Friday, October 24, 2008

Obama's Worn Shoes, Dressing on a Budget, and Palin's Closet

Update: Some people reading this post have also read Obama Family Obsession, The Huxtable Effect, and Black Images on the Screen

Day in and day out lately this blog gets hits from people wanting to know about Obama's shoes, particularly holes in Obama's shoes. I think it's this picture for which folks are searching, but the photo doesn't show holes in Barack Obama's shoes. The shoes, however, are worn. Remember, this is a man who says he doesn't enjoy shopping, and in an interview with Access Hollywood that featured the presidential hopeful and his family, wife Michelle Obama seemed amused that people think of Barack as a clothes horse or style icon. Here's that video.

At HuffPo, Jason Linkins, the same blogger through whom I found the Michelle Obama on Paula Deen clip, wrote a brief post about Obama's shoes that puts the above photo in historical context. You can read that here.

I think Cindy McCain has a story about McCain wearing holes into the soles of his shoes, but nobody's been googling that and ending up here.

More on the video: In it the Obamas discuss dressing on a budget, something most Americans can relate to while we're all going through this economic crisis. I think the video surfaced because so many people were outraged to learn the RNC has spent $150,000 on Sarah Palin's wardrobe thus far. McCain has defended the expense saying, "she needed clothes."

Oddly, while McCain defends the expense, Palin, in an interview with The Chicago Tribune, denies the expense. She denies it but then seeks to make amends by saying the clothes will be donated to charity. Huh?
"It's kind of painful to be criticized for something when all the facts are not out there and are not reported," said Palin, saying the clothes are not worth $150,000 and were bought for the Republican National Convention. Still, she has been wearing pricey clothes at campaign events this fall. She said they will be given back, auctioned off or sent to charity. Most of them, she said, haven't even left the belly of her campaign plane. (CT)
CNN's Campbell Brown, who's taken her flack from the McCain campaign this year for asking tough questions about Palin's lack of experience, spoke out against the stories on Palin's clothing expenses. She called it a "double standard" and said people aren't talking about Obama's $1500 suits. She argues that women are judged on their looks more than men.

She's right, but remember the bruhaha over John Edwards's $400 haircut? Some people thought it was trivial, a non-issue. Others thought it proved Edwards was shallow, frivolous, and imprudent with money. I think folks are making similar arguments against the RNC over the cost of Palin's wardrobe. Do those who object tally in Palin's make-up expenses as well?

The debate about Palin's wardrobe bill and the salary of her make-up artist only adds to Palin's image as a bubble-headed Barbie doll. Even conservative columnist Kathleen Parker considers that McCain chose Palin for her looks. And I've said elsewhere that McCain's choice of VP says far more about his view of women than it says about Palin herself. (edited for link removal 11/08)

However, Palin's looks is another issue for which we women must parse our words carefully. Another female columnist has claimed women don't like Palin because Palin's pretty. Uh, I have a response to that nonsense.

I've gone off on a tangent, so let me get back to Obama's shoes and that Hollywood Access interview on frugal dressing. The Obamas certainly don't come off as elitist in that, do they?

If you're curious about Obama's daughters appearing on Access Hollywood, look at this post. Obama called the interview a mistake because he doesn't want a spotlight on Sasha and Malia. However, Morra Aaron's Mele said at BlogHer that she loved the interview.
I loved seeing the Obama family on Access Hollywood. I love Michelle's sense of humor, Malia's preteen confidence, Barack's long suffering Dad role. I think Barack gets less grief on the campaign trail than he gets at home...
It's good to see that a leader is human and just like us. I like that Michelle buys clothes from The Gap and Obama gets ribbed just like any other beloved father. As I've said before, he's both cool and warm.

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