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Cut costs cut

| Sunday, April 22, 2012, 12:26 p.m.

For John Edwards , it's the unkindest cut of all.

During his failed 2008 presidential bid, Edwards was ridiculed for his pricey $400 haircuts. The former U.S. senator of North Carolina now gets his locks shorn for the more modest price of $12.95 at a Raleigh Supercuts, according to the New York Post.

"We just talked about his hair," a Supercuts stylist named Leah told the newspaper.

When he was running for president, Edwards relied on Beverly Hills stylist Joseph Torrenueva , who charged $300 to $500 for each cut, plus airfare and hotel expenses when he had to travel outside California.

But Edwards has had to cut back on hair-care costs to pay for his legal defense. He's facing a possible 30-year federal prison term for allegedly misusing $1 million in campaign contributions when he ran for president, including donations from Rachel "Bunny" Mellon , the 101-year-old widow of the late Pittsburgh banking magnate Paul Mellon .

We're convinced Edwards vainly and dramatically overpaid for his haircuts when he was on the campaign trail. Look at pictures of his hairdo in 2008 and 2012. Can you see much difference between the cuts done by Torrenueva and Leah?

Neither can we.

'BOWZER' SINGS CRITZ'S PRAISES. U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire doesn't appear to stand a chance.

Not after U.S. Rep. Mark Critz , his opponent in Tuesday's primary for the Democrat nomination in the recently redrawn 12th Congressional District, unleashed a formidable campaign weapon last week.

Critz, of Johnstown, announced that Jon "Bowzer" Bauman , the former T-shirted "greaser" in the legendary doo-wop group Sha Na Na, would campaign on his behalf. Bauman also campaigned for Critz before the 2010 special election to fill the seat of the late Rep. John Murtha .

Can Altmire, of McCandless, quickly counter by convincing someone such as legendary Western Pennsylvania disc jockey Porky Chedwick to jump on his bandwagon? If not, he probably is in trouble come Tuesday.

ALTMIRE ALIENATES COLLEAGUES. Altmire is making no friends on Capitol Hill with his attack ads targeting Critz, according to the Washington, D.C., newspaper The Hill.

Altmire bucked Democrat House leadership with his April 2011 vote against a conservative budget proposal. Critz joined a majority of Democrats in casting a tactical "present" vote on the plan, which is cited in Altmire ads accusing Critz of failing to stand up to the tea party.

The Hill reported a number of senior Dems are angry over the ads. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland issued a statement defending Critz on the vote, while Reps. Bob Brady of Philadelphia and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois held a conference call defending him.

Even though it's spring, Altmire might find it a bit frosty when he returns to D.C. following the primary.

ANTI-SCHMOTZER SENTIMENT. It's not a picture you would have expected to see three years ago.

A photo of Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak with former political foe Anthony Coghill was printed in the most recent campaign flier for 22nd Legislative District candidate Erin Molchany . Coghill, you might recall, was one of the candidates Rudiak defeated in the 2009 Democrat primary on her way to capturing the council seat.

Have Rudiak and Coghill buried the hatchet? We're not sure. But we are certain that Coghill isn't fond of Martin Schmotzer , Molchany's opponent in Tuesday's Democrat primary.

Coghill and Schmotzer recently got into a verbal altercation at Mt. Washington's Le Mont restaurant, where both were attending a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle , D-Forest Hills.

DUAL DOYLES. In case you were wondering, the aforementioned Doyle is not looking to trade a job in Washington for one in Harrisburg.

True, a Mike Doyle is seeking the Republican nomination for the 22nd District state House seat held by Democrat Joe Markosek of Monroeville. But that Doyle is borough council president in Plum, not a congressional incumbent.

Hope that clarifies things.

REPUBLICAN RUSH . It used to take years to find Republicans to run for some Westmoreland County row offices.

But the 2011 GOP rout in such elections has changed that.

Former newspaper reporter Jordan Frei has announced his intention to run for prothonotary in 2013 against first-term Democrat Christina O'Brien .

Frei, 39, of Stahlstown, works as an aide for state Rep. Mike Reese , a Mt. Pleasant Township Republican. Frei formerly toiled as a scribe at The Latrobe Bulletin.

RESTITUTION TASK. Westmoreland County Clerk of Courts Bryan Kline was recently appointed to a statewide task force studying how to improve the restitution process for crime victims.

"I have made it my No. 1 goal of restoring restitution to the victims of crime since I was elected and I will continue to do so," Kline said.

He was recommended for the study group --- which will submit a report to the Legislature, courts and Gov. Tom Corbett -- by the aforementioned state Rep. Mike Reese.

The project is funded through a grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

GATHERING NO MOSS. The Westmoreland County tea party is not wasting any time in its planning for the Nov. 6 general election.

The group's organizers have scheduled a gathering in Greensburg's St. Clair Park for Saturday -- just four days after Tuesday's primary. Gates open at 10 a.m.

-- compiled by Tribune-Review staff

Have some dirt to dish? A tip to flip? Email the intrepid Whispers desk at: whispers@tribweb.com.

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