The Local Angle on John Edwards's Hair

Local activist (and former renter of dorm fridges--anyone else remember that?) Erik Ose has a piece today in titled, "I saw John Edwards in the shampoo aisle." Maybe some other OP-area readers have had similar encounters, though I have not.

I'm pointing this out because, first of all, it's weird when you see the name of someone you know in the national news when you weren't expecting it (Ose, not Edwards!).

Further, does this have repercussions for our local economy? What if Orange County resident Edwards spent $400 on eight hair cuts at Moshi Moshi? Or on sixteen haircuts at Sid's? Or even more haircuts at the barbershop in Northside?

And now, onto the actual issue here: I have been wondering what local folks think about this issue, of our wealthy neighbor who is also advocating for the poor. Is this a problem? Contradiction? Or none of our friggin business?

(Elizabeth Edwards, if you are reading this... please forgive me!)




The cost of haircuts only seems to be a problem for wealthy Republicans who think they are spotting some kind of hypocrisy. The real hypocrisy is pro-corporate abuse Republicans making a fake campaign issue outa a freaking hair cut. Feh. :)

(See how easy it is to call out hypocrisy? How hard that was in last nights debate...)

Is this local? Does the cost of hair cuts effect our local tax base? hmmm me thinks not...


I ran into John Edwards on Greensboro Street in Carrboro last summer. He was going to Carrboro Recreation and Parks to register his kids for one of Carrboro's sports leagues. It was nice to see the guy just being Dad.

If the biggest criticism of Edwards is that he has good looking hair, then I say we put him on the ballot.

There are lots of ways to spin this, but in the end, if you are going to be filmed and photographed 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, then you want to have a film-quality appearance. In our age of American Idol, and going back to the Nixon 5 o'clock shadow even, it's unrealistic to imagine that campaigns don't consider this. Beyond that, it seems like several layers of screw-ups to call up a top stylist at the drop of a hat, then to pay for it with campaign funds.

Pam Spaulding commented about seeing the whole family out shopping at Target one night, I think Democrats have in common this year that their candidates are or were just normal people (Clinton now much different than the Clinton's in 1991). We have no John Kerry's or George Bushes that were born into privilege. Nice, middle-class, working-class values.

I saw that article this morning, too. (I am becoming a Salon junkie).

Those of you who went to UNC in the early 90's (as Joan and I did, along with Mayor Chilton and Councilmember Kleinschmidt) will remember the article's author best as the guy who came up to you in the Pit or Lenoir and asked if you were registered to vote, several times a year.

As for the haircut, it's yet another non-issue that allows the press to cover the horserace instead of the issues. Bleh.

The issue is exactly one of wealth, because its only a matter of time before satellite images of his house are floating around the web.

The campaign needs to bring the issue up right now to diffuse the whole wealth angle before it blows up. He didn't come from a wealthy family, and made his own fortune, so the real question here is whether only the poor can be advocates for the poor.

I'd pay 400 bucks to have his hair.

Those of you who went to UNC in the early 90's (as Joan and I did, along with Mayor Chilton and Councilmember Kleinschmidt) will remember the article's author best as the guy who came up to you in the Pit or Lenoir and asked if you were registered to vote, several times a year.

I got to know Erik for exactly that same reason, only it was in the early part of this decade, and I ended up playing his modern counterpart for several months in 2004 before he helped me get a job with the NC Democratic Party organizing canvassers.

I'm glad to hear Edwards does at least some of his own shopping - it seems menial, but I think it's important to remain attached to "the real world" in at least some way. It still makes me smile when I remember running into David Price on more than one occasion late at night at Harris Teeter when I still lived on that side of town.

I'm with Joe.

Chris Rock had a great line to the effect of "Bill Clinton got rid of the deficit for cri'sake, the least we owe him is a blow job."

If Edwards can implement his well conceived plan to give everyone health coverage (a plan applauded by Paul Krugman) then this hair cut will seem very cheap indeed.

I don't think the issue is that he's wealthy per se, or that only the poor can advocate for the poor. I *do* think it's an issue in that his pet issue is telling other people to go out of their way to deal with poverty when he's getting $400 haircuts. And if I'm not mistaken, he gave his wife a raquetball or squash or handball court as a present. So I don't think it's out of line for us to ask why we should take action to stop poverty when he's clearly not giving 100% to his trademark cause.

However, I agree that if he just discussed it and got it out of the way it wouldn't be as big of a deal. I'm sure he's got a reasonable response.

