Palin's Spending Spree Sheds Light on Campaign's Priorities

"Neither the DNC nor the Obama campaign has bought any clothing or accessories for any of the Obamas or the Bidens," said Nick Shapiro, an Obama campaign spokesman.

Democrats used news of the shopping trips to cast doubts on whether the Republicans were in touch with the real economic problems facing Americans.

"I've never heard of candidates using money from donors to outfit candidates or their families," Brazile said. "Women get scrutinized a great deal more than men and the media obsess over what women wear."

With all that added attention, female candidates project a message through their clothing, Brazile said. "Palin's style is also part of her message," she said.

Republican strategist Greg Mueller said he did not believe news of Palin's new wardrobe would hurt her reputation.

"I don't think it will have any bearing on what people think," he said. "Palin has struck a chord with middle America. She has warmed to the crowds and the crowds have warmed to her. The RNC spending money on clothes won't have any resonance beyond the Washington Beltway and the New York media."

But in terms of strategy, Mueller said that money could have been much better spent.

"I would have much rather seen this money being spent on ads," he said. "Right now we're being outspent $6 million to $85 million by the Obama campaign."

Palin's Shopping Was Legal, but Was It Practical?

Though it would be illegal, under the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law, for the campaign to pay for the purchases, it is legal for political parties to foot the bill.

"The party committee has much greater latitude," Kenneth Gross, a federal election lawyer, told ABC News.com. "I think it is permissible for the party committee to make that judgment."

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