In a calculated move, President Barack Obama is throwing his arms around Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman Jr.

The end game: discredit two Republican presidential candidates he apparently views as viable challengers.

Under a headline of "Barack Obama loving Republican rivals to death?" Politico writes:

To listen to (Obama and his top allies) tell it, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is a health care visionary and U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman is a loyal foot soldier of the administration.

The political calculus behind that praise is straightforward: by wrapping their arms around some of the GOP's most credible and deep-pocketed potential challengers, Democrats undermine the party's attempt to win over its conservative base in the primary.