The next campaign e-mail practically writes itself. What better way to stop these vicious character assassinations by neocon hairstylists than by cutting Silky a check for, say, $1,000?

Why, that’ll almost cover the cost of a haircut.

The Beverly Hills hairstylist, a Democrat, said he hit it off with then-Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina at a meeting in Los Angeles [in 2003] that brought several fashion experts together to advise the candidate on his appearance. Since then, Torrenueva has cut Edwards’s hair at least 16 times.

At first, the haircuts were free. But because Torrenueva often had to fly somewhere on the campaign trail to meet his client, he began charging $300 to $500 for each cut, plus the cost of airfare and hotels when he had to travel outside California.

Torrenueva said one haircut during the 2004 presidential race cost $1,250 because he traveled to Atlanta and lost two days of work.

His thanks for this labor of Pony love?

Edwards said [recently] that he was embarrassed by the cost [of the $400 cut] and that he “didn’t know it would be that expensive,” suggesting the haircuts were some kind of aberration given by “that guy” his staff had arranged. His wife, Elizabeth, made lots of jokes at her husband’s expense and the campaign wished the whole issue would go away…

In the days after the $400 haircut first caused a stir, Torrenueva did not give many details about his client to reporters who called or came by his Beverly Hills salon. But Torrenueva says he was hurt by Edwards’s response to all the flap.

“I’m disappointed and I do feel bad. If I know someone, I’m not going to say I don’t know them,” he said. “When he called me ‘that guy,’ that hit my ears. It hurt.” He paused and then added, “I still like him. . . . I don’t want to hurt him.”