Beard watch '08: Obama "disappointed" in shorn Richardson
During this morning's announcement of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as Barack Obama's pick for secretary of Commerce, a reporter asked the president elect's opinion about the apparently (we caught it all on the radio) clean-shaven Richardson's decision to shave the Al Gorian exile beard he'd been sporting since dropping out of the primary race.
"I don't know what happened," Obama responded. "The western rugged look was really working for him ... I'm deeply disappointed in the loss of the beard."
Good to know our future commander-in-chief is not a pogonophobe (you don't know how long I've waited to use that word ...), but could he actually be, gulp, pro-beard?
Sure, it could have been just one of those throwaway comments a not-yet-president can make with the oath of office more than a month away, but coupled with his attorney general pick of mustache-sporting Eric Holder, maybe it subconsciously signals some kind of a tonsorial tipping point. Is a full-blown facial hair revival possible? Could the subtext be that beard-backing is actually patriotic? Let's see: In addition to Uncle Sam, who is often depicted with a beard, Abraham Lincoln had one -- the first bearded U.S. president apparently grew his after the election of 1860 and before he was sworn in, which was a little easier since Inauguration Day in 1861 was two months later. (For the record, the last U.S. president to sport facial hair was the mustachioed William Howard Taft).
Perhaps in honor of our beard-loving future president, the men of America should put down our five-bladed Fusion and step away from the Barbasol and go au naturel at the neck from now until Jan. 20.
And just maybe ZZ Top can be persuaded to perform at the inaugural ball.
-- Adam Tschorn
Photos from top: A bearded New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson addresses the 2008 Democratic National Convention in August. Credit: Tannen Maury/EPA. Middle: Mustachioed attorney general pick Eric Holder at a Dec.1 news conference. Credit: Scott Olson / Getty Images. Bottom: ZZ Top members Billy Gibbons, left, and Dusty Hill at a 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony. Credit: AP