Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Richard Carmona.

AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Charlie Leight

If you haven’t heard it, you soon will.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Richard Carmona is President Obama’s “hand-picked” candidate.

His opponent, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Flake, said it on primary election night and released a web video about it. The state GOP and National Republican Senatorial Committee have begun referring to Carmona as the only candidate “personally recruited” by the President.

There’s nothing unique about Republicans trying to hogtie Democratic candidates to President Obama, his health care reform law and his ‘failed policies.’ They’re doing it across the country, including here in Southern Arizona with Ron Barber in Congressional District 2 and Ann Kirkpatrick in Congressional District 1.

It is the most-called play in the GOP’s 2012 playbook.

But only Carmona has earned the “hand-picked” label. It stems from a a much talked-about call the President made to Carmona last year.

I asked him about this in March during a sit-down interview and here is what he said:

Carmona said he began contemplating a run in the summer of 2011, and received calls from a number of people, including President Barack Obama.

“It was a very friendly call,” Carmona said. “He just said, ‘Look, Rich, we know your reputation in Washington. You’ve worked both sides of the aisle as the Surgeon General and got things done.’”

“He said ‘The system is broken, I hear you’re considering running. I hope you strongly consider it because we need people like you here. There was no arm twisting.”

“He said, ‘I’d love to have you here with me. I think we could make some changes that are necessary,” Carmona said.

Carmona said nobody hand-picked him to run for U.S. Senate, a decision prompted by his disenchantment with the lack of leadership and finger pointing and blame in Congress.

“The fact this President called me and urged me to run, I look at it as a compliment,” Carmona said. “President Bush called me a number of years ago to consider being Surgeon General. How many have two Presidents of the United States call them in their lifetime to ask them to serve their country? I look at that as a positive.”

Stay tuned to the Pueblo Politics blog throughout 2012 for news, updates and information about Arizona politics. You can follow Arizona Daily Star reporters Brady McCombs, Becky Pallack and Tim Steller on Twitter.