Some people have criticized President Obama for his failure to salute the flag, wear a flag lapel pin, or display the flag on different occasions, beginning when he was a candidate for president in 2007. His image also appeared on altered American flags flown by supporters, drawing further criticism.
Many people have criticized Mr. Obama's treatment of the flag when he was a candidate for president, saying that he is unpatriotic and disrespectful. In 2007, Mr. Obama appeared at a campaign stop in Iowa, along with other Democratic presidential hopefuls. At that event, a photo taken during the national anthem, in which the other candidates held their right hands over their hearts in the traditional salute to the flag, shows Obama with his hands at his sides and no salute. His political opponents criticized Mr. Obama, and the photo circulated on the Internet and elsewhere. Critics also noted that he failed to wear a flag lapel pin and removed the flag from his campaign jet and replaced it with the red, white and blue "O" that symbolized his campaign. The criticism appears to have had little impact on the candidate, who ultimately won the election.
At the first inauguration, some supporters waived American flags with Mr. Obama's image on them, which is a violation of the American flag code. The Lake County Florida Democratic party flew a similar flag in 2012. A veteran's group complained, took the flag down, and provided a POW/MIA flag to fly in its place. Around the same time, a New Jersey man was also in hot water with his neighbors over a similar flag. Both stories received some national media attention.