Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is blaming gender bias for the controversy over $150,000 worth of designer clothes, hairstyling and accessories the Republican Party provided for her and her family, a newspaper reported on Thursday.
"I think Hillary Clinton was held to a different standard in her primary race," Palin said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune posted on the newspaper's Web site Thursday night. "Do you remember the conversations that took place about her, say superficial things that they don't talk about with men, her wardrobe and her hairstyles, all of that? That's a bit of that double standard." The Republican National Committee spent about $150,000 on clothing, hair styling, makeup and other "campaign accessories" in September for the McCain campaign after Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin joined the ticket as his running mate.
News of the purchases of designer clothes, largely from upscale Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, contrasts with the folksy image Palin has crafted as a typical, suburban mom.
Palin said the clothes were not worth $150,000 and were bought for the Republican National Convention.
Most of the clothes have never left the campaign plane, she told the newspaper.
"It's kind of painful to be criticized for something when all the facts are not out there and are not reported," Palin said. "That whole thing is just, bad!" she said. "Oh, if people only knew how frugal we are."
McCain was asked several questions on Thursday about the shopping spree _ and he answered each one more or less the same way: Palin needed clothes and they'll be donated to charity. "She needed clothes at the time. They'll be donated at end of this campaign. They'll be donated to charity," McCain told reporters on his campaign bus between Florida rallies. Asked for details on how they'll be donated, McCain said, "It works by her getting some clothes when she was made the nominee of the party and it will be donated back to charity." Asked if he was surprised at the amount spent, McCain said, "It works that the clothes will be donated to charity. Nothing surprises me."
McCain offered no further comment, except to say that the Republican National Committee doesn't buy his clothes. Also on Thursday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, a private watchdog group in Washington, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Palin, the Republican National Committee and several political operatives alleging that the purchase of clothing for Palin and her family violates the Federal Election Campaign Act.
Asked Wednesday who had paid for the suit he was wearing, Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden told WSLS-TV in Roanoke, Virginia: "I pay for my suits. I pay for all of my own clothing."