Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

The other tell-all book being released is Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe's aptly named The Audacity to Win. Today, Ben Smith of Politico had a confession to make well because it was about to be divulged anyway. Smith's source for the John Edwards $400 haircut story was the Obama campaign. Here's the original post from March 2007 entitled The Hair's Too Perfect:

Well, John Edwards' campaign for president spent $400 on February 20, and another $400 on March 7, at a top Beverly Hills men's stylist, Torrenueva Hair Designs.

The expensive haircut is, of course, a perennial. Bill Clinton got zinged for getting a cut from Cristophe, and Hillary was found at one point to have buried a stylist on her campaign payroll.

Obama, on the other hand, gets his cut cheap and frequent -- but he does take the process seriously enough to hold his calls.

Only Edwards, however, has had the care he takes with his hair memorialized on YouTube.

Edwards' campaign also spent money at two spas: Designworks Salon in Dubuque, and Pink Sapphire in Manchester.

Note that Smith's reporting juxtaposes Edwards' expensive haircuts with Obama's cheap ones.  Perhaps that comparison should have been the tip-off in hindsight. That post on the cost of the Edwards haircuts derailed his candidacy. I'm shocked that Obama campaign or any Democratic campaign would engage in such pettiness and silliness.  Perhaps I'm just bitter because as a die-hard Edwards supporter anytime I tried to engage in a Two Americas debate all I got back was a retort about a haircut.

Yes, I realize the messenger was flawed but that does not negate the message. There are Two Americas and it behooves the Administration to address this fact if only to atone for such trivialities as the cost of a haircut.

Tags: David Plouffe, John Edwards, The Haircut, US Politics (all tags)

Comments

48 Comments

Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

On its own, the haircut wouldn't have been a big story. It's all about reinforcing previously held notions, in this that case, that Edwards was a vain prettyboy who wasn't nearly as in touch with the lower and middle classes as he claimed. Without that previously existing image, the story would have been an embarrassing scandal for a few days but one that would have eventually gone away. I'm not saying that makes it okay, just that it's more than a few reporters or campaign aides acting petty.

by Nathan Empsall 2009-11-16 06:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

I'm shocked that Obama campaign or any Democratic campaign would engage in such pettiness and silliness.

I'm even more shocked a man who knew he had an extramarital affair that produced a child (and what extramarital affairs tend to mean for Democrats) would try to sleaze his way onto a national ticket;

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/ 11/plouffe-shocker-edwards-camp-offered- to-endorse-if-obama-would-pick-him-as-vp .php?ref=fpa

I'm not sure I trust any word that comes out of that man's mouth, even on policy. He could talk a big game, he was never going to get elected President anyway and he knew it.

by ND22 2009-11-16 06:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

No denying that Edwards was a grave disappointment.

Deception is hard.

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-16 06:33PM | 0 recs
With all due respect, the bigger deception...

...by Edwards was adopting a message that contradicted his record as a Senator.  He had 6 years in office to stand up for something, and he ended up giving us what added up to a garden variety voting record for a Democratic Senator, with all the caution and triangulation we see from so many of them.  Now, that doesn't particularly bother me, as I'm a practical liberal and I accept our members leaving the reservation on various votes to keep their constituents from firing them.  But to later talk in 2008 about poverty and so many other liberal causes as his passionate concern was not in line with his record.  Now, his 2004 campaign was a different thing altogether, he took a happy posture with his Two Americas message, and that showed no contradiction at all.  I really liked the 2004 Edwards candidacy.  But in 2008 he was trying to sound like Ralph Nader when his voting record was more like...well...a white Southern Democrat.

by DCCyclone 2009-11-17 03:55AM | 0 recs
Re: With all due respect, the bigger deception...

Edwards was totally INSANE to be screwing around at the same time he was running for President! If he'd gotten the nomination can you even imagine the disaster?

We'd be talking about how useless the Democratic Congress is in the face of a veto threat from President McCain! And the Bush nightmare would be lasting another 4 years!

Lindsey Graham would be McCain's economic adviser who would be telling the nation that what we need is another massive tax cut for the rich to "stimulate our way out of the Great Depression II".

Because tax cuts always work in the insane ideology of the right-wing.

I will NEVER forgive that scumbag Edwards for nearly destroying our country by running for President KNOWING that he was sitting on a TIME-BOMB that could utterly wipe out all chance of taking our country back from the right-wing monsters who were bent on finishing off whatever was left of our nation after 8 years of Bush!

by Cugel 2009-11-17 07:35AM | 0 recs
2008 campaign followed logically from Two Americas

So I don't see how you can say they were inconsistent.  If, as Edwards said in 2004, that there's one America for the wealthy, and another one for the rest of us, then his 2008 campaign was where he put forth his ideas on what to do about that.

And they were damned good ideas, and forced Obama and Clinton to the left on health care and climate change.  We're where we are in terms of legislation on both of these issues, at least in large part, because of the campaign Edwards ran in 2007/08.

