$150,000 Wardrobe for Pretty Woman Sarah Palin May Alter Tailor-Made Image
Sarah Palin’s wardrobe joined the ranks of symbolic political excess on Wednesday, alongside John McCain’s multiple houses and John Edwards’s $400 haircut, as Republicans expressed fear that weeks of tailoring Ms. Palin as an average “hockey mom” would fray amid revelations that the Republican Party outfitted her with expensive clothing from high-end stores.
[Campaign finance reports show] that the Republican National Committee spent $75,062 at Neiman Marcus and $49,425 at Saks Fifth Avenue in September for Ms. Palin and her family.
Advisers to Ms. Palin said on Wednesday that the purchases — which totaled about $150,000 and were classified as “campaign accessories” — were made on the fly after Ms. Palin, the governor of Alaska, was chosen as the Republican vice-presidential candidate on Aug. 29 . . . .
Republicans expressed consternation publicly and privately that the shopping sprees . . . would compromise Ms. Palin’s standing as Senator McCain’s chief emissary to working-class voters whose salvos at the so-called cultural elite often delight audiences at Republican rallies.
[An elitist] image is unhelpful at this late stage of the general election, Republicans said, especially when many families are experiencing economic pain, and when the image applies to a candidate, like Ms. Palin, who has run for office in part on her appeal as an outdoors enthusiast and former small-town mayor who scorns pretensions.
“It looks like nobody with a political antenna was working on this,” said Ed Rollins, a Republican political consultant who ran President Ronald Reagan’s re-election campaign in 1984. “It just undercuts Palin’s whole image as a hockey mom, a ‘one-of-us’ kind of candidate.”