Charlie Crist's Barber OKs Marco Rubio's Fancy Haircut

Haircuts and back-waxes have gotten a lot of attention lately on the campaign trail. In March, the Miami Herald mocked Marco Rubio for spending $134 on a haircut at flossy-flossy downtown Miami barbershop Churchill's.

Then Wednesday, Charlie Crist took a misguided jab at Rubio's hairy back.

Who could settle this debate? Conveniently, the governor's office sent out a press release today announcing the re-appointment of Edwin Stewart Jr. as an officer on Florida's Barber's Board.

Yes, Florida has a governmental body dedicated to just man-scaping.

On Greta Van Susteren's show this week, Crist said he gets his 'hair did' with someone called Carl the Barber, who just charges him eleven bucks for a trim. Then he went off on Rubio:

He's trying to pawn himself off as a fiscal conservative. And yet just in recent weeks, two weeks ago it has come out in news accounts he had a Republican Party of Florida credit card that he charged $130 haircut, or maybe it was a back wax -- we are not sure what all he got at that place.
The point here is that the governor wouldn't be caught dead paying that much for a shave. Rubio, his argument goes, is a wasteful fancy boy.

Now, does Stewart, the governor's man on all things hair, have his back?

At the Barber's Board, settling the day's big follicular debates is not part of his job. The board, comprised of seven barbers from across the state - none from South Florida, by the by - listens to complaints from barbers who've been sanctioned by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and decides whether to renew their license.

Plus, Stewart says, they also function as a kind of lobbyist for your neighborhood barber.

For him, the politics of hair are a little more nuanced than most. He's been a licensed barber since 1964.

On principle, he agrees with the governor. Haircuts at Esquire, the Pensacola shop where he works, generally run between $11 and $15 dollars.

"We don't do hair-styling," Stewart laughs. "We're a vintage barbershop. We're a bunch of old guys, progressive but old."

But to make such a fuzz about Rubio's pricey cut strikes him as politics as usual. For starters, he explains, Rubio was probably paying for an out call, which would drive up the barber's tab.

And anyway, he's impressed Rubio took the time to find a professional to adjust his coif "so he don't look like a hick."

"He caught a lot of flack for it, but he didn't get out of bed and walk into just any barber," Stewart says. "I think that shows a certain amount of consideration for what he's doing more than him being wasteful."

Somehow, we don't see this flap going away soon. Already, Democrats have produced their own ad mocking the scuffle.

Re-appointment aside, Stewart, a Republican, hasn't made up his mind on the primary.

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Erik Maza