Tag Archives: Neiman Marcus

Todd Palin: $150K RNC Spent on Sarah’s Clothes was ‘Out of Our Control’

Gov. Palin after her fashion makeover

Gov. Palin after her fashion makeover in 2008.

WASHINGTON (AP) – The husband of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says the Republican Party’s lavish spending on her wardrobe during the presidential campaign was “out of our control.” In the May issue of Men’s Journal, Todd Palin was asked about the more than $150,000 that the Republican National Committee spent on clothes, accessories and beauty services for the GOP vice presidential nominee. He defended his wife, saying she was focused on preparation for her debate with Joe Biden.

“She never went to Saks, or any of that stuff,” he said. “You come into a campaign late, you put all your trust into the team, you got people who are working on VP ops for a long time, and we’re just focused on debate prep. I couldn’t give a rat’s (expletive) about clothes. Please. I mean these are my Sunday go-to-meeting jeans!”

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Ooooooh, Barracuda! Sarah Palin Set To Throw John McCain Under The Bus

GOP vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin

GOP vice presidential candidate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin

As previously discussed here on the Sarah Palin Truth Squad in Mean Girl: Sarah Palin Has a Way of Using “Old Boys” – Then Dumping Them When They Become Inconvenient as well as Barracuda Sarah: Palin’s Resentments of the Educated Started in Wasilla, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has a clearly documented history of manipulating people to gain their friendship and support for her personal and political agendas.  Then when Gov. Palin no longer needs those benefactors to advance her purposes she tosses them under the nearest bus and climbs over their bloodied careers while marching off in search of fresh prey. 

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Palin Clothes Spending Has Dems Salivating, Republicans Disgusted

Laurie Serino, left, talks about the high food prices with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in Barrow, Alaska on Monday, June 30, 2008.

BEFORE the Makeover: Laurie Serino, left, talks about the high food prices with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in Barrow, Alaska on Monday, June 30, 2008.

Republicans hammered on Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards’ $400 haircut (which he paid for himself) all during the primaries, yet GOP spokesperson Tracey Schmitt and others on the McCain-Palin campaign think America’s voters aren’t interested to learn about the over $150,000 spent in ONE MONTH on clothes and accessories for the Republican’s everyday “hockey mom” who is the friend of “Joe Six-Packs” around the country and relates to “Joe the Plumber” during these hard economic times? Sam Stein, writing for the Huffington Post, has a great piece on reaction from both Democrats and Republicans alike in this latest blunder by John McCain and the Republican National Committee.

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin at an October 18th rally.

AFTER the Makeover: Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin at an October 18th rally.

Since her selection as John McCain’s running mate, the Republican National Committee spent more than $150,000 on clothing and make-up for Gov. Sarah Palin, her husband, and even her infant son, it was reported on Tuesday evening.

That entertaining scoop — which came by way of Politico — sent almost immediate reverberations through the presidential race. A statement from McCain headquarters released hours after the article bemoaned the triviality of the whole affair.

“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 spokesperson Tracey Schmitt. “It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign.”

But even the most timid of Democrats are unlikely to heed this call for civility. For starters, the story has the potential to dampen enthusiasm among GOP activists and donors at a critical point in the presidential race. It also creates a huge PR headache for the McCain ticket as it seeks to make inroads among voters worried about the current economic crisis.

Mainly, however, Democrats (in this scenario) are not prone to forgiveness. After all, it was during this same campaign cycle that Republicans belittled the $400 haircut that former Sen. John Edwards had paid for with his own campaign money (the funds were later reimbursed). And yet, the comparison to that once-dominant news story is hardly close: if Edwards had gotten one of his legendary haircuts every singe week, it would still take him 7.2 years to spend what Palin has spent. Palin has received the equivalent of $2,500 in clothes per day from places such as Saks Fifth Avenue (where RNC expenditures totaled nearly $50,000) and Neiman Marcus (where the governor had a $75,000 spree).

Beyond the political tit-for-tat, however, the revelation of the clothing expenditures offers what some Democrats see as a chance not just to win several news cycles during the campaign’s waning days but to severely damage Palin’s image as a small-town, ‘Joe Six-Pack’ American.

“It shows that Palin ain’t like the rest of us,” Tom Matzzie, a Democratic strategist told the Huffington Post, when asked how the party would or could use the issue. “It can help deflate her cultural populism with the Republican base. The plumber’s wife doesn’t go to Nieman’s or Saks.”

