What’s on Romney’s flag pin?

Romney lapel pin

(Updated Nov. 11, 2012)

According to Philip Rucker, National political reporter at The Washington Post covering Mitt Romney and the 2012 presidential campaign, the flag pin with the Secret Service logo (a star; see below) was a gift to the candidate from his USSS agents.


I’ve noticed, I’m curious, and I can’t find a definitive answer. Both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan wear flag lapel pins with something on the flag’s lower right quadrant (looks rectangular, like maybe the White House or Capitol?). I’ve read speculation that it’s a Republican elephant. Others suggest it’s a symbol that means the person has Secret Service protection. Anyone know what it is and what it means?

Sept. 12: In this video, it looks like a gold GOP elephant, facing to the right (naturally).


Here’s a better picture of the flag pin with a gold elephant:

More recently, Romney seems to have adopted a different pin. Please see: More on those Romney/Ryan flag pins.


56 thoughts on “What’s on Romney’s flag pin?

  1. “During Thursday night’s debate in Jacksonville, the former Massachusetts governor wore an American flag pin that bore the signature GOP elephant in the bottom righthand corner.”


    I believe that once you start adding stuff to the flag (whichever flag it might be) it stops being that flag and something else entirely. Hubris and ego… ‘the Stars & Stripes aren’t enough, there must be more because I am more’.

    1. It’s bad enough these clowns think wearing a flag pin somehow makes them more patriotic than people who choose not to. Now they think putting an elephant on it makes it better? Party before country? The GOP has a nasty habit of thinking they are above flag and Constitution (e.g. Paul Ryan’s “Our rights come from nature and God, not government.”) Hubris and ego indeed.

      1. I made this note during the Romney convention speech when he said something about the US constitution being handed down by ‘the creator’:

        .”….so, when are the GOP just going to go ahead and add the American constitution to the Bible? I’m not sure if it would go before or after Revelations, but you have to know it’s going to happen sooner or later.”

      2. Hubris and ego to agree with the founding fathers? Ever read the Declaration of Independence? “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

    2. The following is from the CRS Report for Congress, “The United States Flag: Federal Law Relating to Display and Associated Questions”, Order Code RL30243: “The Flag Code addresses the impropriety of using the flag as an article of personal adornment, a design on items of temporary use, and item of clothing…The 1976 amendments to the Code recognized the wearing of a flag patch or pin on the left side (near the heart) of uniforms of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The Code also states that the flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. While wearing the colors may be in poor taste and offensive to many, it is important to remember that the Flag Code is intended as a guide to be followed on a purely voluntary basis to insure proper respect for the flag.”

      Personally, I am offended when ANY organization adds something or overlays something to our flag. The flag speaks for itself.

  2. Gee, yet another company made money off a stupid product….why didn’t I think of that!
    But, just the plain flag pins – my dad and his WW II generation wore them and it meant a lot to them – they fought hand to hand for it and then came home and rarely talked about the heroics.
    HArd to see others who haven’t done that wear that pin – not to mention sticking political stuff on it.
    I’m not watching this week’s convention any more than last week’s – no point.

          1. What I really don’t like about it is that you can interpret it as the party comes before the country. That’s not ok. I wouldn’t like it if the Democrats did it either..

          2. The history of this is interesting – I just looked it up and the bottom line in the law ever since a 1989 SC case is that the treatment of the flag is advisory only. The “Flag Code” says,

            While the Code empowers the President of the United States to alter, modify, repeal or prescribe additional rules regarding the Flag, no federal agency has the authority to issue ‘official’ rulings legally binding on civilians or civilian groups. Consequently, different interpretations of various provisions of the Code may continue to be made. The Flag Code may be fairly tested: ‘No disrespect should be shown to the Flag of the United States of America.’ Therefore, actions not specifically included in the Code may be deemed acceptable as long as proper respect is shown.

