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The "Joe Effect"

(CBS)
From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:

(DETROIT) Having Joe Biden around on the campaign trail for two days has had a noticeable effect on Barack Obama.

Obama's running mate seems to add a certain energy and feistiness to the usually serious candidate. For starters, Biden often comments on his wife's appearance, often calling her "drop dead gorgeous," etc. Well, today, as the Bidens and Michelle Obama sat by his side, Obama called Michelle "cute."

"Michelle decided she wasn't going to speak today. She just wanted to sit there and look cute," Obama said quite possibly to his wife's chagrin.

Although the crowd cheered and laughed, Michelle probably cringed because earlier this week she got in trouble for calling Palin "cute."

"People shouldn't make a decision based on "I like that guy" or you know "she's cute," Michelle told a small group of supporters.

Yesterday, Obama talked described Biden as a ladies' man and even called him "best dressed" – which the Republican National Committee was quite happy to pounce on.

Although he doesn't need a lot of motivation to blast John McCain, Obama ratcheted up his rhetoric today. He joked that even a fifth grader would know that McCain will be an extension of the Bush Administration and that his response to the economy was "Katrina–like."

"His first response to the greatest financial meltdown in generations was a Katrina-like response. Sort of stood there. Said the "fundamentals of the economy are strong," Obama said. "That's why he's been shifting positions these last two weeks, looking for photo-ops, trying to figure out what to say and what to do."

Biden's more matter-of-fact manner of speaking and fiery tone were seen as a liability when Obama picked him as his running mate. But, 37 days after they stood together as running mates for the first time, it may very well be an asset, judging by Obama's performances when they're together.