Palindromes: $35,000 tanning beds [UPDATE]

$400 haircuts for John Edwards? Phooey! How about a $35,000 tanning bed?

In the latest issue of Palindromes, we take a look at Gov. Sarah Palin’s penchant for perfect tans, as evidenced by her quick installment of a tanning bed in the Alaska Governor’s Mansion upon taking it over in 2007.

Narco News has the goods, and more (including an aside about the tanning industry and the negative health affects associated with the practice).

Asked whether taxpayer funds were used to equip the Alaska Governor’s Mansion for Palin’s tanning bed, Public Facilities spokesman Wetherell confirmed that the mansion’s electrical system had been upgraded early in Palin’s term. He insisted that the electrical work was not prompted by the extra needs of a tanning bed, but, rather was part of a project undertaken to bring the historic mansion’s wiring up to current building standards.

Since governors (and vice presidents) are generally expected to be healthy role models for the nation’s youth, Governor Palin’s darkening secret raises Edwardsian questions about her habit, which medical professionals and organizations have identified as a threat to public health, a cause of skin cancer, and a problem of abuse and addiction among teenagers and others through a condition that they call “tanorexia.”

Push this one as hard as you can.

[UPDATE] I just talked to Roger Wetherell, the Chief Communications Officer for the Alaska Deptartment of Transportation and Public Facilities, and the source for the Narco News post.  He confirms that Palin purchased the tanning bed in early 2007 with her own money.  “She did have a tanning bed but she but it with her own money,” he said.  “She had it installed with her own money.”

Now I want to know two things: 1) How much did it cost, and 2) How much per month did it cost Alaska taxpayers to power the thing?



  1. from (no joke, that’s really a website)

    Impact on electric bills
    While a tanning bed may be compared to a large appliance in power requirement, in actuality it will not run nearly as long nor as often as other appliances. The actual impact to your electric bill is quite minimal. Let’s look at the figures…

    SunQuest 24RS uses 12Amps on a 220VAC circuit
    12A x 220V = 2640 Watts
    2640W ÷ 100 = 2.64 Kilowatts
    The national average cost per Kilowatt Hour is around 8¢
    2.64 Kilowatts × ¼ hour (15 minute session) = .66 Kilowatt hours
    8¢ per KH × .66 KH = 5¢ per session

    i know theyre selling a product and maybe downplaying costs, but still… i think youre trying to make a mountain out of a molehill with this. as you well know, there are much better points to criticize her on.

  2. Stipulated: that the Alaska Governor installed a personal tanning bed is hardly on the level of importance of her policy stances and record in public office. But like a previous national office aspirant’s $400 haircut, it’s the sort of fact that can become emblematic of a larger narrative about inauthenticity, insincerity and overblown claims of “everyday people” street cred that have been floated by the McCain-Palin campaign about its newest member.

  3. As much as I don’t like Sarah Palin she is totally right. The danger is not in tanning but in burning. Tanning is our bodies natural defense against burning and is the only reliable source for Vitamin D. Tanning in a tanning salon helps regulate the amount of exposure in a controlled environment so you can tan without burning.


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