Palin a Liability? (Update, Video Added)

Keeping with the trend that has been continuing for a month, the media continues to scrutinize Gov. Sarah Palin’s statements and actions. One recent controversy surrounds Palin’s so-called “shopping spree,” in which she purportedly spent over $150,000 on clothes and cosmetics during the last five weeks.

Jeanne Cummings of reports, October 22, 2008:

According to financial disclosure records, the accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74.

The records also document a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree in early September.

The RNC also spent $4,716.49 on hair and makeup through September after reporting no such costs in August.

The cash expenditures immediately raised questions among campaign finance experts about their legality under the Federal Election Commission’s long-standing advisory opinions on using campaign cash to purchase items for personal use.

This topic is reminiscent of John Edwards’s $400 haircuts, and Hillary Clinton’s $1,500 hair styling. The McCain camp has discounted this recent criticism of Palin, explaining that the country has better things to talk about than how much the Republican VP nominee is spending on clothes.

“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.”

There is probably limited mileage over Palin’s expenditures, but with Election Day approaching, any little bit can sway undecideds. The press continues to report on Palin’s comments– and this intense attention could be more detrimental than helpful to the McCain campaign. One such example comes from a recent conversation Palin had with a third grader.

Mike Krumboltz of Yahoo!’s Buzz log, writes, October 22, 2008:

When asked by a third grader to describe the job of vice president, Palin said she would be “in charge of the Senate.” It’s a tremendous oversimplification of her potential duties, and many were quick to point this out. Some even insinuated that perhaps Gov. Palin doesn’t even know what a VP does, while others pointed out that these were third graders, not a room of political science majors. A panel of experts wonders: Is the media being sexist?

Will these incidents have a significant impact? I suspect not, but sound off below.

Update by Michael
Palin was unable to explain the duties of the vice president in a follow up interview, and this has stirred the waters– most especially with Republican pariah, Keith Olbermann.

  • NiceKing

    ” …A panel of experts wonders: Is the media being sexist?”
    how pathetic!!! howz that sexist?? if Obama or Biden made that comment wouldnt he be criticised? since when in America did it become wrong to tell a woman shes wrong?? why is conservatives using every trick to stop us from criticising McSame’s misjudgement,crucial and fundermental error VP Sarah Palin pick??? just deal with the truth, and address it! they’ve asked her 4 times including in the debate about the work of a VP and she still doesnt have a friggin clue!! instead of you conservatives beating a wrong horse why dont you just do her a favour and give her a copy of the constitution or atleast some real education?? i dont blame her! i blame the campaign. they’ve all been spending way too much time in the shopping malls instead of the classroom. I’d rather see her with a lip stick on, playing hockey with a pig than talk about this election. I bet she doesnt even know where the white house is…

  • They say “you can’t tell a book by it’s cover”, but looking at Palin you damn well know how much it’s going to cost.

  • NiceKing

    i mean this is just the beginning…once she gets into office boy! GOD SAVE AMERICA coz the great nation will be in another 4yrs of recession. this time not greedy big cats rather greedy extravagant VP. $150,000 in 2 months??? ridiculously ridiculous!!! and they call us sexist for comparing her to a stripper. lol why cant she dress more like Michelle or clinton?? instead of that playboy sense of fashion? lool

  • JInaque

    Daily Show’s Jon Stewart said it best: Palin says she is going to change Washington because she is not like ‘them.’ What about that scandal where she is already being investigated with abusing her power as governor for trying to fire her sister’s ex-husband.. I mean ‘abusing the power’ .. Doesn’t that make her.. one of them already… Others take time to learn it, but she is already so experienced in it.”

    Now all these other scandals, which stupid McCrank tries to downplay: spending state money for her children’s travel, hiring PR firm with state money to push up her image in DC, using state money to accessorize and clothe herself.

    Who in the right mind would vote for this woman to be in charge of the State treasury…!! It is a catastrophe. McCrank was definitely mistaken and his bad judgement is proven by the VP choice.

    I mean, get real. This is what happens when a ‘normal’ ‘just like one of us’ ‘joe six pack hockey’ tart gets in to big games. It is all about quality good upbringing, and getting used to luxury. And in Palin’s case, what really shows is a SERIOUS LACK of all those.

    She has shown nothing but small-town tunnel vision and cheap-tart greed for all that has dazzled her from afar. Pity, that people still have to think twice about their vote – because there is really only one choice!

