After four years in which he has alternately helped -- and miffed -- the White House, Vice President Joe Biden told CNN that his role as the deal-closer is clearly his most comfortable yet.
"I have spent a lot of time in this town. And I have personal relationships with people I strongly disagree with, but there's trust. And so I'm a logical person, a logical person to, as they say or you guys say, close the deal," Biden told CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger in an exclusive pre-inaugural interview.
Biden cut the last-minute deal last month with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that averted going over the fiscal cliff -- after President Barack Obama's negotiations with House Speaker John Boehner failed. He was given the high-profile task of putting together the administration's sweeping gun control proposals and will play a major role in pushing them through Congress.
He is quick to emphasize that he was not undercutting the president when he reached deals with congressional Republicans.
"I have his complete support for what I'm saying, because I know what he wants, No. 1," Biden said. "It's the president, not me."
Obama and the vice president ran against each other for the 2008 Democratic nomination, and Biden said that helped forge a relationship.
"So when we got into this deal, we didn't have what other administrations have had, where the vice president and the president have a different take on the major issues of the day. We're totally simpatico," Biden said.
He told Borger that he never had any problem with any assignment he was given in the first term, when he was tasked with overseeing the $787 billion stimulus program, cutting several key fiscal deals with congressional Republicans once they took control of the House of Representatives in the midterms and leading the effort to end the U.S. military presence in Iraq.
In the second term, one of his major duties will be to help get congressional approval for the most far-reaching gun control legislation in decades. After dozens of meetings with more than 120 groups spanning the various issues related to gun violence, he led the inter-agency effort that came up with the specific proposals.
Biden and Obama know they will have to mount a major public relations campaign to try to overcome the strength and opposition of the National Rifle Association.