Las Vegas Orders Car Dealership to Take Down U.S. Flag

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," May 21, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

JON SCOTT, GUEST HOST: The "Big Showdown": If you can't fly the American flag in America, where can you fly it? Neighbors flapped about a flag that flaps too loud at a Hummer dealership. Now the city of Las Vegas is ordering it taken down. But the guy who put it up isn't letting it come down so easily. "Big Story" correspondent Douglas Kennedy spoke to the car dealer who's fighting an uphill battle to hold on to Old Glory.

DOUGLAS KENNEDY, "BIG STORY" CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Jon, the car dealership says it is just being patriotic, but critics are calling it a gimmick, exploiting the "Stars and Stripes" in order to sell cars. It's a big dispute in this city where almost nothing is small.


KENNEDY (VOICE-OVER): Las Vegas is the city of big. Big stakes, big lights, big hotels, but apparently one thing that's too big for Vegas is this American flag flying over Dan Tobin's Hummer dealership.

DAN TOBIN, HUMMER DEALERSHIP OWNER: I'm so proud of that flag.

KENNEDY: The Las Vegas City Council recently ordered Tobin to take down the flag, which stands 100 feet in the air and measures 30 by 60 feet. They say neighbors not only complained about the flag's size, but also the noise it makes when it flaps in the wind.

TOBIN: I can't imagine taking a flag down.

KENNEDY: In fact, the flag flap has touched off a citywide debate about how appropriate ways to express love of country, particularly while the nation is at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. And both sides of the controversy claim the other is unpatriotic.

TOBIN: All I know is they want to take down the American flag.

KENNEDY: Tobin says that the city council is prohibiting him from showing the world how much he loves America. Still, at least one Vegas veterans' group isn't buying it, calling the flag a cynical marketing ploy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tobin Hummer is exploiting the troops and the brave men and women that have dedicated their lives and committed to this country for financial gain.


KENNEDY: Tobin told me the flag has the support of the Las Vegas community. He says that he is considering appealing the city council's decision. He also says, Jon, he is considering a lawsuit against the city.

SCOTT: What about a smaller flag? Has he considered maybe shrinking it in size?

KENNEDY: This is his flag. He says, hey listen, this is Vegas, this is the city of sin. He's got a billboard across the street of a naked woman and then they won't let him keep a flag. He's outraged.

SCOTT: Big cars at the Hummer dealership. Big flags, I guess. Douglas Kennedy, thanks.


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