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Regular Joes: Biden and Manchin, whose old relationship faces new test

March 24, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 22.7%. 2 min read.

When President Barack Obama was in office and the White House needed to reach Sen. Joe Manchin, one person was always tasked with making the call: then-Vice President Joe Biden.

(CNN)When President Barack Obama was in office and the White House needed to reach Sen. Joe Manchin, one person was always tasked with making the call: then-Vice President Joe Biden.

"(Biden) was the only one who called that mattered," a person familiar with the dynamic between Manchin and Biden said, recalling the early days of the relationship between the senator and the former vice president.

Today, the Biden-Manchin relationship -- two East Coast Joes with blue-collar roots -- is one of the most closely watched in the capital and could help determine the success of Biden's agenda, if not his presidency, from voting rights to gun safety.

Biden would nudge Manchin about the legislation, but in a more fatherly way, a person familiar with the dynamic said, as Biden told him regrets about some of the steps he took in the 1994 crime bill.

Today, it is a far different moment, with Biden in the Oval Office and Manchin a centrist power center in the Senate.

Later, as Biden's first major legislative initiative -- the $1. 9 trillion Covid-19 relief package -- neared a final vote in the Senate, Manchin felt blindsided by an agreement Democrats reached to make some jobless benefits tax-free.

It was a reflection of a relationship that multiple sources said has been in a solid place since Biden took office -- Manchin of the mind that Biden is an honest broker, and Biden cognizant of the fact Manchin is his own senator and doesn't take kindly to being jammed.

But Manchin's respect for Biden burns deeply, a person familiar with their relationship said, who credits much of their current vibe to those early phone calls after Manchin was elected in 2010.

by summa-bot

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