Romney, Daniels feel 'death hug' on their healthcare records

President Obama and his liberal allies tried to kill some of Republicans' top presidential candidates with kindness on Thursday.

The president had fun at former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's (R) expense last night during a fundraiser in Boston, while a liberal group had kind words for Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R).

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Obama renewed his praise for the healthcare plan Romney installed as governor, jokingly thanking Romney for laying the groundwork for the national healthcare law Obama passed, which conservatives detest. That sort of political maneuver has colloquially become known as a "death hug" for the frequency with which Obama and his allies have used it against Republicans.

"With a little assist from the former governor of Massachusetts we said that healthcare should no longer be a privilege in this country," Obama said to laughter and applause at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Boston. "We said that in the United States of America, just like here in Massachusetts, you should never go broke because you get sick."

The similarities between the healthcare plans of Obama and Romney are seen as the greatest obstacle to the latter's ability to win the Republican presidential nomination. Romney embraced the plan in a major speech last week, saying he was "proud" of what he sought to accomplish in Massachusetts; he said it would be "dishonest" to disavow the plan.

Meanwhile on Thursday, one of the new liberal groups to pop up to defend Obama's healthcare law lauded Daniels for their "agreement" on healthcare.

Protect Your Care launched online ads in Iowa and New Hampshire — two states key to winning the GOP nomination — and Washington, D.C., casting Daniels as divorced from the Tea Party when it comes to healthcare, and as another Republican who, like Romney, crafted a healthcare law similar to Obama's.

"Gov. Daniels could be another welcome adult voice in the health care policy debate. While Gov. Daniels has certainly used a lot of the 'correct' language for the far right, when push comes to shove on actual policy, his administration in Indiana has been pretty good at helping to implement the Affordable Care Act," said Eddie Vale, a spokesman for the group. "Daniels's assistance in implementing the Affordable Care Act is especially welcome when contrasted with the actions of Govs. [Rick] Perry [Texas], [Rick] Scott [Fla.] and [Bobby] Jindal [La.] to block it at behest of the Tea Party."