McCain/Palin: How Close Is Too Close?

There's been an abundance of buzz surrounding Sarah Palin's addition to the Republican ticket.

And, reports CBS News correspondent Bianca Solorzano, some people are taking note of way John McCain embraces her. Literally.

They've been campaigning together across the country and, at every event, there's a possible awkward moment: Should they hug? Kiss on the cheek? "Air kiss"? Shake?

When Walter Mondale ran for president in 1984 with Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate, they never touched. The closest they got was standing side-by-side, with both raising their arms in the air as they waved.

Of course, times were different then.

But when Palin appeared with McCain at the GOP convention, she got a hug.

Etiquette experts say it was a gesture made for TV.

"What McCain was communicating through his body language to all of America," says Jodi R.R. Smith of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting, "was that he embraced Sarah Palin.

The two have hugged at many events since.

But could a warm hug get a politician in hot water?

"If his hugs are a little bit too enthusiastic," says Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn, "I think it's not going to appeal to people, and I think it's particularly not going to appeal to his wife."

Some have wondered if Cindy McCain is uncomfortable, not only with the hugs, but with her husband introducing Palin before her, as he did at the first post-convention rally, in Cedarburg, Wis., last Friday. John McCain started by sending accolades Palin's way for her rousing speech at the convention, with Cindy standing right there. Then, and only then, did he mention Cindy, and her speech top the convention -- then moved right on to his own words for the crowd at the rally.

That hasn't happened again. By the end of that first day, at another rally, McCain was already mentioning Cindy first.

"I think she and the people around her said something to him," Quinn surmises, "that he looked like he was pting Sarah Palin first, and that might not play well to other women. ... I think there was some pillow talk, and I think Cindy McCain said, 'I'm No. 1 here.' "

Now, Solorzano points out, for every hug he gives his running mate, there's a kiss for his wife.

Displays of affection in politics can easily go too far, she notes. Take, for instance, Al and Tipper Gore's long kiss on the mouth at the Democratic convention in 2000.

And this year's Democrats haven't been without their awkward moments, such as the half-hug between Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton in their initial post-primaries appearance together in Unity, N.H. in June., or Obama's kissing Jill Biden, Joe's wife, on the mouth at this year's Democratic convention.

So, says Solorzano, while the handshake hasn't gone out of style, it seems the game of politics appears to have become more touchy-feely.

And etiquette experts agree that, in the business world -- and in politics -- the senior-level employee should always initiate the contact, whether it's a handshake or a hug.

And, Solorzano concludes, when in doubt -- go with the fist bump!
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