JOE BIDEN AND ELIZABETH WARREN didn’t know each other extremely well until March. They’d been crossing paths for well over a decade, most uncomfortably in 2005 at a Capitol Hill hearing, where they collided over bankruptcy law and the Delaware senator called the Harvard Law professor’s argument “very compelling and mildly demagogic,” and most closely ten years later at Biden’s official residence in D.C. There, the VP secretly told Senator Warren he would want her as his running mate if he ran for president in 2016. For all their mutual respect, when they finally shared a debate stage in September 2019, it wasn’t exactly chummy.
So when Warren and Biden spoke on the phone shortly before she dropped out of the presidential race early this year, there was every reason to believe it was a pro forma one-off—even after he embraced her bankruptcy policy in March, a move then widely seen as a gambit to win her endorsement and the support of Bernie Sanders voters. But as winter became spring and the primary wound down, Biden started considering the general election against Donald Trump. And the calls— iPhone to iPhone, sometimes without aides on the line—kept coming.
Plenty of Democrats close to Biden were surprised at first. Traditionally, an old school party-Establishment nominee would be expected to first reach out to the political center, not a liberal favorite known for her vision of progressive populist change.
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August 3 - 16, 2020