Laura Bush spent $700 on her hair per Salon website! :
"Meanwhile, our favorite TV nugget of the day so far came courtesy of Barbara Walters, who matter-of-factly informed viewers that Laura Bush recently had her hair done by famed New York City stylist Sally Hershberger, who charges $700 for a haircut. Just take a moment to think back to the go-go '90s, and try to imagine what the press' hysterical reaction would have been if word ever leaked out that Hillary Clinton had sat down for a $700 trim. "
I don't think Edwards knew initially that his "cut" was going to cost him $400. He relies on his campaign staff and probably was not aware of the charge until after the fact.

I know for a fact that a local salon owner does Mrs. Edwards hair on a regular basis, and has cut Mr. Edwards hair at least once.

I'd identify said salon owner, but I've not cleared it with him/her.

Chris--the man earned his money the hard way. He didn't inherit it. If he wants to give his wife a racquet ball court that is HIS business.

Would anything short of self-induced poverty be enough for you? How else to interpret the sentence "So I don't think it's out of line for us to ask why we should take action to stop poverty when he's clearly not giving 100% to his trademark cause." Few people give 100% to their "trademark cause." Mr. Gore comes to mind...

Chris, he did discuss it. You might want to read a little about something before you form your opinions.

For those of you too busy to read the Salon article Joan is referring to:

When first-quarter campaign finance reports were filed with the FEC, enterprising reporters learned the Edwards campaign had picked up the tab for two $400 haircuts for the candidate. Team Edwards claimed the bills had been sent to the campaign by mistake, and Edwards personally reimbursed his campaign treasury $800. He later explained to Iowa voters he hadn't realized how high the charges were going to be, and that his staff arranged for the two haircuts in California hotel rooms to save time between campaign stops. Appearing on the nationally syndicated Ed Schultz radio show, he called the episode "really embarrassing," and admitted "no one should pay $400 for a haircut."

It's the media and Republicans (like you) that won't drop it.


No, I don't think he needs to be self-impoverished. However, considering how short a time it's been since tax day, I'd assume other folks would be leery of someone chomping at the bit to eliminate poverty in America through government interventions. I'm not saying he shouldn't be or that he's worse than any other candidate with expensive ideas that will hurt my tiny paychecks, but unless he's planning on fighting poverty with words there's gonna be some expenses and a lot of folks don't like paying money when the person preaching is giving away ball courts. Disagree if you want, but Edwards' haircut and gift ideas belong in the same category as H.W. Bush's visit to the grocery store.

And I'd tend to say he hasn't earned the money he's gotten from UNC. We paid him thousands of dollars to effectively just campaign for president. In fact, were it not for that, I'd probably still have had a favorable impression of him left over from his first run.


Forgive me, I made a mistake. That said, I keep up with the news more than most and if I hadn't heard him address it then I'd wager most other folks haven't either. Sad, but the way it is, so he and his campaign will have to deal with it.

How much do Hillary's haircuts cost?

Most folks with 'tiny paychecks' don't pay federal income taxes at all, Chris.

However "tiny" is relative to the amount of your fixed monthly expenses. Tiny in Carrboro is quite different from tiny in Roxboro.

I paid federal income tax, though I'll readily admit the real culprit is the state tax.

I can't believe I read all the comments on John's hair cuts, but I did. I think the discussion is going well.

First, to get it out of the way: I'm with Joe, also. Although with John's hair on my head I would look like Tom Hanks in The DaVinchi Code. Shudder.

I support John Edwards for President and have contributed to his campaign (small change). This was hard because I'm a Illinois native and really proud of Barach O'bama.....I hope I spelled that right.

I've seen John in person and have viewed him at a distance in town. He is a regular person, a genuine person. He has the best stance on health care and Iraq.

As of now, I don't think he'll win the nomination and I doubt he'll accept a VP run again. Too bad. Hopefully we'll continue to have Elizabeth and John as a part of our community.

"I support John Edwards for President and have contributed to his campaign (small change)."...."As of now, I don't think he'll win the nomination and I doubt he'll accept a VP run again. Too bad."


I'm glad to hear you support John because I also think he'd make a great president. But there's more than a year to the nomination and you have to start thinking (and talking and writing) positive rather than assume Hilliary or Barack have this sewn up. It's far too early to write John off.

I can see why people are making a big deal out of it-- there's nothing else to criticize Edwards about. He's been married once, seems to love his wife and family, and hasn't made any completely outrageous comments in public. So, they have to criticize his house and haircut. McCain and Guiliani have been married three times each (Rudy to his cousin once). Imagine if that was the case with any of the Democratic candidates. It seems there is quite a double standard.

