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 Politico.com 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:

Elementary-gate!
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.