That July meeting ended up being just what the two needed. “That was good,” Reid would tell his chief of staff, David Krone, who’d been waiting outside with top White House aide Rob Nabors. It helped lay the groundwork for what would be a critical — and fruitful — political partnership during the high-stakes budget fights this fall.

Each more mindful of the other’s strategic vision, Reid and Obama made a mutual commitment to legislative stubbornness. A week after the meeting, Reid threatened to gut the filibuster if Republicans didn’t let through a slate of executive nominees. Republicans caved. Looking forward, the two vowed to steadfastly oppose any effort to tinker with the president’s health care law as part of a continuing resolution to keep the government running. And when it came time to raise the debt ceiling weeks later, they would refuse to negotiate altogether.

Through the first government shutdown in 17 years and a near-breach of the nation’s debt limit, they followed this playbook until it ultimately resulted in a Republican collapse.

“We just both came to the conclusion that the time had ended to be taken in by these crazy people,” Reid said. “The president said, ‘I’m not going to negotiate.’ I said, ‘I’m not going to negotiate.’ And we didn’t.”