He seems to have a reasonable explanation for the haircuts. $400 haircuts are out of the realm of possibility for most Americans and most people would realize how ridiculous that is. At the same time, my boyfriend's sister gets $500 haircuts every month in New York City, they don't even look that great, and her family thinks that's perfectly normal and fine. Some people won't be bothered at all by this because they do the same thing themselves. That's what Edwards is speaking of when he speaks of two Americas. I don't think that being rich means that you have to give all your money away to the poor and live like a pauper. I don't think that being rich means you can't care about the poor and their plight. But, to be rich and realize that there are people who do not have what you have and try to get that for them-- that's great.

Edwards is self-made, what everyone wants to be. That's not wrong. He can do what he wants with his money and still have his ideas for the poor and put them into action.

Edwards haircut say less about him then it does about the American voter. It's too bad that the packaging is as important as the product. We all know he'd be less electable if he wore dreadlocks. This is easy for me so say becouse I'm a guy. The nonsence women have to go through to look "profesional" in our country is a discrace. I know this even without having to walk a mile in a womans high heal shoes. The sad fact is that John Edward can't be elected without GQ style primping. I suspect it's more a cause then a symptom of the banality of our national debate.

I'll start a haircut fund for him if he publicly retracts his aggressive statements threatening to bomb Iran.

A woman sitting next to the mister in the Ed Schultz audience whispered to him that she paid $160 for a haircut once. Gesturing toward the stage, he answered, "Did it come out looking like that?"

You mean like this?

So, I just want to get it very clear, you think that attacking Iran would be a bad idea?

I think would have very bad consequences.

So when you said that all options are on the table?

It would be foolish for any American president to ever take any option off the table.

Can we live with a nuclear Iran?

I'm not ready to cross that bridge yet. I think that we have lots of opportunities that we've … We're not negotiating with them directly, what I just proposed has not been done. We're not being smart about how we engage with them. But I'm not ready to cross that bridge yet. And I think the reason people react the way they do -- I understand it, because, when George Bush uses this kind of language, it means something very different for most people. I mean when he uses this kind of language “options are on the table,” he does it in a very threatening kind of way -- with a country that he's not engaging with or making any serious diplomatic proposals to. I mean I think that he's just dead wrong about that.

So we should, first step, talk to Iran, try to open up negotiations?


Do it, if necessary, bilaterally?


You can make your donation here.

On top of Edwards trying to have it both ways on Iran, we learn that the Senate Intelligence Committee on which he served had ample proof that Bush's reasons for attacking Iraq were fabricated and he still voted endorse Bush's action. This is unconscionable.

Robert P,

I didn't realize you were a fanatic.

That is funny! Your next three paragraphs sound pretty... well you know. There just isn't any reason you should be calling people "fanatic" when you so fervently defend Sen. Edwards all over the interwebs.... Its that kind of bashing (resorting to name calling) of people further left of Sen. Edwards and other Democrats that is fracturing liberals all over American. Can we progressives just freaking stop bickering amongst ourselves for one election cycle? Please!

Not trying to pick a fight with you Robert. (much respect in your direction) Just asking for some peace on this thread. I mean damn its about the hilarity of how much someone spends on a hair cut. Sheesh.

Ah, I see Mark.
I didn't realize you were a fanatic. Edwards is not trying to have it both ways, he's trying to do the right thing. Edwards was one of a majority of Dems on the SIC that voted for that bill, he was also the only one I have heard of that was being personally advised by the Clinton senior staff - who had been in power only a few years previously and who had convinced him this was a problem.

More importantly, he has admitted that the Iraq vote was a mistake, and MOST importantly to me is that it has made him realize that running on what you believe and not what advisors tell you is the most important thing a person can do. No other candidate spent $0 on polls in the first quarter, no other candidate spends so little on advisors, no other candidate speaks from the heart no matter how it might be taken. When John Edwards wrote his NYTs editorial that began "I was wrong" it was vetted by his staff and time and time again they erased that line. And, time and time again he put it back in.

I find it unconscionable that people are living in the past, instead of voting for a man who fights to end poverty, who fights for Universal Health Care, who fights for public financing of elections. Will you not vote for Obama because of his seven "present" votes on abortion? Will you not vote for Clinton because of her stubborness on her Iraq war vote, for allowing her advisors to talk her into NOT apologizing? Or, would you rather cast a Nader vote AGAIN and cost America another 8 years of Republican leadership?

Well, the Democrats can blame Nader instead of looking in the mirror at their own tepid policies which tend to be Republican lite. They can blame Nader for their utter ineffectuality at confronting voter fraud in Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, and elsewhere. They can blame Nader because people like me (who are fanatics for peace) couldn't bring themselves to vote for war party candidates. They can blame Nader instead of examining why intelligent and involved people would support his policies.

