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Biden, Huntsman praise bipartisanship at No Labels

Vice President Biden has an “outrageous” confession: he has pals on both sides of the aisle.

“I’m going to say something outrageous,” Biden told a group of leaders from the nonprofit No Labels, “I have as many Republican friends as Democratic friends.”

The VP made a surprise appearance at the organization’s Tuesday kick-off event held at the British ambassador’s residence in Washington.

{mosads}The gathering by No Labels — which describes itself as a “national movement of Democrats, Republicans and independents dedicated to a new politics of problem solving,” — came ahead of a meeting to craft a “National Strategic Agenda” to be unveiled next fall in New Hampshire and Iowa. Former governor and GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) serve as the group’s honorary co-chairmen.

“I have been hanging around this town for a long time, and it wasn’t always this way in terms of the dysfunction in American politics, congressional politics primarily, Washington politics,” Biden told the bipartisan crowd.

Biden, who served seven terms in the Senate, placed blame on Washington gridlock on lawmakers, saying,  “I hear people talking about how the American people are polarized. The American people aren’t polarized. There is still consensus in America. The parties have become polarized, absolutist.”

“What we change is not in the rules of the Senate or the House. What will change is the system will change. The American people — it may not be this year or next year — but they will in the near term throw those people out in both parties who disdain the notion of consensus,” Biden predicted as Huntsman, Manchin and other political leaders looked on.

On Wednesday, No Labels announced its support for the creation of a Congressional Problem Solvers Caucus. Co-chaired by Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-Oreg.) and Reid Ribble (R-Wisc.), the caucus touts its mission as a “first of its kind forum for members to develop innovative bipartisan policy solutions to key national challenges.”

Also eyed at the Tuesday reception: Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Ami Bera (D-Calif.), Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), Kurt Schrader (D-Oreg.), and Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.).

Tags Joe Biden Joe Manchin Jon Huntsman No Labels
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