            I suspect that conservatives and liberals might differ as to what constitutes “proper respect”, do you suppose? Especially depending on whose idea it was in the first place. I personally feel offended at using the flag’s design as an article of clothing, but that seems to have become common. When I first went in the Navy, that was explicitly categorized as disrespectful by regulation, but times change. Flag displays at the Olympics, I notice, take many imaginative turns and I find most of them pleasing. Now it’s all in the eye of the beholder and just one more cultural football to kick around.

          3. I’m sure opinions differ, and perhaps politicians in particular should consider the effect on others when they decide to stick elephants — or anything else — on their flags. I was taught that the Flag Code applies only to actual flags, not representations of the flag or various stars-and-stripes patterns, fabrics, clothing, etc. Since a flag pin is not an actual flag, I’ve no doubt the code does not apply to it. But I’m an old-fashioned girl and it pains me to see anything else stuck on top of this small representation of the flag.

          4. Ah, but the flag code does apply to more than merely its cloth form. It says in part,

            (g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
            (h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
            (i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
            (j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.

            This is what I was taught as well.

          5. Ah, it actually mentions lapel pins. I’d completely forgotten that. I get the feeling that many of today’s younger generation don’t even know there is such a thing as the Flag Code. (Romney and Ryan have no military background. Did they not learn it in school? It was taught as gospel when I was in grade school.)

          1. I’ve been watching Obama pretty closely since I wrote this, and to date I haven’t seen him wear anything but a plain pin. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t, but still …

    1. I believe that it was a star, and that we should be linked to that country according to what God has to say….God doesn’ babble nonsense.

  3. It is a US Secret Service pin that is handed out by agents to local law enforcement working with the USSS (I have a few from being an ofc in DC). They hand them out as thank yous or as an identifier that you are on the detail. My guess is that Romney didn’t have a pin on one day and scored one from an agent before taking the stage.

  4. I noticed the lapel pin Governor Romney was wearing during the Presidential debate tonight. I feel it is a disrespectful display. It says to me you value something more highly than America and all it’s people.

  5. Oh my, what has Barry done to the flag? Put the big “O” to replace the stars. What an egotistical SOB! What do you Kool Aid drinkers have to say about that?


    1. I hadn’t heard about the Obama flag thing. Had to google it. My opinion? It’s ugly; I wouldn’t give 2 cents for it. I don’t think it’s desecration because I don’t consider it a flag, it’s a piece of art, a painting. And not a particularly good one, IMO.

  6. amazing! Now we are going to vote fror the one who has the purest flag pin. This is realy a great way to choose the person who will become the most powerful person on earth.

  7. Romney is wearing the pin because he is receiving Secret Service Protection, as all presidential candidates do once they are deemed viable and/or are the front runner of their party.

  8. Forgot to mention the pin is issued by the Secret Service to those that they are protecting for easy and quick identification. The pins are changed regularly to prevent misuse.

    1. I’d heard that, but it doesn’t make sense to me that the Secret Service would rely on something as insignificant as a lapel pin to identify a person they are supposed to protect. Not when that identification must be instantaneous in any situation, from any angle, in any kind of lighting.

    2. Scott, I agree with PT that the Secret Service would have some identification purpose attached to issuing a unique pin. Even if the thing had something like an RFID chip in it, that wouldn’t require it to look different from an ordinary flag pin. If you have some evidence that the USSS requires the pin on their protectees, please give us the link.

      1. USSS agents do not and never have required a pin or anything else to ID their protectee. The agents, believe me, know the person they are assigned to protect. The idea that you’re more patriotic because you wear a flag on your lapel is analogous to the old saying, ‘wearing your heart on your sleeve.’ You either care or you don’t. You’re either patriotic or you’re not. Wearing it is just so others can see how much you care. But if you feel the need to wear a flag pin, if you’re going to wear it at all, then leave it alone. No fringes, no add-ons, just the stars and stripes.

  9. “…it looks like a gold GOP elephant, facing to the right (naturally).”
    Actually it’s facing to the viewer’s right, but to Romney’s left. To me that says what Republicans always say: “You need to facing right — but I’ll do whatever the fuck I want…”

... and that's my two cents