Michelle Obama, Ann Romney

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney weren't the only ones who had to plaster smiles on their faces and feign, er, show appreciation for each other.

Their respective better halves, Michelle Obama and Ann Romney, shared a handshake and quick embrace tonight in Denver before the first of three scheduled presidential debates got underway, both of them smiling politely through the awkwardness.

Though their politics diverge, both women went the conservative route, fashion-wise: The first lady, who's usually one for dresses and coordinated but not matchy-matchy separates, opted for a royal blue skirt and jacket over a printed silk blouse, all by British design house Preen.

Her aspiring successor, meanwhile, wore a cream-colored suit and accessorized with a strand of pearls.

After exchanging pleasantries, it was time to watch their husbands get down to business—which, for Obama, included a shout-out to Michelle on the occasion of their 20th anniversary.

"I just want to wish, you, sweetie, happy anniversary," the president said. 

"I'm sure this is the most romantic place you could imagine, here with me!" Romney joked.

Both candidates landed a series of blows—time will tell just how much damage one inflicted on the other—in their first head-to-head bout, but at least they could retreat to the loving arms of their wives afterward.

"I simply couldn't be prouder of my husband tonight. –mo," Michelle tweeted.

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