  • Bill Hedges

    Jinaque- How dare Sarah wanting a Polic officer fired for Stunning a minor child for fun ! That officer’s boss was fired later for something else. You see, after officer stupidiy, Sarah could have fired the boss for that. Immediately. Period.. You see the Boss served at Sarah’s pleasure. Could be fired with no cause.

  • PeoplePower

    Bill – the Alaska legislature ruled that Palin had the right to fire him, but that there were ethical violations. I don’t recall the exact nature of findings, but she was in the wrong and over-stepped her bounds of judgement. A bad mark against her character and leadership skills.

    As for this article…I wonder the value of scrutinizing the purchases. It’s outlandish to spend that much on clothing, but then again, how much does it cost for expensive suits & ties for the men of the campaign?

    What are the rules for spending campaign funds on these things? If it’s a violation, speak up & fine them. If not, let it rest, until it’s proven that they indeed donated the clothing to charity or did not.

    As for the answer to the 3rd-graders. It was rather simplistic, but they’re 3rd-graders! I’m not sure telling them that her job is to run the country in the event that the President dies or becomes incapacitated and to break ties in the Senate…

    A tad bit morbid for 3rd-graders.

    As for whether Palin is a liability to the McCain campaign – IMHO, yes. But then again, I fear excessive radicalism in religious connections to politics. I don’t care if someone has faith or too much the nature of that faith, but for anyone to advocate creationism over evolution as an official policy of a government entity will never, ever get my vote.

    I don’t know what the Republicans would have done if McCain ran as himself from 2000 vs. a slightly different sort of Bush. I don’t know if he would have even won the Republican primary, but I would have had a great deal of respect for him and probably would be looking at him more closely, if along with doing so he would have picked a much more solid and less social conservative VP candidate…

  • Bill Hedges

    PEOPLE POWER-As I recall the ruling was her husband was trying to get offider fired becaus of fear of oficer.. The boss Firing is nO problem because of reasons I stated. The officer still works. Conclusion must of been turned over to prosecutor who decides if it should go to trial. Considering the length of time that has passed, it seems safe to say not enought evidence exist for trial. As you noted, I only commented on one of her arguments. I do that for a reason. There are a few who twist and turn a long comment. In order not to fall in that trap, I stick to just one aspect of a commet.

  • Bill Hedges

    PEOPLE POWER- I don’t know the law on the clothes and stuff. My guess is it is as legal as Obama canpaign money being given to ACORN.

  • Pats

    This is how the McCain/Palin ticket chose to spend their campaign funds instead of either plowing it into campaign activities or helping people like ” Joe The Plumber”

  • Babs

    Well, Michael, I don’t think the last quote from the blogger should have been here, and the title is a bit biased I think for a supposed news article, or was this a commentary?

    Let’s look at Obama’s expenditures:

    I don’t know who paid for Michelle Obama’s “Jackie O” wardrobe, but you can bet it cost as much as Palin’s did. I won’t even go into Obama’s wardrobe, but I will say some salon has done an excellent job with Michelle’s hair and makeup, and finally someone plucked down those bushy eyebrows of hers. Not to mention I wonder how much that “staff” they hired for Michelle cost. You know, the one that was going to teach her to speak with a little more intelligence and stop sticking her foot in her mouth. Maybe she should share her staff with Biden. 😉

    I think this is a non story, generated by Andrea Mitchell, of all people, who probably has more invested in her own wardrobe than does Palin. She sounded a bit jealous to me yesterday as she went on and on ad nauseum about it.

    As to the statement to the 3rd graders – their 3rd graders for God’s sake.

    Where’s an article about the CNN interview with Palin where the reporter lied to her over a quote from the National Review, and got owned by Palin over the Biden gaffe??? Did I miss a post somewhere?

  • Babs, I have already said I think it does not have much mileage. You are, however, comparing apples to oranges. The issue at hand is that the RNC paid for these items for Palin– not her own campaign. Furthermore, GOP donors are upset about this. Both of these factors are what is making this a bigger issue than usual.

  • Babs

    Michael, I don’t know how many RNC donors are upset about this. There were 3 different threads on the subject yesterday at the Hannity forums (you can’t get much more “right sided” than that), and I can show you more than one post from people who said after reading about this, they called in another contribution and asked that it be specifically used for Palin’s wardrobe. They were angry alright, but not at the RNC.

    Here’s one of probably 1000 posts on the board:

    “Originally Posted by ExDem
    I just called in another $100 to the McCain campaign and asked that it going specifically for Gov. Palin’s campaign wardrobe. The guy laughed and said he has gotten a lot of calls like mine today. Pretty funny, huh?”

