Correct Me If I’m Wrong

Karen Templer

Karen Templer
San Francisco-ish, California,
Past and present Salon staffer


OCTOBER 22, 2008 12:07PM

One Risk Too Great

Rate: 4 Flag

There's been surprisingly little attention paid to one of the most conspicuous happenings on the campaign trail in the past 8 weeks. And by that I mean Sarah Palin's makeover. Sure, there are the occasional bits here and there about which manufacturer her glasses come from, or what the "sexy" new highlights mean. And there was a story early on about how the campaign didn't really want people to know that she had stylists picking out clothes on her behalf. (As if she might actually have chosen them herself. Maybe they thought people would assume Cindy gave her shopping tips?) But the big question — the real question — has gone essentially unasked. That question being: Who is paying for all those designer duds?

Today it came out that the wardrobe (and hair and makeup) is indeed all being charged to the campaign, to the tune of $150,000 so far. John McCain, you might recall, took public funding — that's money that came straight from taxpayers who checked the box saying they'd like $3 of their taxes to go right into the presidential campaign pool. In other words, the American people bought Sarah Palin those clothes. So the new question is, who gets them when the campaign's over? If she winds up with a vice presidential salary, she can afford to buy her own new clothes. And if she doesn't, well, she'd look a little out of place in these in Wasilla (which she prefers to Juneau), even if that were appropriate. So it seems to me that, either way, come November 5th the right thing to do would be to donate them to Dress for Success. [CORRECTION: As noted in the comments, the fashion money is coming from the RNC, not the taxpayer fund, which relieves my indignance. My point about what would be appropriate Nov 5 stands.)

Meanwhile, we've got TV anchors, pundits and bloggers eager to talk about this unprecedented occurence. David Gergen told Anderson Cooper tonight that he's never heard of a clothing allowance for a candidate (much less the candidate's family; some of the money also went for Todd's and the kids' clothes). When Cooper asked why they'd do it in this case, Gergen could only shrug.

Why not let her dress herself, on her own dime, like everyone else? Hmm. Not to be catty but 1) here 2) are 3) five 4) quick 5) clues. I mean, there are some risks a campaign just can't take.

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love this post, especially your clues.

question for clarification - I read that the RNC had spent the $150K. Is that the same as the public campaign financing?

I don't mean to quibble, but if it is public money, that is a much bigger issue than if it's from RNC donations. Still doesn't make it right, and the $5K to dress Todd & Levi really gall me.

uggh...there is so much I could say...but I won't go there.
That shopping spree could have paid Joe the Plumber's salary for three years! The irony is that Sarah Palin has been marketed as the American everymom. I don't know a lot of middle class moms who have $50,000 at all, much less $50,000 to blow at Sak's Fifth Avenue.
lpsrocks, you're right -- it's apparently coming out of the RNC's pocket, not from the public funding. (Hey, the blog is called Correct Me if I'm Wrong!) So I'll stop being indignant about it being taxpayer funded.

But the more I think about it, the more irked I am by it, and for the reasons Paul mentions. I mean, she stood up at the convention in an insanely expensive designer jacket and smugly told that story about firing the chef and putting the plane on eBay because that was all a bit over the top. I find it all rather ironic.
Note that the original Politico piece has been updated with this:

. . . .

“The campaign does not comment on strategic decisions regarding how financial resources available to the campaign are spent," she said.
But hours after the story was posted on Politico's website and legal issues were raised, the campaign issued a new statement.

"With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it’s remarkable that we’re spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses," said spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt. "It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign."

. . . . .

A Times story says the clothes will have to be considered taxable income because somebody else picked up the tab.
ROFL your five quick clues are true classics.
Loved this post!

You all the crap I've read about this....and I had promised myself not to read or write another word about Miss Little House on the Tundra's trousseau...I never made the connection about McCain's funds coming from the "checked box."

Brilliant. Thanks for the new and even more disturbing prospective.
and her makeup artist made $22K in two months, double what McCain's foreign affairs expert made in the same time-frame

but it's ok, because "they can return them or whatever." I love that, return the worn-once prom dresses - truly classy lady
I just commented...but then I looked at the 5 quick clues. Now that I've gotten up from the floor I'd like to add: WOW! and then UCK!
Thanks for this.
Ok, after seeing your five quick clues, I take back my criticism of the clothing expense. She definitely needed to spend $150,000.