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Obama gets a lift in Florida
US President Barack Obama is picked up and hugged by Scott Van Duzer at Big Apple Pizza. Picture: Larry Downing/Reuters

If President Barack Obama was looking for a lift in Florida, he got one from an enthusiastic Republican.

Scott Van Duzer, a 46-year-old, 1.9-metre guy gave Obama a bear hug, raising him off the ground as Obama marveled at the man's strength.

Van Duzer owns the Big Apple Pizza and Pasta Italian Restaurant where Obama stopped on Sunday during a Florida bus swing. He also runs a foundation that helps collect blood for the ill; he has received White House commendations for his work.

As he entered, Obama admired Van Duzer's physique: "The guy's just got a big heart, along with big pecs."

Of his embrace, Van Duzer said: "I was overwhelmed when I saw him."

He said Obama had his vote.