Jay Carney's new beard lights up Twitter

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White House press secretary Jay Carney debuted a new beard upon returning to the White House from winter vacation, earning comments from the press corps and the Twitterverse.

Carney joked the new look was "actually an homage" to CBS Radio White House correspondent Mark Knoller, a regular fixture at the press briefings.

Knoller took to Twitter to quip back, "Finally, I'm a fashion trendsetter."

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Carney also assured reporters that his wife — ABC News correspondent Claire Shipman — approved of the new look.

"My wife says she likes it, so there," Carney quipped.

The new facial hair drew immediate attention on social media.

A Twitter profile for the beard — @PressSecBeard — immediately popped up and drew the attention of Carney's White House colleagues.

Matt Lehrich, a White House spokesman, used the occasion to needle his boss's Washington Redskins fandom.

And Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), quickly posted an image of a bearded Hugh Jackman.

National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brad Dayspring also jabbed Carney for the new look over social media.