Florida Governor Charlie Crist seized on a new line of attack against primary opponent Marco Rubio on Monday night, accusing the former Florida House speaker of having his back waxed on campaign donors’ dime. Crist said a $130 charge at a Miami salon proves Rubio is not a true fiscal conservative.
Trailing in the polls to Rubio, who has been embraced by the grassroots Tea Party movement, Crist seized on recent reports that his opponent used party funds for personal expenses. In an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Crist criticized his opponent for charging a visit to the salon to a Republican party credit card, speculating that Rubio may have also had his back waxed as part of his visit.
“The detachment from reality is stunning to me. And to try to say that you’re a fiscal conservative, yet you spend $130 for maybe a haircut and maybe other things, I don’t know what you do at a salon when you are a guy.”
Crist contrasted Rubio’s allegedly high-maintenance approach to personal grooming with his own, no-frills stance. The line of attack is likely a response to Rubio’s campaign, which has framed Crist as a moderate uninterested in fiscal restraint.
“I get my haircut for $11 from a guy named Carl the Barber in St. Petersburg, Fla., where I grew up. And to me that’s real fiscal conservatism,” Crist said.
Rubio’s camp struck back Tuesday, claiming the money was spent on gifts and that the speaker is also a man of the people when it comes to getting his ears lowered.
“He did not charge $130 for a haircut. He charged it at a barber shop, where he also purchased several other items as gifts,” said campaign spokesman Alex Burgos. “Like all his personal expenses, he made direct payments to American Express out of his own pocket. If you call Churchill’s Barber Shop in Miami, they will tell you they charge $20 for haircuts”
Rubio’s campaign also sent out a statement that called Crist’s interview “disastrously bizarre” and noted that “to Crist, being a real fiscal conservative means having the right barber.”
This isn’t the first time Crist has used his barber as evidence of his values. Carl Troup, part owner of the Pyramid Barber Shop in St. Petersburg has appeared with Crist at rallies for several years and said he doesn’t mind being referenced as part of the campaign. Crist appointed Troup to the Barbers’ Board in 2007 and even invited him to his 2008 wedding.
“Charlie’s been a friend of mine for 35 to 40 years,” said Troup when reached at his shop on Tuesday. “It doesn’t bother me one bit. I support him 1000 percent, in fact I was at a rally for him on Saturday morning.”