Democrats make positive statements about Moderate Republicans to hurt them

This pattern of "help" is becoming too obvious for people to ignore.

Democrats are hoping to put their imprint on the 2012 Republican presidential primary with an unlikely weapon: the hug.

Leading Democrats have spent the past few weeks embracing several leading likely GOP candidates and showering them with praise for holding Democrat-favored positions on an array of key issues.

President Obama credits former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with creating a model for Democrats' health care reform law that includes an individual insurance mandate.

"With a little assist from the former governor of Massachusetts, we said that health care should no longer be a privilege in this country," Obama told supporters at a fundraiser in Boston last week.

Members of the Obama administration have been praising former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman for his role as part of their diplomatic team, before he decided to call it quits to possibly run against his former boss.

"Working well with me will be a great asset" in the GOP primary, Obama joked earlier this year.

Huntsman, a former governor of Utah, favors same-sex civil unions and has supported the Democrats' effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through cap-and-trade and stimulus plan to spur economic recovery.

Former President Jimmy Carter, a liberal figure anathema to many Republicans, said Huntsman was "very attractive to me personally."

And then there's former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who drew unlikely applause from congressional Democrats last week after calling Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's controversial plan to overhaul Medicare "radical."

"Newt and I are considered political opposites, but I couldn't agree more about what he said Sunday about House Republicans' plan to end Medicare," said liberal Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, who organized a conference call with reporters to talk about Gingrich.

"It was refreshing to hear such candor from a top Republican," he said.

Democratic strategists say the public affection for Republicans is a deliberate attempt to highlight GOP moderates at a time when many primary voters are looking for conservative ideological purity. . . .



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