President Barack Obama carries his iPad as he departs the Oval Office at the White House in Washington for an afternoon of golf Saturday, May 21, 2011. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) The Associated Press Possible 2012 presidential hopeful, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks to a group of small business owners on the economy during a visit to Meetze plumbing in Irmo, S.C. Saturday May, 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain) The Associated Press Former Republican Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr., of Utah sits on a Harley Davidson at a dealership as he test the waters for a possible 2012 presidential run, Saturday, May 21, 2011 in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole) The Associated Press Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks to local party activists, Thursday, May 19, 2011, in Waterloo, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) The Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — Maybe President Barack Obama and his friends got tired of waiting for the 2012 campaign to start.The early action was supposed to be in the competitive Republican primary. But the White House and its allies are meddling from the sidelines with a good cop, bad cop routine.A pro-Obama group is airing an ad in South Carolina that jabs Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.Obama praises Romney on health care issues and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman for his service as the Obama administration's ambassador to China.A safer strategy might call for Obama and his allies to stay quiet, save their money and let the Republicans bash each other. But the GOP rivals aren't doing much bashing in their slow-starting contest. So Democrats are filling the void.

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