Razor Sharp

DES MOINES, Iowa – It’s been a risky day for Mike Huckabee. First he pulled his surprise peace-declaration press conference – a surprise to even his closest aides. Then he staged a political aide’s nightmare: a shave and a haircut open to the press.

Reclining in a barber’s chair above Huckabee HQ, the governor was stuck for upwards of 45 minutes as reporters peppered him with questions about his decision to pull the ad. Had anyone been fired over it? No. Does he regret it? “I don’t know if it was the right political decision,” he said as barber Scott Sales trimmed his locks. “I do know it was the right personal decision.” When a reporter pointed out that they didn’t get all the audio from the ad, Huckabee made the point I voiced earlier: “Now you can’t say we fed you the spot so you could put it on the news.” Which is comforting, I guess. Unless, of course, he was planning it the whole time, in which case he’s an evil genius who deserves to win anyway.

Eventually the ad questions ran dry, and attention turned elsewhere. What kind of tip did Scott expect? “A good joke,” he said. “Some people say my tips are jokes,” Huckabee replied. Had he seen Sweeney Todd ? No. What are his expectations for Thursday? “A close shave,” he said.

The questioning didn’t turn ugly. But if it had, there he was, forced to respond to each and every one with nowhere to run. At one point, an aide declared, “No more questions.” No one paid attention. Close shave, indeed.

Oh, and to answer your question: The haircut cost $18, the shave was $14.