CHARLESTON, W.Va. - U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin's latest ad claims his wife, Gayle, has cut his hair for more than 20 years.
What the ad fails to mention is Gayle routinely receives assistance during those ear-lowering sessions.
Joe Manchin - former W.Va. governor and secretary of state, licensed pilot, Harley-Davidson rider and yacht co-owner - is a devout user of an electrically powered vacuum cleaner attachment made for cutting hair.
Yep, the senator is a fan of the Flowbee, that technological miracle and pop culture sensation.
Manchin's campaign unveiled the ad, titled "Haircut," in an email Sunday night to supporters. It was uploaded to YouTube on Monday and is running on television stations throughout the state.
"For more than 20 years, Joe Manchin has got his hair cut by the same barber . . . his wife, Gayle," the announcer says.
In the commercial, Joe sits in his Charleston townhouse kitchen, a towel draped over his shoulders. Gayle snips at his graying hair with a pair of scissors and trims the back of his neck with electric clippers. He occasionally inspects her work with a hand mirror and sometimes touches his hair as if to say "a little more off the sides, please."
"I'm Joe Manchin and I sponsor this ad because a penny saved is a penny earned," he says at the end of the 30-second clip.
"And he's cheap," Gayle adds.
The Flowbee never appears.
Was the campaign worried the as-seen-on-TV device would look too hokey for a U.S. senator? Were Manchin staffers trying to avoid a backlash from fans of the Robocut, the Flowbee's longtime rival? Was Joe just hesitant to reveal his styling tips?
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail, Gayle explained why she chose not to use the Flowbee on television.
"With a sweeper running, there would be a tremendous amount of noise," she said.
Oh. That makes sense.
Joe used to go to a real barber, the kind who works in a barbershop, when he and Gayle lived in Farmington. The barber cut Joe's hair for years and even gave the future governor a pre-wedding trim before his marriage to Gayle in 1967.
But one day the barber moved to a shop in Morgantown and Joe, then a busy businessman, found it difficult to make the drive.
"He had come to me a couple of times and I said 'Joe, I don't cut hair,' " Gayle remembers.
But her husband, a born negotiator, eventually wore her down. Though her training was limited to a few suggestions from Joe and what little she learned from watching stylists cut her own hair, Gayle took scissors to his head.
It turned out quite well.
"I am a woman of many talents, what can I say?" she said.