Yeah, he's a freakin' scumbag.  But we owe that scumbag a big thank-you.

by RT 2009-11-17 08:43AM | 0 recs
Re: 2008 campaign followed logically from Two Amer

There is also the fact that Edwards dragged the discussion leftwards.

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-17 09:13AM | 0 recs
Re: With all due respect, the bigger deception...

With all due respect, the bigger deception by Edwards was adopting a message that contradicted his record as a Senator

So what in Obama's voting record as a Senator indicate Hope & Change. Atleast Edwards had the excuse that he was a southern democrat.

by gaf 2009-11-17 02:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

The endorsement quid quo pro is the height of hubris.

Unbelievable.

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-16 06:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

After reading all of those posts at TPM, I realize that I could never ever work in politics.

I must admit that I am going to go out and buy Plouffe's book.

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-16 07:08PM | 0 recs
Me either

politics is a blood sport, always has been, always will be, and is everywhere around the world. I'm not going to pretend to think I can change it.

by ND22 2009-11-16 07:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

Hang on, hang on.  The guy who ran the Osama bin Laden ad against Howard Dean in 2004 is the chief spokesman for the Obama White House, and yet you're SHOCKED to learn that the Obama campaign used some frivolous oppo research against a rival?  It's like you're nominating yourself for the Captain Renault Award for Naivete, or something.

The Edwards campaign, of course, was relentlessly about substance and issues.  Who here was enough of a primary junkie to remember the issue-dominated website that was www.plantsforhillary.com, for example?

Come on, this is politics and always will be.

by Steve M 2009-11-16 06:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

I didn't engage in the 2004 campaign. Still was working at Goldman. Missed most of it. Didn't back anyone. Well Kerry once he got the nomination.

I also had suspected or heard that the source was Drudge or some GOP operative. It is shocking to me to see that a campaign would go after such trivial stories especially one in the same camp.

Politicians are politicians, sadly.

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-16 06:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

Wait, you left Goldman Sachs? Do your friends still talk to you?

And, yes, politics can be very trivial.

by bruh3 2009-11-16 06:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

Do my friends at Goldman still talk to me?

Rarely but that's because they work 16 hour days.

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-16 07:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

I'm shocked that Obama campaign or any Democratic campaign would engage in such pettiness and silliness.

I'm not. Obama ran a very dirty campaign through surrogates so he could keep his hands clean.

by KimPossible 2009-11-17 03:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

Cute ad hoc attack, but what anecdotal example do you have?

by onlinesavant 2009-11-17 05:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

How about smearing the Clinton's as racist?  

by orestes 2009-11-17 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

Come on:  "good hard-working white people"?

Clearly race baiting.  Clinton smeared herself with that shit.

by lojasmo 2009-11-30 11:57AM | 0 recs
Alls fair

After the Kerry debacle, I am actually heartened to see Democrats using attack politics.

Where those politics went to hide after inauguration, I don't know. But it's good to know they're there.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-11-16 06:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Alls fair

They are being used to attack the "left of the left," which in DC apparently equates to "not a plutocrat."

by bruh3 2009-11-16 07:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Alls fair

I always figured the hair story came out of the Clinton camp because HRC seemed to be the bare-knuckle brawler of the group.  But like you, I have been waiting a long time for a Dem to mix it up a little bit.  Its too bad BO only apparently has it in him to attack Democrats.  If only he used these tactics against the bad guys.

by bdub78 2009-11-16 07:04PM | 0 recs
so where'd the McCain seven house story come from?

Hmmm... Politico, quickly followed by an Obama ad.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/080 8/12685.html

by John DE 2009-11-16 07:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Alls fair

I'm sure he dished plenty of stuff on McCain/Palin...

by vecky 2009-11-16 07:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Alls fair

Ofcourse keep in mind that Dem-on-Dem is in vogue nowadays. Some would wish we would forget completely about the 'bad guys' and just continue fighting amongst ourselves.

by vecky 2009-11-16 07:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Alls fair

You approve of this behavior- particularly against a Democrat?  

by orestes 2009-11-17 08:48AM | 0 recs
This is how you win in politics

by ND22 2009-11-17 10:46AM | 0 recs
Re: This is how you win in politics

I'll take that as a yes?  I personally don't think there's a place for this within the party.  Sure, if the republicans play dirty, you have to match fire with fire.  But to do this within the party is something I cannot accept.  It's immoral, in my view.

by orestes 2009-11-17 12:44PM | 0 recs
the key lesson here

Is not that Obama (gasp) can play up negative stories about an opponent. It is that even a story which Politico could have gotten by looking at FEC records came from someone else. I honestly do not think the media creates even one in hundred stories, they just pass on press releases and leaks, which are informal press releases.

by John DE 2009-11-16 07:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

Well, it's not like the Obama campaign made him get the haircut.  Who was responsible for the 'I'm So Pretty' YouTube?  As someone up-thread noted this story played into a pre-existing narrative about Edwards or it wouldn't have been so damaging.  One of the things I always liked about Obama was that he was a political animal.

