ABC News' Matt Jaffe and Sunlen Miller report: When Joe Biden and Sarah Palin square off Thursday in the vice-presidential debate in St. Louis, their much-anticipated confrontation might now be considered a cosmetic competition. So what if Republican presidential nominee John McCain chose a former beauty queen to share his ticket? Democratic candidate Barack Obama thinks he's got the best-dressed running mate around.
"Joe’s one of the best-dressed vice presidents that we’ll ever have," Obama said today at a rain-soaked rally at Virginia's University of Mary Washington.
Obama even offered Biden the chance to take off early so as not to sully his smooth, suave appearance in the pouring rain.
"You look good, though, so if you wanna cut out that’s OK," he told his running mate, who stood up and pretended to walk off the stage to the delight of the crowd.
Call it a consequence of McCain's Palin selection, call it what you will, but Biden's dapper attire has clearly caught the eye of Obama, who cited his running mate's wardrobe not once but twice in their first day campaigning together in the past month.
"One of the reasons I am so proud to be with Joe Biden, it's not just his fancy foreign policy expertise, it's not just because he’s a sharp dresser," Obama said earlier in the day in Greensboro, N.C., then pausing when he spotted some cheering ladies in the audience.
"I noticed a lot of women have been talking about Joe lately," said the Illinois lawmaker. "I noticed that. See, these girls right here!"
Not passing up any opportunity to jump on a moment of jest, Republicans promptly hit out at Biden's biggest fashion fan.
"Obama’s statement that Biden is the best-dressed senator answers a lot of questions," said Republican National Committee spokesman Alex Conant. "Why else would Obama choose a running mate who recently called him unprepared to be president, slammed his votes to cut funding for our troops, and said he’d be honored to run on McCain’s ticket?"
Biden spokesman David Wade in turn, quipped, "600,000 jobs gone in 2008, eight straight months of job loss, the highest unemployment in seven years, more home foreclosures than at any time since the Great Depression, and I'd wager John McCain's nicest pair of $500 loafers that finally the Republicans think they've found an issue that will really resonate on Main Street: Joe Biden's clothes. But you can blame John McCain for being a little peeved -- after all, just imagine the pressure to choose which suit to wear from among your dozens of closets in your seven homes."
"All right, its just trickling down a little bit here," noted Obama as the northern Virginia showers intensified. "That’s OK, I’m gonna have to get my dry cleaning going, too."
Or maybe just have his GQ running mate accompany him on a shopping spree...