A “Rubber Slipper” By Any Other Name

From today’s Honolulu Star Bulletin:

Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign is keeping the candidate away from much of the typical Hawaiian vacation imagery — hold the lei and aloha wear.

It’s a strategy that appears based on political reality, as the 50th state gets bashed on the mainland as too “foreign” to be a presidential destination.

He hasn’t worn aloha shirts, either, instead favoring his customary casual wear: solid-color shirts and khaki pants. When he weighed in on the Russian-Georgian conflict, he added a black windbreaker despite the warmth.

Then readers hear from (I swear!) the “vice president of the Association of Image Consultants International” — based in Eugene, Ore., natch — who explains:

[Obama] might not want to offer the opportunity to be classified as a beach party guy. A presidential candidate needs to convey at least some air of gravitas. We always tell clients, ‘If you want to look authoritative, you put on a jacket.’

The article goes on: “Every image counts for a presidential candidate, and his campaign handlers don’t want to give critics any photo fodder that could be used against him.”

But, wait. That picture accompanying the article? Oh dear. What is Obama wearing on his feet there? Are those…

Despite the concerns of his image handlers, Obama showed some local style when he went to a movie theater to take in “The Dark Knight” and then out to dinner. His choice of footwear? Rubber slippers.

Oh, phew. Just “rubber slippers.”

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.