How much does a trowel and a can of hairspray cost?

From The New York Times:

Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign spent more than $165,000 over the course of nine weeks on a trio of stylists for Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, equivalent to what a Hollywood studio might invest in preparing an A-list actress for a movie premiere or publicity campaign, other stylists said.

Original DVD cover.

The fees showed up in new campaign finance reports filed late Thursday with the Federal Election Commission. The filings furnished a trickle of new details to what has become one of the lingering controversies of the 2008 presidential campaign: the expensive makeover of Ms. Palin, the vice-presidential nominee, for the campaign, including the tens of thousands of dollars spent by the Republican Party on clothing for her and her family, undermining her calibrated “hockey mom” appeal.

Besides the payments to the stylists, the new reports, for the period of Oct. 16 to Nov. 24, showed additional purchases on Ms. Palin’s behalf, significantly beyond the $150,000 already reported that was spent by the party at luxury stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.

The Republican National Committee used contributions from its donors for about $23,000 in additional charges from dozens of stores, including Saks, Neiman’s, Nordstrom, Victoria’s Secret, Kate Spade, Brooks Brothers, Radio Shack and the Gap, according to the filings. There were more than 70 bills, ranging from more than $4,500 spent at various Saks stores to $350 at Escape Skin Care & Day Spa in New York to $151.71 bought from Toys “R” Us in New York.


The new filings also showed that the McCain campaign paid Lisa L. Kline, a New York stylist who appears from campaign finance records to have been Ms. Palin’s fashion consultant, $54,900 in mid-October.


A former McCain campaign official, speaking on condition of anonymity to give a candid account of private matters in the campaign, said that after Ms. Palin expressed interest in help from a stylist, she was referred to Ms. Kline by Nicolle Wallace, a senior communications aide for the campaign.


Two Hollywood stylists, each of whom works with leading actresses but asked not to be identified because of their clients’ wishes, said Ms. Kline’s fee seemed excessively high.


The McCain campaign also paid Amy Strozzi, Ms. Palin’s traveling makeup artist, $68,400 for roughly two months of work.


Ms. Palin’s traveling hair stylist, Angela Lew, was paid $42,615, which works out to about $750 a day over two months.


He said Ms. Lew, who is 24, came to the attention of campaign officials through Cindy McCain, who had used a hairdresser at the same salon.


Some stylists questioned why Ms. Palin needed separate hair and makeup people when there were people who could do both.

Even as the controversy over Ms. Palin’s makeover continues — controversy that many of her defenders said would not surround a male politician — it remains unclear exactly how the transactions occurred and who made the purchasing decisions.

Ms. Palin has rebuffed anonymous accusations by McCain campaign aides about shopping extravagance, saying the clothes were simply lent to her for use at the Republican National Convention. If she were to keep the clothes, she would have to report them as taxable income.

“Those clothes are not my property,” Ms. Palin said in an interview on Fox News. “We had three days of using clothes that the R.N.C. purchased.”

But the sheer number of purchases, from vendors around the country, would seem to contradict her explanation. They range from a $561 charge at Home Optics, a store in Chugiak, Alaska, about a half-hour from Ms. Palin’s home in Wasilla, to $79.98 spent at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Washington, Pa.

Joy Leedham, the owner of Home Optics, said Ms. Palin’s campaign aides bought an extra set of eyeglasses for her with antireflective coating on the lenses that her old glasses did not have, just before the vice-presidential debate on Oct. 2. Ms. Leedham said Ms. Palin still had the glasses.


Republican National Committee officials, who insisted that all the purchases were made at the campaign’s behest, said all of the clothes had been collected, were being catalogued and would be given to various charities.


Filed under 2008 election, Alaska, FEC, Federal Election Commission, humor, John McCain, movies, parody, politics, Republicans, Sarah Palin, snark, Wordpress Political Blogs

16 responses to “How much does a trowel and a can of hairspray cost?

  1. jeb

    Yeah but that’s still not as bad as someone getting $400 haircuts that they pay for out of their own pocket.

    What I want to know is why they had to shop at Victoria’s Secret? Did we see any of the stuff they bought there?

    No wonder they lost!

  2. Friend of the court

    It has given me some hope that our country was smart enough to avoid putting more shady wingers into the White House.

  3. jeb,
    i am hoping that it comes out that the victoria secrets purchases were for todd. me loves the scandals! 😉

  4. Dusty

    Doesn’t this $hit kinda make the Rethug’s look like craven fools?

    Just saying… 😆

  5. fotc,
    i think a lot of the stupids stayed home. capt u didn’t excite them enough to come out to vote, and the ones who princess sarah excited got lost on the way to the polling places.

  6. dusty,
    and doesn’t think not play very well to princess’s claim of being just a hockey mom? 😆

  7. They can layer lipstick on that pig all they want but there’s no disguising that wrinkled skin surrounding those cold, cold eyes.
    I guess the RNC knew there was no time to pony up for a lid lift. Oh well, maybe by 2012.

  8. nightowl724

    nonnie – the TITLE! HAHAHAHAHA!

    So, people are supposed to feel better that Sarah is donating the clothes to charities? Just what kind of charities take (or need) expensive $hit like that?

    More likely, they’ll go to celebrity auctions – possibly by the RNC! And, I’m sure the fancy undies from VS won’t be given away. Or, maybe they will be. I’m sure a few Rethuglican zippers would be tickled to own that stuff…

    As for Sarah’s high-priced hair and make-up artists, image consultants, and handlers, all I can say is, “Heckuva job, my friends!”

  9. jeb

    Nightowl, she can always put the undies up on eBay along with the Alaska Executive Jet. According to her, she’s good at that kind of thing and I’m sure they’d get snapped up.

    Man are we lucky that these drunken sailors didn’t win and get their hands on the budget?

  10. nightowl724

    Good thinking, jeb! Then, the bidders could remain anonymous. Rethugs just love clandestine operations – especially Dead-Eye Dick!

  11. karen,
    they can lift her lids all they want. too bad they can’t raise her iq. 🙄

  12. nightowl,
    seriously, if you can’t look good for less than $165,000 (or make that $300,000+ when you include the clothes), then you are better off with a sandblaster. like the old saying goes, if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with clothes, makeup, and hair. i don’t believe for a minute that they kept track of all the clothing and other crap. i am sure they are all sitting in princess’s house. it seemed to me she wasn’t wearing any hand-me-downs at the governor’s convention or when she was campaigning for that bastard saxby chambliss. in fact, she was wearing a burberry scarf at the turkey place. that alone costs almost 300 bucks.

  13. jeb,
    i am sure there are a lot of rethugs who would buy all the victoria secrets stuff to wear under their suits. i bet the men’s rooms in the capitol building is a very interesting place.

  14. would you call t his money well spent?

  15. only if they were investing in comedy gold, dcAp. if that’s the case, they got their money’s worth and more. 😉

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