    There’s alot of talk on the board as well about a ticket for Michelle’s caviar and lobster for $400 + bucks. This could get really ridiculous.

    Most are talking about how Obama should “spread the wealth” over to McCain’s campaign.

  • Charles

    I ask everyone to PLEASE listen as carefully as you can to the comments and or answers given by Sarah Palin in several interviews including the very telling Katie Couric interview.
    It becomes apparant during these interviews that not only does she not answer questions but the she may not understand the question or know the correct answer. She seem to almost display an inability to arrange her thoughts in a meaningful manner that can even partly address the questions that are posed to her.She seems to suffer from disorientation of her own thought processes and doing this with a smile on her face as thought she is enlightining us. WOW!!! I have always had respect for John McCain but dear god in heaven this women displays symptoms of someone who may have mental issues…only one step away for being president of the United States? I know republicans that are biting their tongues and others who are speaking out that Sarah Palin is not ready (its not even close) to becoming president of the United States and should she become President may have to be forcefully removed from office because of these mental issues that are apparant to many in several interviews she has given. Watch the interviews CLOSELY and you’ll see what I mean.

  • Pats

    Can someone tell me why Gov Sarah Palin has to alter her appearance for the campaign trail? She’s a governor for God sake. She’s been dressing before McCain chose her as his running mate. She has been in executive position. Whether Obama or Michelle or Biden dress flamboyantly, that hasn’t been questioned yet. How they acquire their dresses has not been scrutinized yet. The issue at hand is the GOP spent $150,000.00 on Palin’s dresses. Is that good judgement in this economic crises? Is it right when the same GOP need more money for their campaign? Is that right when Joe The Plumber need that money?

  • Nonya

    Babs, I hope you feel much better about yourself after trying to make Michelle look bad. Seriously, was that necessary? Such a Republican approach. Can’t defend your stand, attack the next person.

  • Pats

    Ooooooooh! I’ve got an idea! I now know why the GOP had to fund Palin’s dress. Do you remember she disappeared after being pick to the running mate of McCain? She must have conditioned the GOP to dress her to meet the looks of a VP before she could accept their offer.
    Now it is not what she knows and says that attract people but how she looks. She does not have to define the role of a VP as long as she looks smart.

  • Charles you make a very good point. Unless she’s been told what to say she struggles. I have an autistic child and he struggles with understanding basic questions at times and he stares like a startled rabbit just like Palin when confused.

  • DJS

    Did the democrats get upset about the $140,000 Obama spent on his Greek columns? Can he donate them to charity?
    And as far as Palin struggling when she is asked a question maybe it is because whatever she says will be scruntized by the liberal media. I didn’t hear the media mention much about some of the comments Biden has said. Because he is a liberal and so he won’t get criticized. One of the liberal news reporters even admitted that if Palin had made the comment about Obama being tested during the first 6 months she would have been hung out to dry. And then Obama tries to cover saying that he meant to say that either him or McCain will be tested.
    Everyone complains about how much money Exxon/Mobile makes but no one gives Palin credit for getting some of the oil company profits in Alaska back to the people. That was to all the citizens not just specific groups like Obama seems to single out. No one else has done anything like that.
    Biden didn’t know that during the depression there was no tv and even though he is a lawyer and head of the judicial committee he couldn’t describe Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy laws.

  • Babs

    Nonya, don’t be ridiculous. I don’t have to make Michelle look bad, she does that so well on her own.

  • Hang on DJS. I don’t think Palin is incoherent because of the liberal media, and if she is how’s she going to cope with leaders of the Middle East? it’s because it’s not scripted. I’m certain she was given a book that had all the possible questions she could be asked and all the answers she should give, it’s obvious she either can’t remember the answer or she just wants to do her own thing, which doesn’t sound pretty.

    But you are correct, Palin should be given credit for the windfall profit tax that she got from the oil companies and gave them to the Alaskan people. Whooooooaaaaaa! hold them horses isn’t that what Obama wants to do but for ALL Americans? Crazy Palin and her double-standard socialist views.

  • Babs

    Pudding, again you are wrong. Look at the tax structure in Alaska. It’s a totally different concept on a state level.

    And I’M STILL WAITING FOR AN ANSWER ON YOUR OVERSEAS CONTRIBUTION TO OBAMA. Did he refund you? Or how did you get away with that since it’s flatly illegal? Come on, pudding, inquiring minds want to know………

  • dave the laborer

    if it was not brought up would sarahs cloths be in a consimate shop in alaska? is mr mcain going to retire after bashing obama reed polsie if he does not win ?or keep reaching across obstucting change for the good of our country ?