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2006 8hp Merc won't idle

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My 2006 4 stroke, 8hp Merc cuts out at idle speed. Starts on 1st or second pull with choke out at about half throttle (in neutral), and I can engage the gear if I keep the choke out. No matter how warm the engine is, it cuts out if I push in the choke before engaging the gear. Once I get it going, I can push in the choke and it runs fine (8hp pushing a highsider at about 17.6 mph max, according to my gps).

The first problem I had was my fuel line had deteriorated and the engine was sucking air, and there was a small leak at the quick disconnect. This was causing a similar problem to what I've got now, in that the engine would run fine in neutral with some throttle, but as soon as I put a load on it (put it in gear) it would stall. If I pumped the bulb I could get it to run, but that got old real quick.

Any suggestions - with the understanding that I know NOTHING about outboard engines (or any internal combustion engines, for that matter)?