It's not what to wear if you want Schwarzenegger's job

Note to America's political class: if you are thinking about trying to court blue-collar voters, think twice before parading around in a Burberry coat that probably cost more than one of their family cars.

That, at least, is the latest lesson learnt by Meg Whitman, the wealthy former eBay chief. In a bid to drum up support, as she tries to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor of California, she spent Sunday at a Nascar racing event at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana on the outskirts of Los Angeles.

To the amusement of onlookers, Ms Whitman chose to protect herself against the cold with a pristine, dark brown Burberry jacket – a garment at odds with the typical stock-car racing fan's wardrobe of oil-stained baseball cap, vest and a can of Budweiser.

A spokesman for Ms Whitman's rival Republican Steve Poizner duly tried to make political capital from the faux pas by emailing reporters with a brilliantly petty statement: "Let's say you are an out-of-touch billionaire running for governor and everyone is accusing you of trying to buy the election," it read.

"You need to show that you are in touch with regular working people, so you go to a Nascar race on a Saturday night. But was that a Burberry coat that Meg chose to wear to Nascar? Isn't that against some kind of unwritten rule?"

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