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Frugal – how Palin describes her 0,000 bill for clothes

by The Scotsman Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008 at 12:49 PM

IN AN interview that echoes Marie Antoinette's cry of "let them eat cake", Sarah Palin yesterday insisted the 0,000 spent by the Republican party on her campaign trail clothes was "frugal".

Published Date: 25 October 2008

By Chris Stephen

While her fellow Americans are being hammered by job losses, home repossessions and what former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan calls a "once in a century economic meltdown", Mrs Palin insisted her clothing allowance was on the low side.

"It's kind of painful to be criticised for something when all the facts are not out there and are not reported," she told the Chicago Tribune.

"Oh, if people only knew how frugal we are."

Mrs Palin, who has seen her favourability ratings plummet in recent weeks, denied the clothes were worth 0,000 and said most of them had never left the campaign plane.

The woman who loves to use gender-stereotypical phrases such as "hockey mom", "pitbull in lipstick" and "Joe Six-Pack" went on to make accusations of sexism in the media, comparing her plight to similar attacks on former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Mrs Palin blamed gender bias for the controversy, saying male candidates' hair and wardrobes are rarely an issue.

"I think Hillary Clinton was (also] held to a different standard in her primary race," Mrs Palin said, referring to the former first lady who lost a tough battle with Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination.

"Do you remember the conversations that took place about her, say, superficial things that they don't talk about with men?" she asked. "Her wardrobe and her hairstyles, all of that? That's a bit of that double standard."

Her comments came as the airwaves buzzed with criticism of the Republican Party for paying 0,000 to kit her out for the election trail from leading stores Bloomingdale's, Macy's and Saks, including ,700 for haircuts and ,000 for suits for her husband and even campaign-friendly romper suits for baby Trigg.

Mrs Palin's fall from grace has been as stellar as her rise: seven weeks ago, she burst into America's political consciousness with her surprise nomination as John McCain's running mate.

More recently, her star has been on the wane, with her probity questioned over allegations that as Alaska governor she fired a police chief because he refused to take action against her sister's ex-husband, a state trooper.

Doubts about her fitness for high office arose after she told an interviewer that she had an understanding of Russian politics because she can see the country from the Alaskan coast.

But she can fairly claim to have been more pilloried than any other candidate: her depiction as a bubble-headed beauty queen by actress Tina Fey has become a national sensation, with the skits played and re-played across the internet.

It is hard to tell where Tina Fey ends and Sarah Palin begins, commented Time magazine's James Poniewozik.

But there are also signs that Mrs Palin may be using this to her advantage: after avoiding the media for most of the campaign, she has now launched an interview blitz, including a cameo on the same Saturday Night Live show as her bête noire Mrs Fey.

Many think she is trying to position herself for a career as a chat show host if she and John McCain lose on 4 November.

"She's got a real future on TV. She's very charismatic", said one New York editor.

Polls put Obama ahead in presidential race

BARACK Obama has continued to widen his lead over John McCain as the candidates prepare for the final week of election campaigning.

A New York Times/CBS poll published yesterday gives Mr Obama a 13 point lead, the widest he has achieved, with 53 per cent against Mr McCain's 39 per cent.

CNN found a more modest nine point lead in its Poll of Polls with Mr Obama on 51 per cent, but said the Illinois senator has moved up two points in as many days.

Ohio, perhaps the single most important battleground state of them all, has a ten point lead for Mr Obama according to a poll by online newspaper Politico, but a three point lead for Mr McCain according to another poll by public relations company Strategic Vision.

In North Carolina and Virginia the latest polls show Mr Obama's hefty leads have narrowed to a single point over Mr McCain, within the statistical margin of error.

Whether this points to wavering support, or doubts among the ranks of undecided voters, is unclear.

Last Updated: 24 October 2008 9:59 PM

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