As Jay Carney Shaves Off His Beard, 6 Politicians Whose Facial Hair Has Rocked Congress

Source: Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

So, whaddaya know: Along with Syria and South Sudan, it turns out that President Obama cares about how White House staffers wear their beards. And his administration isn't shy about expressing disapproval when beards go wrong, as in the case of formerly-bearded press secretary Jay Carney.

"The really great news is that Jay Carney got rid of that awful beard," White House communications director Palmieri announced Wednesday at the POLITICO post-State of the Union event. Apparently, Palmieri ordered Carney to shave, but it was reportedly Carney's mother who had the most influence. 

Meanwhile, presidential speech writer Cody Keenan is next on the "shift the beard" list. Maybe this is really about jealousy: after all, President Obama did once confess to only being able to grow "whiskers." But it seems beards really can make or break a politician. So let's take a tour through recent political history and check out some of the most, er, "revolutionary" ones...

Tim Bishop

New York Congressman Tim Bishop has been elected to the Senate four times. He’s big on education rights, and is proof that a nice, neat, white picket fence kind of face-thatch can only enhance your chances of being taken seriously in politics.

Ron Barber

The entertainingly-named Rob Barber — his facial hair is so neat, he could be definitely be one — was elected Democratic Candidate for Arizona back in 2012. 

Barber is probably better known for serving as district director to former senator Gabrielle Giffords prior to her assassination attempt, in which he was also injured. He’s one of those men you couldn’t imagine without a beard… It just works, doesn’t it?

Danny Davis

Democrat Danny Davis has a complicated relationship with his facial hair. 

Sometimes it’s gone, sometimes it’s there, sometimes it looks as though it’s fleeing his face. But he clings on to it, just like his Illinois seat — and his credibility, which was thrown into question by a bizarre religious ceremony a decade ago in which he crowned Rev. Sun Myong Moon the “messiah.” Don’t ask. His beard is still loyal to him.

Morgan Griffith

Virginia Republican rep Morgan Griffith is better known for his pro-gun policies than his beard. But if you’re going to play frontman on such a divisive issue, maybe he thinks he needs the facial hair to go with it.

Alcee L Hastings

The beard of Alcee L Hastings, a Democratic rep for Florida since 1993, is something else. Just look at it!

But with or without sideburns, Hastings’ beard can’t cover up the fact that Hastings is one of just eight federal officials to have been impeached and forcibly removed from office. In 1989, Hastings had to step down as a district court judge after accusations of bribery and perjury.