And you would have to admit that we dodged a bullet with Edwards.  I notice the Obama campaign didn't touch the Reille Hunter disaster then or now.  I think the haircut story was fair game, frankly.  And it didn't stop Edwards and Obama from tag-teaming Hillary from time-to-time when it suited them.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-16 07:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

We dodged a bullet with Edwards, but we really were gaining Clinton either way with out him.

by bruh3 2009-11-16 07:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

No argument there.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-11-16 08:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

It is not Obama's fault that the media would pay so much attention to a worthless story. It is Edward's fault that that he risked another four years of republicanism since if he had won the nomination and his indiscretion had come to light in October 08 we would have been screwed.

by RAULC 2009-11-16 07:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

You must have been pretty die-hard about Edwards, because I never thought the $400 haircut attack was a very effective campaign tactic.  I certainly don't think it derailed his campaign.  I think most Democrats watched him closely during the primaries, took his campaign seriously, decided he wasn't really Presidential material, and opted for Obama or Clinton instead.

by West of the Fields 2009-11-16 07:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

I don't think he would have won the nomination necessarily had that never been reported. But yes it hurt the campaign. Affected fundraising to begin with and most of all dented the Two Americas message.

Don't get me wrong John Edwards is dead to me now but he wasn't then. I hadn't been politically active (other than donating here and then) since Paul Tsongas in 1992. John Edwards' message of Two Americas was very real to me. I was unimpressed by Obama until he had that run in with Joe the Plumber of all people because he said those three magic words. "spread the wealth."

My deepest political conviction is that widening income inequality is inherently unstable for a polity. The more unequal, the more unstable (unless you resort to repression).  This populist backlash we are seeing is a symptom of an unequal society. The irony of it all is these people can't see that it was the policies of Ronald Reagan that landed them in this situation.

This is essentially core thesis in any of my economic posts. Unless we tackle income inequality we are going to see more and more these outbreaks of populism. Economic insecurity can then erupt in all sort of ways from racism and xenophobia to a phobia of systemic change such as cap n trade and healthcare reform.

I

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-16 08:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

You're a bit naive, no?  Do you really think most Americans look seriously at candidates?  More importantly, do you think they're given the opportunity by the media to look at candidates seriously?  Edwards was marginalized because he spoke truth to power.  

by orestes 2009-11-17 08:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign
lol
 
by West of the Fields 2009-11-17 07:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

That post on the cost of the Edwards haircuts derailed his candidacy.

Edwards' candidacy was failed from the start.  It was laughable from the outset, and all the way along.

I'm shocked that Obama campaign or any Democratic campaign would engage in such pettiness and silliness.  Perhaps I'm just bitter...

I hate to use this word, because it gets thrown around here so much, but this is a clear example of naivete.  

by lojasmo 2009-11-17 03:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

I was a huge Edwards supporter, disappointed when he dropped out (but suspicious) and terribly disgusted by the facts as they were later revealed. However, I wont condemn the man. He screwed up, did  some stupid things mostly to his wife. If she is still with him and perhaps forgiven him, who am I to hold a grudge. Only God can judge.....

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-11-17 03:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

Even though our views on so many subjects are so different, it still doesn't surprise me that you and I were both Edwards supporters. He talked about economic justice in a way that you had not heard from a Democrat in a long long time.

by Charles Lemos 2009-11-17 09:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

To this day, I truly believe he meant what he said. was Bill Clinton any less honest in his desire to be a productive President because he couldnt keep it in his pants? No.....his personal flaws just didnt derail his campaign the way Edwards did.

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-11-17 01:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

Only God can judge

except the gays, them you freely judge.

by ND22 2009-11-17 10:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

Really? I have said I dont believe in gay marriage. Why? Because the bible, the word of God, says marriage is between one man and one woman. That is not my judgement, but the Judgement of God....nice try

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-11-17 01:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Yeah

 and Jesus rode a dinosaur to work. We know, we know.

by QTG 2009-11-18 09:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

The books of the bible were handed down by oral tradition for hundreds of years before being transcribed.

Those who believe the bible is the "word of god" are ignorant.

those who would use the bible to deny rights to all gods' people are evil.  Yes, I'm talking about you.

by lojasmo 2009-11-30 12:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

Of the 3 candidates, he was on the only one discussing economic populism and the real problems we face with entrenched plutocrats in DC. So, of course, he had to go. He needed to keep it in his pants, but that's a separate issue from what he had to discuss substantively. It was too bad he was a dud.

by bruh3 2009-11-17 04:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

It's very interesting to me that so many embrace this behavior by the Obama campaign.  What about change?  A new politics?  I think it's disgusting to disparage a primary opponent in this manner.  The intended purpose was to challenge Edwards' masculinity, to label him effete.  That is unconscionable in my mind.  

For those who approve of this behavior, I don't want to hear one howl of injustice when the same is tossed back at Obama.  

by orestes 2009-11-17 08:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Got Trimmed by the Obama Campaign

Becuase much to the dismay of many, the change mantra has turned out to be a farce. The administration still hasnt shown itself to be an element of change in regards to politics as usual...

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-11-17 01:49PM | 0 recs

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