With an eye on the 2008 presidential nomination, the last thing Edward Johnson has on his mind are shopping lists.
Oh sure, the must have items required for every successful campaign are approved in advance by Johnson and included on his personal docket.
The list includes hairspray and makeup for those television interviews, hand sanitizer to guard against germs while greeting the public and plenty of mouthwash to keep his breath fresh from the daily ritual of kissing too much ass as he tours the country in search of support.
Johnson, however, acknowledges that he's been too busy campaigning to keep track of every single item his staffers feel are necessary for his success. So he reacted with surprise when a report surfaced on Friday that staffers have routinely purchased T-shirts on his behalf at $75 a piece.
Although Johnson says he didn't know workers were spending an excessive amount of public donations on the T-shirts, he staunchly defended the decision.
"Look, I spend a lot of my time working hard for the American people," he said, "and when I'm at work I like to dress comfortably and for me that means being in a T-shirt. Unfortunately, hard work leads to increased perspiration so my staffers were attempting to purchase the highest quality T-shirts to prevent pit stains. Who wants armpit stains on display during a campaign? If this country is serious about change, what better way is there to symbolize a fresh start then by changing into a brand new T-shirt everyday."
Johnson's chief rival, Eleanor Doyle, was quick to criticize him.
"What an absolute abuse and misuse of funds," she said. "Johnson is obviously a trigger happy glutton who is quick to spend money foolishly and with no regard. If I had just looked at his spending accounts without knowledge of who they belonged to, I would have sworn they belonged to a woman. That's how reckless they were. Does this country want a leader who wastes tons of money like a woman? I don't think so, and that's why I'm the best man for this job, er, woman."
It remains to be seen how this controversy will impact Johnson's slight lead over Doyle. The two candidates are scheduled to cross paths at caucuses next week. Voters polled by a local TV crew responded indifferently and appeared perhaps just a tad fed up by the latest bickering.
In the meantime, Johnson declined an opportunity to provide an answer when asked if he planned to direct his staffers to refrain from such future T-shirt purchases. He did promise, however, to take a closer look at what they buy for him in the future.
"This is a desperate, last minute attempt to smear my name," he said. "I will say that there are people who truly believe that if Doyle took more pride in her personal appearance like I do, she wouldn't be trailing me. They're quick to point out a need for a total makeover. But I refuse to engage in a mudslinging contest with my female opponent. Besides, that's a dangerously close way to get mud on my clean T-shirts."