Republicans were quick to attack Barack Obama's choice of Joe Biden as his running mate today, just as Biden jumped into his role of partisan attack dog during a speech in Springfield, Illinois.
But the Delaware senator, after three decades in the Senate, learned to get along with even those Republican colleagues he disagreed with so vehemently, including two from the Carolinas.
In 2003, Biden delivered a eulogy at the Columbia funeral of longtime GOP Sen. and one-time segregationist Strom Thurmond.
"I disagreed deeply with Strom on the issue of civil rights and on many other issues, but I watched him change. We became good friends; I'm not sure exactly how or why it happened. I grew to know him. I learned from him, and I watched him change, oh so subtly.
"Like all of us, he started off as a product of his time. But he understood people; he cared for them. He knew how to read people, how to move them, how to get things done."
Last October, I covered an appearance by Biden in Rock Hill. It was during the senator's own short-lived presidential campaign. When the crowd was gone, he came up to me, the only N.C. reporter there.
"Tell me one thing," he said, putting a hand on my shoulder. "How's Jesse?"
Like Thurmond, Jesse Helms was Biden's polar opposite in so many ways. But that didn't stop the two men, colleagues on the foreign relations committee, from sharing a mutual respect.
Last month, Biden was one of a handful of prominent Democrats at Helms' funeral in Raleigh.