The Campaign Spot

The $400 Haircut, For Edwards, The Story That Wouldn’t Die

Maureen Dowd rips John Edwards over those $400 haircuts:

When you spend more on a couple of haircuts than Burundi’s per capita G.D.P. , it looks so vain it makes Paul Wolfowitz’s ablutions spitting on his comb look like rugged individualism.
Following his star turn primping his hair for two minutes on a YouTube video to the tune of “I Feel Pretty,” Mr. Edwards this week had to pay back the $800 charged to his campaign for two shearings at Torrenueva Hair Designs in Beverly Hills. He seems intent on proving that he is a Breck Girl — and a Material Boy.
He did not pony up for the pricey bills from Designworks Salon in Dubuque, Iowa, or the Pink Sapphire spa in Manchester, which offers services for men that include the “Touch of Youth” facial, as well as trips “into the intriguing world of makeup.” The Edwards campaign calls makeup a legitimate expense.

Meanwhile, New York Times’ Adam Nagourney seems to be feeling a little guilt over quoting Republican sources deriding Edwards in the past:

In the last paragraph of that story, which I wrote with a colleague, Richard W. Stevenson, an unnamed “Bush associate” was quoted as referring to Mr. Edwards as “the Breck Girl of politics.” Another Bush adviser, again unnamed, was quoted as saying of Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, “he looks French.”…
Our story may have had the result of not only previewing what the Bush campaign intended to do, but, by introducing such memorably biting characterizations into the political dialogue, helping it.

He also notes, however, that Jim Jordan, who was Kerry’s campaign manager during [part of] that primary, frequently referred to Edwards as “the cute Beatle.”
Elsewhere, those inclined to like Edwards, like left-of-center blogger Ezra Klein, are left to bang their heads against walls over avoidable mistakes:

Everyone knows appearances matter, and populist credibility is harmed by accusations of opulent personal habits. To blame Maureen Dowd for this controversy is like watching a drunk slam into a divider and blaming the divider. The divider is always there, folks just have to avoid it. And Edwards could have avoided this. Why he didn’t, honestly, baffles me. And so much as I’d like to say — and genuinely believe — it’s a completely useless subject for inquiry, given that such inquiries will be made, the question of why he showed such poor political judgment is a legitimate one for Democratic primary voters to ask.

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