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WASHINGTON — Joe Biden’s presence at meetings of the Obama administration’s scientific advisory council sometimes tested his staff’s patience.

It wasn’t that the vice president was unwelcome, of course. It was that Biden’s tendency to linger long after the meetings ended invariably caused scheduling hiccups. From his seat across the table from Eric Lander, then the council’s co-chair, Biden would pepper the group with questions about cancer research, climate change, and everything in between. On several occasions, Biden stayed until his scheduler was “almost tearing her hair out,” recalled John Holdren, Lander’s council co-chair and President Obama’s science adviser.

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