People and Politics by Patrick Roberts
Joe Biden saves the day for Obama in debt ceiling deal -- Vice President is key figure in deal with GOP in senate
Posted on Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 10:55 PM
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VICE President Joe Biden is seen as the man who created the breakthrough in the debt ceiling talks with the Republican Party.
Biden, the Irish American vice president, had a lengthy Senate career before taking up his present job, and has maintained close contacts with former colleagues on both sides.
Unlike President Obama, who spent only a couple of years in the Senate, Biden still has great credibility on both sides.
He conducted secret negotiations with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, with whom he has a cordial relationship, throughout the worst of the crisis.
Biden has become Obama’s go to guy in a crisis, and it didn’t get much bigger than the debt ceiling war.
The consequences of failing to reach a deal were totally unpredictable, but fears were expressed on both sides that stock prices would collapse, interest rates would rise, and the most spectacular own goal in the history of the U.S. would have been accomplished.
It was this scenario which eventually drove both sides together. And Biden and McConnell, despite all the heated rhetoric, kept their eyes on the prize.
The two men continued to meet in secret right up until yesterday when the deal was struck.
Biden’s ability to work with Republicans has made him the most indispensable person in the Obama administration on domestic affairs.
With no thoughts of the presidency himself, Biden has undertaken the toughest tasks that the Obama administration has faced.
Once again he has played a huge role in grabbing a victory from the jaws of defeat, and has helped further cement the bond between him and Obama.
In the end Obama will get the kudos, but insiders in the White House will know that without Biden no deal could have been reached.
He is friendly and gregarious, in contrast to the aloof and professorial Obama. His Irish wit and humor have managed to lighten the mood during many intense negotiations.
Dick Cheney was an incredibly powerful vice president – some believe the real power behind the George W. Bush throne.
Biden is not that, but he is a facilitator, a man who can get a deal done despite the obstacles.
Such problem solvers are rare these days in American politics, and Biden has rightly become the best-known of them.
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