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Jeff Flake, Republican Congressman Running for U.S. Senate, Playing Basketball with President Obama

As much as Congressman Jeff Flake and his supporters want voters to believe his Democratic opponent, Rich Carmona, is BFFs with President Barack Obama --  Carmona hasn't shot hoops with the prez like Flake has.

Here's a photo of Flake and Obama sharing sweat on the court.

This is funny given that, in several campaign ads, Flake sharply criticizes Carmona over a phone call -- just one call -- he received from President Obama, encouraging him to run for U.S. Senate.

From that, Flake says Carmona was "handpicked" by Obama and will "rubber-stamp" Obama's agenda. Carmona says Obama's was one of many phone calls he received and that by the time Obama called, he'd already decided to run.

However, Flake's effort to play off of anti-Obama sentiment among staunch conservatives isn't working out well.

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A poll released by Public Policy Polling shows Carmona leading Flake 45-43. Three weeks ago, the same pollsters reported that Flake was ahead by a single point.

"There's two things you have to do to win as a Democrat in a pretty Republican-leaning state like Arizona: win independents and a get a healthy amount of crossover support from GOP voters," according to Public Policy Polling's press release. "Right now Carmona's doing both of those things."

The poll shows Carmona has a 52 to 37 advantage over Flake with Independents, and he's also lured about 14 percent of Republicans into his corner.

Full poll results.

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