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Opinion |  Can Pete Buttigieg deliver Joe Manchin?


President Biden’s job plan could be this generation’s New Deal. Or it could be a pipe dream. As Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stand ready to fight the bill “every step of the way,” the administration may eventually have to turn to a budget reconciliation process that will rely on the support of all Senate Democrats – including West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who timidly hangs his hat on bipartisanship.

Enter Secretary Pete Buttigieg (or, as Kara Swisher calls him, “Secretary Mayor Pete”). The 39-year-old transportation secretary has become a key messenger and display for the $ 2 trillion infrastructure overhaul, leveraging the same Midwestern roots and steadfast approach that earned him a stint as the prime substitute for the Biden campaign on Fox News last year.

In this conversation, Swisher and Buttigieg poke fun at public transport, climate change, electric cars, and whether public investment will subsidize billionaires like Elon Musk or be paid for by them. Swisher also urges the secretary on his optimism about bipartisanship and whether he’s ready to bring Manchin to the table when the Republicans don’t turn around.

Thoughts? Write to us at sway@nytimes.com. Transcripts of each episode are available at noon.

Special thanks to Bryson Barnes, Ben Phelan, Michelle Harris, Shannon Busta and Liriel Higa.

“Sway” is produced by Nayeema Raza, Blakeney Schick, Heba Elorbany, Matt Kwong and Daphne Chen, and edited by Nayeema Raza and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; mixing by Erick Gomez.



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