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President Barack Obama waves at the World AIDS Day event, Monday in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats running for re-election in Arkansas, Louisiana and other Republican-leaning states faced enough problems before President Barack Obama’s popularity swooned in November. Now they are awkwardly distancing themselves from him a year before the election, seeking the right balance between independence and betrayal.

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