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Palin's wardrobe tag spells more than fashion faux pas

Video by Regan RANUCCI

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-12-09

The disclosure that the Republican Party spent more than $150,000 for vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's wardrobe has not helped John McCain in the polls - nor has her recent gaffe on the role of the US vice president.

 
  
The embarrassing price tag of her campaign wardrobe and her blooper about the job description of US vice president confirm what recent polls say: Sarah Palin is a burden to the Republican presidential ticket.
   
Seven weeks after John McCain picked her as his running mate, getting a sharp boost to his White House effort, Americans are less and less convinced she is worthy to serve as the country's number two leader.
   
In a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll out Wednesday that puts McCain 10 points behind his Democratic rival Barack Obama, 55 percent of respondents and potential voters said the believed that Palin is not cut out to be vice president.
   
Even more troubling, many Republican voters unhappy with Palin are seeing their misgivings confirmed, above all with the "troopergate" scandal, in which the governor is being investigated for alleged abuse of power in trying to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from the Alaska state police force.
   
On Wednesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declined to talk about Palin during a debate about women in power in Long Beach, California, and became visibly tense when she was asked to comment about her.
   
The Politico website late Tuesday caused a stir by publishing financial records of the Republican National Committee showing it has spent more than 150,000 dollars on clothes for Palin since she was picked by McCain at the end of August.
   
McCain-Palin campaign spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt slammed the media for focusing on "pantsuits and blouses" at such a difficult time for the country, and said: "it was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign."
   
Palin's answers in debates and interviews and her quirky expressions in body and language have been grist for humorists and imitators like comedian Tina Fey, who has turned her antics into a weekly happening on the "Saturday Night Live" comedy show.
   
Palin, however, rolled with the punch and last Saturday confronted her imitator in a live broadcast, showcasing her self-deprecating humor.
   
But then on Monday, Palin bared here lack of political knowledge when she was asked about the functions of a vice president, during an interview with a Colorado television station.
   
"A vice president has a really great job because not only are they there to support the president's agenda, they're there like the team member, the teammate to the president," Palin said.
   
"But also, they're in charge of the United States Senate, so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes," she added, in comments that contradicted the separation-of-powers principle enshrined in the US constitution.
   
The US vice president cannot partake in congressional debates, but does have the right to cast the tie-breaking vote as Senate president.
   
Despite her glaring drawbacks, McCain continues presenting Palin at campaign rallies as a good potential vice president, stressing that he had no doubts she would be a valuable asset in his campaign goal of cleaning Washington of political corruption.
   
But even staunch Republicans remain unconvinced.
   
Ken Adelman, a Republican hawk who served in top diplomatic and defense posts for presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George Bush, Bush's father, wrote in the New Yorker magazine that Palin's choice for vice president made him switch sides and he now supports Obama for president.

Date created : 2008-10-23

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