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Obama's Expensive Designer Suit Habit

5 years ago
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The Politico has a hit piece out today on Republican vice-presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin and the money spent by the Republican National Committee to outfit her and her family for appearances on the campaign trail this election season. The article breathlessly reports that the RNC has spent upwards of $150,000 on makeup and designer clothes for the Palins since her nomination in late August. The unstated context of the article, immediately picked up upon by some liberal commentators, including in this space, is that Palin is a hypocrite, pretending to be Joe Six-pack while prancing about in fancy duds. As with the equally ridiculous attacks on John and Cindy McCain for their ownership of multiple homes, several of which are owned by a family trust, the point of this kind of attack and the resulting fire storm is to make the target, usually a Republican, appear to be out of touch with the majority of Americans.

But the criticism and the charge of elitism cuts both ways. Sen. Barack Obama, for example, lives in a home that he purchased with the help of a now convicted felon and political fixer, Tony Rezko, for more than $1.5 million. Not many Americans can make that claim, much less get a politically connected friend to buy the adjacent lot on the same day, then agree to sell off a portion of that lot at a discount to expand the backyard of the newly purchased mansion. Sen. Obama was able to purchase that home thanks to a seven figure advance and royalties from the sale of his two books. There is nothing wrong with that, of course, but it doesn't exactly make Obama a man of the people.

On the attack of the day, expensive clothes, Obama also has something of a handicap in relating to the average guy. Obama likes expensive designer suits. He even had one custom made for his Democratic Convention acceptance speech.
Tonight, Barack Obama will wear a navy blue, worsted wool two-button suit that Hartmarx custom made just for him. Hartmarx is a 121-year-old Chicago-based manufacturer of high-end men's suits. Obama, who wears a 40 long with a 33-inch waist, has worn Hart Schaffner Marx suits but always off the rack, said an inside source. He favors the Gold Trumpeter collection. His new custom suit is 97 percent merino wool and 3 percent cashmere, has pleated plants with a 1 1/2-inch cuff and would cost about $1,500 off the rack.

The least expensive Hart Schaffner Marx suit retails for $695, hardly within the budget of the average working man.

Obama's taste in fine menswear has hardly been discussed. Yet Palin's wardrobe supposedly disqualifies her from relating to the middle class. More likely, the fact that this story was even written means that Palin has been a little to successful in making inroads with the group of voters liberals, Democrats, and the press believe should rightfully be theirs alone.

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