CBS: Sarah Palin ‘Under Fire’ For Spending on Clothes, Hair

Sarah Palin, CBS At the top of Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared: "The McCain campaign under fire for spending $150,000 on clothes and accessories for Sarah Palin and her family." Correspondent Jeff Glor later introduced the story: "Meanwhile, there's another story this morning that's getting a lot of attention and it's about Sarah Palin, who's gotten a lot of attention herself. It turns out that attention has come at a price." Correspondent Meg Oliver reported: "This is what she's wearing these days on the campaign trail, expensive designer clothes, apparently paid for by the Republican National Committee. Spending records filed with the Federal Election Commission showed the RNC paid for campaign accessories from upscale department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, where nearly $50,000 was spent, Neiman Marcus, $75,000, and $4700 for hair and makeup."

However, in a June 18 puff piece, the Early Show attempted to describe Barack Obama as a common man when it came to fashion: "...if you're wondering about that GQ look, don't expect stories about fancy custom tailoring." That was followed by Chicago Sun Times reporter Lynn Sweet explaining: "I interviewed him. I said where do you get your suits? And he says he bought them off the rack at Nordstrom's and Bloomingdale's." What exactly is the difference between Sarah Palin getting her clothes at Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus and Obama getting his clothes at Nordstrom’s and Bloomingdale’s?

During the Wednesday report, Oliver cited the Politico’s Mike Allen, who observed: "The problem with this for the campaign is it's the kind of thing that can sticks in people's minds at the time they're cutting back on their own shopping, they see a candidate looking extravagant...This would make the John Edwards hair cut look like a bargain, at the same time she's trying to connect with Joe and Jane plumber." Oliver also made comparisons to past Democratic fashion expenses: "In 2000, Al Gore was criticized for changing his look by wearing clothes with earth tones. Two years ago, Senator Hillary Clinton got some attention for two hair styling sessions that cost $2500. And then there were the $400 hair cuts for Democrat John Edwards."

On September 19, the Early Show went after Cindy McCain’s outfit at the Republican convention, as liberal pundit Laura Schwartz falsely claimed: "You know, Cindy McCain, her outfit that she wore the opening night of the convention comes in, once you tally everything up, Oscar de la Renta dress for $3,000. The watch from Chanel $4500. $11000 to $25000 worth of pearls. $600 shoes. And the diamond earrings, $280,000. So she clocks in right around $300,000...That kinda puts her over the top. That's like 1 ½ houses." On September 24, co-host Russ Mitchell had to offer a correction: "Last week, the Early Show aired an segment on an outfit Cindy McCain wore during the Republican National Convention. We estimated the total cost was more than $300,000. It turns out that dress is off-the-rack and the pearl necklace is not real. We regret the error." Apparently CBS is anxious to bash decadent Republicans.

At the conclusion of the Wednesday story, Oliver quoted a response from the McCain campaign: "The McCain campaign released a statement late last night saying, quote, ‘with all of the important issues facing the country right now, it's remarkable that we're spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses. It was the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign.’ She then added: "We asked politico.com if there were similar expenditures on the Democratic side and they said there were none they could identify."

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

7:00AM TEASE:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: The McCain campaign under fire for spending $150,000 on clothes and accessories for Sarah Palin and her family.

7:04AM SEGMENT:

JEFF GLOR: Meanwhile, there's another story this morning that's getting a lot of attention and it's about Sarah Palin, who's gotten a lot of attention herself. It turns out that attention has come at a price. My colleague Meg Oliver has that story.

MEG OLIVER: This was just one of the outfits that Sarah Palin wore as Alaska's governor, before she was running for vice president. This is what she's wearing these days on the campaign trail, expensive designer clothes, apparently paid for by the Republican National Committee. Spending records filed with the Federal Election Commission showed the RNC paid for campaign accessories from upscale department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, where nearly $50,000 was spent, Neiman Marcus, $75,000, and $4700 for hair and makeup.

MIKE ALLEN: The problem with this for the campaign is it's the kind of thing that can sticks in people's minds at the time they're cutting back on their own shopping, they see a candidate looking extravagant.

OLIVER: That could pose a political risk. In 2000, Al Gore was criticized for changing his look by wearing clothes with earth tones. Two years ago, Senator Hillary Clinton got some attention for two hair styling sessions that cost $2500. And then there were the $400 hair cuts for Democrat John Edwards.

ALLEN: This would make the John Edwards hair cut look like a bargain, at the same time she's trying to connect with Joe and Jane plumber.

OLIVER: The McCain campaign released a statement late last night saying, quote, 'with all of the important issues facing the country right now, it's remarkable that we're spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses. It was the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign.' We asked politico.com if there were similar expenditures on the Democratic side and they said there were none they could identify. Meg Oliver, CBS News, New York.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC