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Opinion: How Joe Biden's past could shape Kamala Harris' future as vice president

December 5, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

President-elect Joe Biden knows the challenges and the opportunities of the vice presidency better than any incoming president since George H.W. Bush.

(CNN)President-elect Joe Biden knows the challenges and the opportunities of the vice presidency better than any incoming president since George H. W. Bush.

Biden has said that any power a vice president has is purely "reflective," meaning it is the president who decides how much influence his second-in-command wields.

Now approaching his inauguration to the presidency, Biden seems to understand how critically important it is for him to share as much of his reflected light with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as possible.

If anyone would be open to sharing power and influence, it would be Biden, who served for eight years as vice president to Barack Obama — a leader who recognized that there are real risks in ignoring or mistreating your vice president.

"Number one, that person's being underutilized," Obama says in "President In Waiting," a CNN Films documentary on the vice presidency.

Where other men — and they've all been men — may have felt maligned as vice president, there's no doubt Harris will command respect in the Biden White House.

When I interviewed Biden for my book "First In Line," he told me that he initially turned down Obama's offer to serve as his vice president because he could not imagine working for anyone.

Biden said he spent four to seven hours a day with the president, and he was in every major meeting at Obama's request.

"It was not healthy for the president and the vice president to be seen even by the senior staff as having a disagreement," Biden said.

"(Obama) knew his presidency was on the line with bin Laden," Biden said.

"That's the job of the vice president," Biden said.

"There is only one person every four years who writes the job description for the vice presidency," said Pence in the CNN Films documentary.

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