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October 25, 2014

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The Policy Racket

Harry Reid returns favor as Manny Pacquiao visits Washington

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AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid talks with Filipino Congressman and eight-time world champion boxer Manny Pacquiao on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011.

Pacquiao goes to Washington

Boxing superstar and Filipino Congressman Manny Pacquiao poses in front of  the Senate Building on Capitol Hill after meeting with Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) today in Washington D.C. as part of a goodwill tour February 15, 2011. Launch slideshow »
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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., left, walks with Filipino Congressman and eight-time world champion boxer Manny Pacquiao on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011.

WASHINGTON - It's official: Pacquiao fever has taken over the country.

The fervor over the Filipino boxer-turned-politician's return to the ring this May at the MGM Grand has trickled all the way to Washington D.C., where Manny Pacquiao is spending the day sidling a stride across the Senate floor and into the White House.

First stop: with fellow (former) boxer, Harry Reid. Pacquiao is an old friend of the Reid campaign, having helped the majority leader campaign for re-election a few months ago in Las Vegas, in the final week before Election Day.

Now, in a way, it's Reid's turn to campaign for Pacquiao - whose official purpose in making the visit to D.C. is to promote the boxer's upcoming fight.

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Sen. Harry Reid and boxer Manny Pacquiao sign autographs Friday at Orr Middle School in Las Vegas on Oct. 29, 2010.

"He and I come from opposite sides of the globe. But in our hearts, we come from the same place," Reid said, adding that he was sure he wouldn't last more than a few seconds if left in a ring with Pacquiao, an eight-time world champion.

Reid spent more time stressing Pacquiao's other accomplishments, however: those as a humanitarian, campaigning against human trafficking, and those as a representative, helping his rural province of Sarangani in the Philippines.

“He knows it’s not enough just to fight for yourself ... or to be a world champion many times over," Reid said. "You have to be a champion for others.”

But the meeting with Reid is hardly the highlight of the trip for Pacquiao, who blew his own press cover in an excited outburst a few days ago, when he prematurely announced he was going to get to meet President Barack Obama.

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