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Michelle Obama Rings a Welcome to Biden's Wife

Michelle Obama Rings a Welcome to Biden's Wife
Michelle Obama and Jill Biden
M. Spencer Green/AP

updated 08/24/2008 at 11:30 AM EDT

originally published 08/23/2008 08:00PM

When Sen. Barack Obama told wife Michelle that he'd decided on a vice presidential candidate earlier this week, she gave him snaps – literally.

"I've stayed out of this process ... but when he told me his choice I said, 'That's the right choice.' I was like, 'Good!' " she told PEOPLE as she snapped her fingers in approval after her husband's announcement Saturday that Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware would be his running mate.

That morning Michelle Obama, 44 – sporting a tiny peace-sign pave diamond necklace – showed the same enthusiasm as she called Biden's wife, Jill, to welcome her to the campaign trail. "I just wanted to tell her we're excited and, also, anything you see that we need to be doing or should be doing, speak up – don't hesitate, because we want to get this right."

At the rally in Springfield, Ill., the two women finally had a chance to hug and get to know each other a little better – a moment that had seemed to elude them during the Democratic primaries. During the succession of debates, Obama said they hadn't had the time to get together socially.

"It's always been at debates," said Jill Biden, 57. "It's always sort of, 'Hello, how are you? How much more of these do we have to do?' But Michelle and I spent some time together this morning and we're really looking forward to being together."

Hugging her much taller counterpart, who wore sparkly silver ballet flats to Biden's strappy heels, Biden smiled. "If you think those guys have chemistry, I think we have chemistry."

Now this week's Democratic National Convention will be a family affair, as the Obamas' daughters Sasha, 7, and Malia, 10, will be joined by the Bidens' five grandchildren, ages 2 to 14.

"I can tell you the kids are gonna have a lot of fun in Denver," said Michelle Obama.

Jill Biden, a community college English teacher and Ph.D., wore her lucky horseshoe diamond necklace and expressed her own excitement for the new Democratic ticket. "I see a historic moment," she told PEOPLE. "I have goosebumps when I think of what these two can do for the country."

Reporting by SANDRA SOBIERAJ WESTFALL

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