Asked during a town hall meeting in Lorain, Ohio, about "an attempt by conservatives and Republicans to paint you as unpatriotic," a questioner cited the fact that [Barack] Obama once failed to put his hand over his heart while singing the national anthem.
The questioner also noted that the Illinois senator does not wear an American flag lapel pin, has met with former members of the radical anti-Vietnam War group, Weather Underground, and his wife was quoted recently as saying she never felt really proud of the United States until recently.
Asked how he would fight the image of being unpatriotic, Obama said, "There's always some nonsense going on in general elections. Right? If it wasn't this, it would be something else. If you recall, first it was my name. Right? That was a problem. And then there was the Muslim e-mail thing and that hasn't worked out so well, and now it's the patriotism thing.
"The way I will respond to it is with the truth: that I owe everything I am to this country," he said. Obama said it was a speech about his love for this country that put him in the national spotlight. He shot down the idea that failing to put his hand over his heart during the national anthem makes him unpatriotic.