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Did Palin really need $150k for a new wardrobe?

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In a period where the GOP faithful are rallying around Joe the Plumber and talking about the little guy needing tax breaks, $150k on new clothes isn't exactly the message the campaign wants to get out in the next 12 days.

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The campaign just wants to move on.

"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."

And this could be just a flash in the pan. Like anything else in a campaign, it all depends on how long something remains in the news cycle. McCain's housing gaffe lasted forever. That was much earlier in the general election when the airwaves and blogosphere were not nearly so noisy.

You gotta look good

While some political observers may be up arms over the whole thing, let's be realistic. When running for office, it does help to look professional. But is $150,000 needed to look good? Frank James over at the Chicago Tribune's Swamp found a scholar in fashion law who says this makes sense.

"In our image-based society, the packaging of a candidate requires strategic spending on visuals, from stage makeup to backdrops to podiums at a flattering height -- and yes, costumes," says Susan Scafidi. "As a result, it's difficult to argue that the RNC's purchase of clothing for Sarah Palin is an inappropriate expenditure on items for personal use, especially if they really do go to charity after the campaign. Still, given that neither party has given its male candidates a wardrobe makeover, the $150,000 spent at Saks and Neimans reinforces the unfortunate impression that Governor Palin is merely the conservatives' favorite dress-up doll."

Does the story have legs?

Our guess is that this controversy won't last long. We're in the waning days of the campaign and now it is all about the horserace.

Multiple polls come out daily. Just today, an Associated Press poll called the race even, Fox News is reporting Obama's got a nine-point lead, while Reuters is touting a 10-point lead for Obama. And those are national polls. The most important barometer are the polls in Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Hamphsire, North Carolina, and other key battlegrounds. There the numbers are all over the map.

And let's be fair and find out about Joe Biden. Is he wearing the same old sports coat or has the DNC helped him slipped into something a little more vice-presidential?

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