Coming out of one of the most brutal stretches of partisan warfare in recent memory, House GOP leaders are pushing a definitive — and surprising — shift in how they deal with a president they’ve so often publicly skewered during the previous 2½ years. The plan is to let Obama’s policies stand on their own, refrain from personal attacks and try to highlight areas where they might find common ground…

t’s a tactical 180-degree turn for the conservative and combative House Republican Conference, which had thrived on the daily partisan warfare with an increasingly unpopular Obama. But as their poll numbers have fallen following the ugly debt-limit battle, Republicans now need to rehabilitate their own image while the president flounders. Yet it remains to be seen whether Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor will get buy in from their rambunctious young majority…

One GOP leadership aide put it more bluntly: “The guy is already sinking; we don’t need to throw him an anvil.”

However, there are limits to how far GOP leaders can control its tea-party-inspired freshman class and junior lawmakers.