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Revving the Engines of Bipartisanship

Biden spoke to the crowd at the reception Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Don’t be too surprised if you see a Mustang and Corvette racing around Northwest D.C ... followed by a motorcade of Secret Service officers.  

“We agreed to a one loop race around the Naval yard,” former Utah Gov. John Huntsman joked Tuesday evening, saying he challenged Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to a race to see if his Mustang could outpace Biden’s Corvette.  

Huntsman, the former GOP presidential candidate and ambassador to China, was joking but that would be certainly one way to bring Democrats and Republicans together, which was the focus of a Tuesday evening reception at the British ambassador's residence and hosted by No Labels, the organization Huntsman co-chairs that works to bridge partisan divides. More than 100 people, including Biden, federal and state lawmakers, business people and other D.C. professionals mingled in the garden of the lavish residence as part of the National Ideas Meeting Leaders’ Reception.  

“I’ve been hanging around this town, Mr. Ambassador, as a U.S. Senator for a long time,” Biden told the crowd. “And it wasn’t always this way in terms of dysfunction of American politics, congressional politics, primarily, Washington politics.”  

Biden said the two major parties, not the American people, are the causes of political division.  

“It’s not the American people who are divided," he said, “it’s our parties, and the elements within each of our parties."  

Biden was preaching to the choir though, since those at the No Labels event were committed to putting partisan labels aside.  

The guests at the reception donned their own labels, which displayed their home state and occupation.  

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., told HOH there are many issues that call for bipartisanship in Congress and can come together in times of crisis, pointing to the fiscal cliff deal in 2013. He conceded, though, that "governing by crisis” is not desirable.  

“It’s a problem," said Kinzinger. "If you’re governing by crisis, you’re still governing. Right now we’ve just had crisis, that’s about it.”  

The current crisis in front of Congress — how to confront the terrorist group ISIS — was not far from the minds of those at the residence of one of our closest international allies.  

“And I know tonight we’re here to talk about a range of issues,"  Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., told the crowd, "but I’m especially mindful that we’re here tonight, on this property, with that challenge ahead of us.”  

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