- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 13, 2014

They might not agree on much policy-wise, but former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor offered praise for Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s negotiating skills and the vice president’s ability to cultivate and maintain relationships.

“He is able to size up where the opposition is. He’s firmly rooted in his direction, what he needs to accomplish in the negotiations, and then understands how far you can push and not lose a result or a deal,” Mr. Cantor told Time Magazine. He lost a GOP primary in Virginia earlier this year and is now vice chairman at the investment firm Moelis & Co.

Mr. Cantor recalled that during 2011 debt ceiling negotiations, the vice president was instrumental in crafting spending reductions that both sides could agree to.

“Joe Biden is what you see. You know, he’s genuine,” Mr. Cantor said. “Yes, he’s prone to gaffes publicly, and he’ll admit that. He’s very self-deprecating like that. And I’m certainly not one who agrees with Joe Biden on all things — we probably disagree more than we agree — but from a human and relationship standpoint, the guy’s awesome.”

In contrast, Mr. Cantor said President Obama doesn’t have the same tenure in Washington as Mr. Biden and that he’s “very rooted” in what he wants and what he believes the other side wants.

“And that’s where the difficulty in my opinion has been with the president over the last six years,” Mr. Cantor said. “If one does not agree with the president’s view of what you want, there’s very little prospect for a result. Joe Biden has a real sensitivity, not only to human reaction, but also partisan and political sensitivities.”

Mr. Cantor said he hoped the president would engage Mr. Biden more, recalling when the vice president negotiated a deal with presumptive Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, to head off the so-called “fiscal cliff” of tax increases and spending cuts at the end of 2012.

“Hopefully, I think the president may see the light and say if you want to get a deal done, bring in the deal man, Joe Biden,” he said.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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