display of the flag in the volunteer office "signals that a U.S. commander in chief tolerates supporters with loyalties to nations other than the U.S., including those loyal to enemy states that spy on and seek to harm the U.S."

A February 6 report on KRIV Fox 26 included footage of Obama volunteers opening a new office in Houston. At one point in the report, the Cuban flag with the image of Guevara is visible on an office wall. On the KRIV Fox 26 website, the following caption appears below the report: "The office featured in this video is funded by volunteers of the Barack Obama Campaign and is not an official headquarters for his campaign."

A February 12 report on the controversy over the flag by KRIV Fox 26's Sally McDonald featured Obama campaign spokesman Josh Earnest saying, "It's important for your viewers to understand that the office that was featured in the previous story was opened independently and separate from our official campaign."

Nonetheless, the Investor's Business Daily editorial described the flag as having appeared in "one of his [Obama's] offices."

Referring to a post on the Obama campaign website -- titled "On Reports of an Inappropriate Flag in a Texas Obama Office" -- the editorial went on to assert:

Obama would only call it "inappropriate," apparently without insisting it be taken down. That contrasts with his dismissal of his Senate colleagues who wear lapel flags [pins] as "hypocrites." Some hypocrites.

The editorial offered no evidence in support of the claim that Obama labeled his Senate colleagues who wear lapel flags "hypocrites," and a Media Matters review* of the Nexis database found no evidence that Obama had used the term at all to describe people who wear flag pins, much less his Senate colleagues. When asked during an October 3, 2007, interview why he was not wearing an American flag pin on his lapel, Obama said, "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." He added: "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."

From the February 12 Investor's Business Daily editorial:

Election 2008: How is it a front-runner for the highest office in the land can reject an American flag on his lapel but permit the display of a huge Cuban flag at one of his offices, emblazoned with a mass murderer's mug?

Improbable as it sounds, it's true. Barack Obama, displaying the same "anything goes" standard of patriotism he showed when he ostentatiously refused to wear a U.S. flag in his lapel, now shows he's got a whole different idea about patriotism.

One of Obama's volunteer offices in Houston was caught operating under a huge flag of communist Cuba with Che Guevara's face printed on it, according to images shown on Fox News. Flak from bloggers ensued -- followed, of course, by spin control.

But rather than repudiate the image, Obama would only call it "inappropriate," apparently without insisting it be taken down. That contrasts with his dismissal of his Senate colleagues who wear lapel flags as "hypocrites." Some hypocrites.

The display of the Castroite flag with Che's picture on it sends a particularly disturbing message about his campaign. Apparently, Obama tends to attract the kind of people who think of mass murderers like Che and Fidel as romantic revolutionaries. Those same people see Obama as a man with a messianic message. These are the voters he'll be indebted to should he win higher office.

Worse yet, it signals that a U.S. commander in chief tolerates supporters with loyalties to nations other than the U.S., including those loyal to enemy states that spy on and seek to harm the U.S.

It coincides uncomfortably with Obama's call for no-strings-attached diplomatic relations with communist Cuba. He's even offered to meet with the dictators of Cuba, sanctimoniously implying that other administrations had no good reason for not doing so.

* A Nexis search of "All News" for the terms "Obama and lapel and pin and hypocrit!" yielded these results.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, Intelligence
Network/Outlet
Investor's Business Daily
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.