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Mitt Romney spent nearly $2K on makeup while governor
Nick Juliano
Published: Thursday July 19, 2007
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The perception that Mitt Romney is some sort of pretty-boy was burnished earlier this week when reports emerged that he spent $300 in campaign funds for makeup "consulting" this year.

It turns out Romney has maintained an expensive beauty regimen for years.

A RAW STORY analysis of Romney's campaign finance records during his time as Massachusetts governor shows he spent nearly $2,000 on makeup artists over four years. The personal-beautification spending was divided over six sessions to three separate companies. Individual makeup jobs ranged in price from $180 to $690.

After reports emerged in April that Democratic candidate John Edwards spent $400 for a haircut, the media jumped on the story. It was mentioned twice as often as Romney's makeup work in the days after each story was reported, according to a database search.

Romney himself was quick to join the Edwards-bashing bandwagon, telling Massachusetts reporters that he paid no more than $50 for a trim.

"You know I think John Edwards was right. There are two Americas. There is the America where people pay $400 for a haircut and then there is everybody else," Romney said.

Romney's first make-up expense dates back to April of 2002, when he listed a $400 expenditure on "make up for convention." It's an apparent reference to Romney's speech that month to the Massachusetts Republican convention when he was formally anointed as the GOP's gubernatorial candidate.

Three other makeup expenses were listed in early February of 2004, 2005 and 2006. Those are likely related to Romney's State of the Commonwealth addresses, which he delivered in January of each of those years. Romney was elected Massachusetts governor in 2002, and he served in office from January 2003 until January of this year.

Romney's campaign finance records were accessed through a searchable database on the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance Web site.

During his time in Massachusetts, Romney spent $1,974 to have his makeup done by three companies based in the state -- Team, The Agency Inc.; Phoebe Ramler, which is misspelled on the disclosures; and Ingrid Cordeiro. A Team representative told RAW STORY the company would not comment on its work with Romney; representatives of Phoebe Ramler and Ingrid Cordeiro could not be reached for comment.

"A make-up person was sometimes used before the Governor's major televised speeches, which is pretty much the standard for every elected official since Nixon's five-o'clock shadow incident," Romney spokesman Stephen Smith said in an e-mail to RAW STORY.

Smith was referring to the first televised presidential debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy in 1960. Television viewers believed Kennedy won the debate, a perception historians attribute to Nixon's unkempt appearance.

It is not uncommon for politicians to hire makeup artists before appearing beneath harsh television lights. Indeed, Phoebe Ramler has made up politicians including President Bush, former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, and Sen. John Kerry, according to the company's Web site. The company also has done makeup work for celebrities such as members of the rock band Aerosmith, Mario Lopez and Gene Wilder.

The Politico on Monday reported that Romney twice paid $150 to a California company that describes itself as "a mobile beauty team for hair, makeup and men's grooming and spa services."

Campaign spokesman Kevin Madden told The Politico Romney had the company, Hidden Beauty of West Hills, Calif., do his makeup before the May 3 Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. The campaign paid for a second makeup appointment but didn't utilize the company's services, Madden said.

Unlike his presidential campaign's financial disclosure, which listed the makeup services as "communications consulting," Romney's spending during his time as governor was clearly listed as "makeup" in five cases and "professional services" once.

Romney's appearance has been on his advisers minds since at least December of last year, according to a campaign document the Boston Globe revealed in February. The 77-page PowerPoint presentation said campaign aides were worried that Romney's hair looks too perfect and that he earned a reputation as "Slick Dancing Mitt," the Globe reported.

The initial report on Romney's makeup expenses generated substantial traffic in the blogosphere, with the Romney revelation garnering at least 135 blog posts. But some bloggers don't believe the Romney story will get as much play in the mainstream media as the reports of Edwards' $400 haircut, which has been mentioned more than 800 times in media reports since April, according to a search of LexisNexis.

Edwards' haircut was mentioned 44 times in the four days since it was first reported, April 16; Romney's makeup job has only received 20 mentions since it was reported Monday, according to the news database.

"I'm not going to hold my breath until the media over saturates this story to the point where close to a majority of Americans can identify Romney as the candidate vain enough to plunk down $300 for a makeover, as they have done with John Edwards and his haircut," Jonathan Singer wrote on MyDD.com, citing a Fox News poll that found 44 percent of Americans knew Edwards spent $400 for his haircut.

Conservative bloggers dismissed the story as frivolous because it is common for candidates to wear makeup on television. In a post titled, "Let He Who is Without Makeup Cast the First Stone," National Review Online blogger Jim Geraghty explained that CNN provides him with a makeup specialist before he goes on TV.

"Just about every time she finishes, I'm thinking, 'man, I wish I could have her doing this before I walk out the door every morning,'" he writes. "So I'm not gonna throw any stones at Romney over this."