Washington, Dec 3 : Republicans spent much of the year portraying President elect Barack Obama as a socialist and an appeaser who would kowtow to America's enemies, but have started heaping praise on his national security and economic teams and at times gushing more than even some Democrats.
The GOP is finding little to criticize in Obama's choices, defanged, in part, because the individuals Obama has appointed have rendered their earlier charges of radicalism inoperative, Politico.com reported.
Obama has, so far, tapped a range of figures who are not only ideologically moderate but are serious and respected leaders in their field.
Further, Obama has installed people who make it politically tough for Republicans to find fault. In nearly every position so far, he's named the individual who offered the least inviting target for the right. A few of them would have fit right into a McCain administration.
Republicans also say they must tread lightly for now in dealing with Obama, or risk looking like sore losers to an election-weary public. Much like his well-oiled campaign, Obama's deft moves are drawing admiration from GOP pros - only now they can say it openly, Politico said.
"Since election day Obama has been staying one move ahead on the chess board of politics," observed Brian Jones, a Republican consultant and former aide to John McCain's campaign.
"Good policy is good politics. And there is a positive political by-product that comes with the selection of these individuals," he added.
The announcement of Obama's national security team on Monday and subsequent response by the Republican National Committee crystallized the Republican challenge.
Obama's defense secretary, Robert Gates, is a being held over from the Bush Administration, where he has won almost unanimous praise from Republicans and Democrats alike.
The incoming national security adviser, Jim Jones, has been friends with John McCain for nearly 30 years, advised the GOP nominee during the campaign and even appeared with him once on the campaign trail in his native Missouri.
And Hillary Clinton, the third member of the national security team rolled out Monday, isn't any easier to attack.
She may have been the Republicans' favourite target and unrivalled fundraising draw for a decade, but Clinton was wooed more than she was whacked by the GOP since losing the nomination to Obama.