November 2nd, 2011
11:40 AM ET
Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, are hosting House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and his wife, Diana, for dinner tonight.
It may seem like an unusual double date. Cantor has often been a thorn in the White House's side, pulling out of "the Biden talks" on deficit reduction in June to leave negotiations on raising the debt ceiling to President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner. Those negotiations ultimately failed to reach a "grand bargain" to reduce the deficit by several trillion dollars over ten years.
But the two have genuine affection for each other, Democratic and Republican sources say, much to the bewilderment of some White House aides I've spoken to.
"The Vice President and Congressman Cantor have developed a close relationship while working together over the past year," an official in the Vice President's Office says. "This dinner with their wives is a personal occasion."
"Leader Cantor has a great respect for and built a friendship with Vice President Biden from their work together this year," a source in Cantor's office says. "This social dinner is a continuation of that friendship with their wives. They've been trying to get together for some time."
The four will dine at the Vice President's official residence on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory.