President Barack Obama seems to think that the world of politics would be better if someone like John McCain were running for the White House.

The Democratic incumbent and his re-election advisers are waxing nostalgic about the Republican senator from Arizona who lost to Obama in the 2008 presidential race. They’re embracing McCain as a reasonable voice on climate change and immigration, someone who took on extremism in his own party.

It’s all a way of drawing a contrast with Obama’s current GOP rival, Mitt Romney, and trying to convince crucial independent voters that the former Massachusetts governor is outside the mainstream.

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