The notion that Edwards would allow advisors to convince him to support a war that he had solid information was based on lies is very hard for me to overlook. I'm persuadable, but a simple "I was wrong" falls very short of answering the question "What transformation have you undergone since you were willing as a politician to take a stand in opposition to known facts?"

While I certainly think John Edwards has every right in the world to pay $400 for a haircut and charge it to his campaign (as long as it is clearly listed as an expenditure), I certainly have to wonder about his judgement here.

I understand that having someone come to your hotel and cut your hair is going to be more expensive than going to their shop, but $400? Didn't he realize that this is exactly the kind of thing his opponents and the media would pick up on? He can talk until he is blue in the face about issues and get no coverage, but a $400 haircut makes headlines. Unfair? Sure. Reality. Sadly yes. Remember the flak Clinton got about a $200 haircut on Air Force 1?

Edwards should have known better. And then to charge it to campaign? Again, nothing really wrong with that, but its another nail in the coffin and really fits into the "rich guy who forgot where he came from" schtick his opponents are aiming at him. Didn't some of this high-priced consultants think of this?

He should come up here to Efland next time. Frieda at the Efland Beauty Salon charges $13 and gives some of the best cuts in the county. She can always squeeze him in b/w a couple of the local "blue hairs."

I voted for Nader, and have the scars to prove it! He was the ONLY candidate on the record who stated, quite clearly, that he'd have troops out of Iraq 6 months after taking office. If everyone thinks Iraq is such a big deal, why didn't you vote for Nader? Didn't know then what we know now (really?!). Nader's crazy? (...compared to....?)

Now, what's the most heated issue of the campaign? (other than Edwards' hair?)

Ironic that the only guy who saw it coming was the one you had to write onto the ballot because the our fixation with donkies and elephants.

As for this Edwards junk about the hair, the "Indy" type newspaper in Birmingham, AL had this to say:

"It's no sin to be rich, but it is a sin to act like you're rich. In the 19th century, Thorstein Veblen wrote about 'conspicuous consumption' as a virtue, when Carnegies and Vanderbilts demonstrated their worth by showing off their wealth. But in the 21st cenury, conspicuous consumption is a vice. We expect the rich to act like the middle class, or better yet, the working class."

And that's more or less Edwards' populist message, isn't it? He can't get the nod without winning his own state. He can't win this state without reaching out across field, farm, factory, and McMansion.

I think he should get his next haircut at Friendly in Carrboro. Then, maybe I'd vote for him as the most obvious candidate for vice-president.

"We're auditioning for President of the United States... People have to see who had the judgment and the wisdom not to go to war in the first place and I made the decision not to go to war." ---Dennis Kucinich

Dan, are you suggesting that Democrats nominate Kucinich?

I think I was suggesting that Kucinich said he had the judgment and the wisdom not to go to war in the first place.

Sorry if I went to far afield. I do think Edwards has the better haircut -- but not by much.

What do you all know about Edwards early involvement with the original Patriot Act?

Maureen Dowd had an editorial on this in her April 21 column, titled "Running With Scissors."

...Even now, Mr. Edwards could get his hair cut at the Senate barbershop for $21 or the Chapel Hill Barber Shop near his campaign headquarters for $16.

Interestingly enough, Dowd actually made a call to the Chapel Hill Barber Shop to get a price quote and comment from its friendly proprietor barbers, Don and Ron. She made the mistake, though, of calling during a Friday afternoon rush, and if you've ever been to that barber shop during one of those rushes, you know how packed and hectic it can get.

Don unfortunately didn't recognize her name (or read her column), so he sort of blew her off in order to get back to trimming. He figured she was just a pesky reporter and hastily declined to comment, but he did quote her the price.

Only later when one of his customers approach him with the column clipping did he learn who his caller had been.

Dan, I did not mean to imply there was anything wrong with suggesting Kucinich as the nominee; while I don't support him personally, suggesting him as the nominee is not "too far afield" in my view, although I doubt he could win.

I meant too far afield for the "local" topic of this thread which is supposed to be Edwards' hair cut.

If it makes everyone feel better, Edwards got a fabulous $12 hair cut at Great Clips in Meadowmont last week!

Can we move on now?

Brian R. - point taken.

Well, that does it for me. I was considering supporting Edwards until I found out that he isn't even capable of protecting his investment in a $400 haircut and goes right off and alters the high-dollar coiff with a $12 job.


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