Last week, TheBlaze told you about a controversial flag poster that was being sold over on BarackObama.com. The image, deviating from the traditional U.S. flag design, included the president’s well-known campaign logo in place of the flag’s 50 stars. After receiving quite a bit of attention and conservative critique, the poster now appears to have been taken down from Obama’s re-election web site.
Over the weekend, BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski first noted the absence of the item, which the campaign called “Our Stripes: Flag Poster.” An error page now replaces the product at the same link where it was once being sold.
“The link is outdated,” a portion of the error text reads:
Interestingly, on Monday morning, a Google search comprised of the artist’s name and the words “Obama” and “flag” (actual term: Ross Bruggink obama flag) returned a seemingly-active page that appeared to show the flag still up for sale on the web site.
While the original link appeared to be under the “essentials” portion of the Obama store, this particular version was under “collections”:
But upon clicking “Add to Cart,” users were greeted with an “Internal Server Error” message, explaining that an “internal error” prevents the sales request from taking place. Despite this finding, the item cannot be located through the web site’s search feature and has, by all accounts, been removed:
Kaczynski claims that an Obama campaign aide said that the item sold out and that it was automatically removed as a result. This is apparently the campaign’s policy — that when an item is no longer available, it is taken off of the site.
However, Kaczynski also noted that another item — the “Our Stripes: Country Print” was also sold out, but that it had an “Out of Stock” notation on the page where it was originally for sale (now, this item, too, has been removed).
While it’s entirely possible that both items merely sold out and were subsequently removed (the original item did say it was “limited edition” with only 250 units available), it’s interesting that the campaign has chosen not to simply keep these products on the site with a “sold out” notation, as Kaczynski purportedly noticed with the country print item.
Considering the controversy that the flag item caused — particularly over the notion that that the flag should never bear “any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature” — the removal is intriguing. Additionally, as TheBlaze’s Jason Howerton noted, the U.S. Flag Code-Title 4, Ch. 1, Sec. 3 prohibits the “Use of flag for advertising purposes.”
However, it should be noted, that this isn’t the first time a U.S. flag was using in a presidential campaign. President Ronald Reagan’s 1984 campaign purportedly used the flag in the same manner, removing the stars and replacing them with his and Bush’s names. This, of course, is only one example.