- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 22, 2007

Al Gore’s got hair transplants, Rudolph W. Giuliani needs them, and Mitt Romney’s got a dye job. And forget campaign promises — the Democrats could win the presidential election in 2008 by virtue of their splendid hairdos, at least according to Dr. Jon Gaffney, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, hair-loss specialist to the stars and medical scion of the Hair Club for Men.

He has analyzed the scalp factor of potential White House contenders for better or worse. Not all hair is presidential.

Earth may be losing its ozone, but Mr. Gore — flush with his global-warming appearance on Capitol Hill yesterday — has lost something, too. Whether he’s running for office or not, the former vice president has “beefed up” his thinning hair, Dr. Gaffney surmised.

“He’s doing something there,” he said. “He’s either covering it with something, or he’s had transplants. His hair got thick pretty fast.”

And Mr. Giuliani? The former New York mayor needs help, apparently. Soon.

“Giuliani’s thick, coarse hair on the sides and back make him an ideal candidate for a transplant,” Dr. Gaffney advised. “And if he gets one now, his hair will have had plenty of time to grow in before the Iowa caucuses.”

The lilt of a curl — or lack of it — resonates in the political arena.

“We make instant judgments based on the way someone looks. Now, more than ever, how someone looks matters as much as what someone has to say in a presidential campaign,” said Christophe, the Beverly Hills uber-stylist who has shorn the locks of the nation’s well-tressed elite, including a much-covered airport-delaying coif for President Clinton aboard Air Force One.

“A president must look the part, and his or her hair must be impeccable and reflect what we expect from our leaders in a media-centric world,” he said.

Partisan hair makes news. Democratic contender John Edwards was designated the “Breck Girl” by gleeful critics in 2004, based on his lush locks, coy bangs and a pirated video recently showcased on YouTube.com. Mr. Edwards is seen fussing with his hair, to the tune of “I Feel Pretty.”

Mr. Romney has been splitting hairs over, well, hair as well. An internal campaign document, the Boston Globe recently revealed, parsed out the possibilities that the former Massachusetts governor’s hair was actually too perfect, and thus a voter liability. Still, he gets the highest marks from Dr. Gaffney.

“Romney’s got the best hair of the major candidates. He appears to be coloring it some, but it’s all his,” he said.

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, meanwhile, could use “a transplant where we could design a hairline commensurate with his age,” Dr. Gaffney said. “We could put hair back on top of his head without making it look like he was trying to look like a 30-year-old.”

Oddly enough, Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat, could do with less hair.

“He’s got a pretty youthful look right now and losing a little on top might make him look a little older,” Dr. Gaffney suggested.

Mr. Obama’s Democratic rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York may have other hair issues, though.

“She’s got ‘MHTG’ syndrome: ‘more hair than God,’ ” Dr. Gaffney said.

He ultimately concluded, “The Democrats win by a hairline.”

There’s some bald truth about this meanwhile. Voters may be on a hair trigger. A 2004 survey of 1009 adults by Opinion Research Corp. found that the majority favored President Bush’s hair over John Kerry’s hair, 51 percent to 30 percent.

Political hair obsession is not strictly an American phenomenon, either. Last week, Britain’s Tory leader David Cameron garnered considerable press after changing the part in his hair from right to left.

“There is no political significance in his decision to do so,” a spokesman told the Daily Mail.

In 2002, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder sued DDP, a German news agency, for claiming he dyed his bristled hair from snowy white to a youthful brown. He won in court.

“Anyone who insinuates that I dye my hair insinuates that I always lie,” Mr. Schroeder said at the time.

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