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."