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          Front Page  news  washington

For the Record, Naysayers: Obama Loved the Beard

By Michael Coleman
Journal Washington Bureau
       WASHINGTON — Gov. Bill Richardson landed a job after all, but maybe he should have kept the beard.
    President-elect Barack Obama gave the governor's previously hirsute look a full-fledged endorsement at a news conference Wednesday after announcing Richardson's appointment as U.S. commerce secretary. The cleanshaven president-elect jumped in when a reporter asked why Richardson lost the facial hair.
    "I think it was a mistake for him to get rid of it," Obama said, seeming to struggle against cracking up over the question. "I thought that whole Western, rugged look was really working for him."
    "For some reason, maybe because it's scratchy when he kissed his wife, he was forced to get rid of it," the president-elect said. "But we're deeply disappointed with the loss of the beard."
    Richardson didn't comment on the disappearance of the beard, which he grew after ending his own presidential bid in January and returning home to New Mexico "to decompress." Although many observers seemed to like the beard, he shaved it off just before Election Day in November.