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Deals & Steals

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The focus on Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin has shifted from her policy positions to her makeup and clothing purchases. (AP Photo/Sara D. Davis)

John McCain's makeup is right out of "American Idol." Running mate Sarah Palin's is so "So You Think You Can Dance" -- and so much more expensive.

McCain's September payments of $8,672.55 to "American Idol" make-up artist Tifanie White, who has also worked on the reality dance show "So You Think You Can Dance," are a drop in the bucket on the campaign's beautification front compared to the GOP vice presidential nominee.

The Sleuth has learned that Palin's high-paid traveling make-up artist is Amy Strozzi, who was nominated for an Emmy Award for her work as head of makeup on "So You Think You Can Dance." Strozzi was paid $13,200 by the McCain-Palin campaign last month alone, according to the campaign's latest financial disclosure report filed this week.

That's $4,527.45 more than McCain's make-up artist made last month. And as we mentioned yesterday in our exclusive on McCain's make-up artist, the 72-year-old Arizona senator, who has prominent scars from battling cancer, requires more work than does the more naturally telegenic 44-year-old Palin.

Strozzi, whose first name is misspelled as "Ami" in the campaign's financial report, is listed as doing "communications consulting" work. But two sources close to the campaign tell the Sleuth Strozzi is Palin's make-up artist.

They also describe Strozzi, whose resume you can view here, as "Goth" and "punk." She certainly has that flare, as you can see in this Fox News video posted on YouTube of Strozzi and another colleague working backstage on the reality dance show.

Our report on Palin's make-up artist comes after the embarrassing story in Politico that the Republican Party shelled out $150,000 at luxury stores like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue -- real regular everyday Joe Sixpack, Joe the Plumber kinda stores, huh? -- to clothe and accessorize the vice presidential nominee.

It's probably a safe bet that Palin's makeup and makeover spending sprees won't help matters in the court of public opinion.

For the first time since Palin joined the GOP ticket, more voters have a negative opinion of her than a positive one, 47 to 38 percent, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

The Politico report on Palin's $150,000 fashion makeover could raise more serious ethical and legal questions. The Federal Election Campaign Act prohibits the conversion of campaign funds to personal use. Specifically: "a contribution or donation shall be considered to be converted to personal use if the contribution or amount is used to fulfill any commitment, obligation, or expense of a person that would exist irrespective of the campaign's election campaign or individual's duties as a holder of Federal office, including . . . a clothing purchase."

Which may explain why campaign spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt said in her statement released last night that it "was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign."

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