President Obama offered a friendly reminder Wednesday of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's past collaboration with the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Speaking in New York at a conference for Sharpton's National Action Network, Obama recalled the liberal Sharpton's work with Gingrich, a potential Republican challenger to Obama in 2012.

"Newt said he and Al Sharpton were a bit of an odd couple," Obama said of Gingrich's past tour with Sharpton to promote the value of education.

"I don't think there's anything odd with the two of them coming together on the issue of education," Obama added.

The president's had a history of giving his possible Republican opponents a kind of "kiss of death," praising them effusively with the intention of hurting their brand with conservative primary voters.

Obama's done it in the past, praising former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's healthcare plan he installed as governor, and thanking Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman's service in this administration.

Of course, Gingrich has a history of collaborations with unlikely partners. He appeared in an ad with then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to promote environmental reform in 2008.