KOKOMO, IND. -- Questions surrounding Barack Obama's patriotism resurfaced today at a town hall meeting, when a voter asked him to address rumors that he does not salute the flag. Obama strongly denied the allegation, calling it a "phony issue" and a lie.
"It's a lie. So anybody who tells you out there that I disrespect the flag, that I don't salute the flag, that I don't say the pledge of allegiance, that you know don't wear flag pins, don't listen to them," Obama said. "Look at what I do and look at what I say and my commitment to making this a stronger country and I get pretty fed up with people questioning my patriotism."
Obama blamed the rumors on an incident at the Harkin Steak Fry in Iowa last summer, where he said he listened and sang along to 'Star Spangled Banner' but didn't put his hand over his heart.
"I acknowledged the mistake of not having put my hand over my heart during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner," Obama said.
"I'm gonna look at all of you at a ballgame one time to see if you always get it right."
Obama also tried to turn the table around on Hillary Clinton's argument that he does not have adequate experience to be president by questioning what she has done with hers. He used health care policy as an example of what he says is Clinton's inability to reform Washington.
"Now here's where the difference between Senator Clinton and myself come in, because you know she's making a similar claim, you've got to ask yourself why is it we haven't gotten health care reform?," Obama said. "I mean, all these folks who talk about how much experience they've got, why is it that we haven't been able to get it done?"
He also told the crowd that a vote for his opponents would be a vote for the "same old thing."
"So, Indiana you've got a decision to make, we can keep on doing the same old thing with the same old folks the same old ways and hope somehow that we're gonna get a real change, or we can make a decision that we are gonna to bring about a new America, with a new politics and new leadership."