Will Palin's Top-Dollar Wardrobe Threaten Her "Joe Six Pack" Image?

(CBS)
From CBS News' Scott Conroy:

(DAYTON, OHIO) - With her unfavorable ratings sinking to new lows, the last thing Sarah Palin needed was a story that could jeopardize her carefully crafted image as an "average hockey mom" who is the candidate of the "Joe six packs."

So when Politico reported that the Republican National Committee had forked over more than $150,000 to clothe and accessorize the candidate and her family, the McCain/Palin campaign turned to a tried and true target: the media.

"With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it's remarkable that we're spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses," Palin spokesperson Tracey Schmitt said. "It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign."

But Palin's clothing spending spree didn't just raise eyebrows in the media. CBS News chief political consultant Marc Ambinder reports, "Republicans, RNC donors and at least one RNC staff member have e-mailed me tonight to share their utter (and not-for-attribution) disgust at the expenditures."

John Edwards' infamous $400 haircuts were a favorite target among the Republican base during the primaries, but it is unlikely that Palin's core group of devoted supporters will turn away from the candidate they see as one of their own. Still, the fact that Palin's handlers shopped for her at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue could take some of the sting out of her repeated assertion that she is not one of the "elites."

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    Scott Conroy is a National Political Reporter for RealClearPolitics and a contributor for CBS News.