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Putin hearts Obama?

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's getting a lot of ink tonight for hinting -- yet again -- that he'll make a bid for the presidency in 2012. Citing the late Franklin Delano Roosevelt's four terms as a model, Putin said there would be nothing illegal about running for a third presidential term after Dmitry Medvedev's term expires -- though he didn't say he wanted the job. (Last week Putin said he was "bored" by foreign policy, which falls under the president's formal authority.)

But that wasn't the most interesting thing Putin said Monday, speaking before a crowd of Russian and Western policy wonks in the resort town of Sochi. He used the occassion to issue a rare shoutout to Barack Obama,  calling the U.S. president a "deep, profound person" and saying the two men had "similar perspective on global problems."

"Probably this is the best prerequisite for a higher level of relationship with the United States," he added.

As the Wall Street Journal notes, that's a far cry from last year, when Putin reportedly harangued Obama during an unpleasant "working breakfast" in Moscow.

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