Indeed, the story could not come at a more inopportune time for the McCain campaign. During a week in which the Republican ticket is trying to highlight its connection to the working class — and, by extension, promoting its newest campaign tool, Joe the Plumber — it was revealed that Palin’s fashion budget for several weeks was more than four times the median salary of an American plumber ($37,514). To put it another way: Palin received more valuable clothes in one month than the average American household spends on clothes in 80 years. A Democrat put it in even blunter terms: her clothes were the cost of health care for 15 or so people.

There are, in these cases, legal questions surrounding campaign expenditures. Though, on this front, Palin and the RNC seem to be in the clear.

“I don’t think it’s taxed,” said David Donnelly of Campaign Money Watch. “I don’t think she can keep it. It’s owned by the RNC. They had to use coordinated funds to pay for the clothes.”

And certainly the possibility exists that this issue can be effectively swept under the rug. Palin is not known for taking impromptu questions from the press. Moreover, the media, at this juncture, has other major story lines (see: upcoming election) to grapple with, thus denying the piece the relative vacuum that accompanied the Edwards story. Finally, there is little desire among conservative writers or pundits to litigate the matter, even if they were more than happy to jump on board when a Democrat was in the spotlight.

Several hours after Politico posted its findings, the topic remained nearly untouched by the major right-wing outlets. Though as Marc Ambinder at the Atlantic opined:

“Republicans, RNC donors and at least one RNC staff member have e-mailed me tonight to share their utter (and not-for-attribution) disgust at the expenditures. … The heat for this story will come from Republicans who cannot understand how their party would do something this stupid … particularly (and, it must be said, viewed retroactively) during the collapse of the financial system and the probable beginning of a recession.”

Palin Clothes Spending Has Dems Salivating, Republicans Disgusted

Sarah Palin, Small-Town Hockey Mom and Everywoman? More Like Sarah Palin, Pampered Princess

Gov. Sarah Palin sports fashions paid for by the RNC

Gov. Sarah Palin sports fashions paid for by the RNC

The Los Angeles Times reports today that the $150,000 spent on clothes and accessories for Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her family was from September ONLY, which would leave many of us American voters suffering through extremely difficult economic times to wonder why the Republican vice presidential candidate suddenly seems to have won the lottery?

Sarah Palin, small-town hockey mom and everywoman? More like Sarah Palin, pampered princess. Jeanne Cummings at Politico reports that the RNC’s monthly financial disclosure reports reveal that the Republican National Committee has spent tens of thousands of dollars on the vice presidential candidate’s wardrobe and accessories since she was nominated, including $150,000 in September alone.

So it seems you can take the girl out of the beauty pageant, but you can’t take the beauty pageant out of the girl.

Palin’s clothes came from retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus and Barneys New York, and expenses included nearly $5,000 for hair and makeup. Maybe this is actually her one-woman economic stimulus plan. Lord knows the retail sector needs it.

Still, voters must find it unfathomable for Palin, who has been presented as a woman “like us,” to spend that kind of money on clothes in these difficult financial times, to see her speaking so passionately about Joe the Plumber while plumbing campaign coffers for Valentino jackets and pencil skirts. And yet, they’ve eaten it up, tittering on chat sites about Palin’s Kawasaki eyeglass frames and her Naughty Monkey red peep-toe pumps.

Palin’s spokewoman is saying this is much ado about nothing, that we should be talking about more important issues. But can you imagine the outcry if it were revealed that Hilary Clinton’s rainbow of pantsuits was paid for by campaign contributions? Or if college kids’ $50 checks to the Biden/Obama campaign were putting those men in $5,000 custom suits? (Obama’s suits are by Hart Schaffner Marx out of Chicago, and cost in the $1,500 range.)

In Palin’s defense, being a woman in the public eye has its own kind of pressures. And it’s unlikely she has been stepping off the campaign trail to join the ladies who lunch for shopping sprees at Neimans. Instead, she is probably working with a wardrobe stylist, who brings her things to try on and choose from. But the issue of clothing and hair expenses has always been a land mine for politicians (John Edwards’ $400 haircuts), and someone should have been sensitive to that.

You also have to wonder how it feels, as a woman, to have everyone know that you really have been dressed up and trotted out like a beauty queen for the American public to wag their tongues at. Caribou Barbie indeed.

Sarah Palin, Small-Town Hockey Mom and Everywoman? More Like Sarah Palin, Pampered Princess