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Vernon Jordan leaves his home in D.C. in 1998. Photo: Khue Bui/AP

Vernon Jordan, a civil rights champion in the segregated South who became a political and corporate power broker, has died at 85.

  • I got to know Jordan in 2015 when I was the Bloomberg News reporter covering President Obama's vacation to Martha's Vineyard, where Jordan summered and played golf with Presidents Clinton and Obama.

Here's the backstory about a profile I wrote on his 80th birthday, and the window I gained into an incredible American life:

  • I started reaching out to a bunch of CEOs and two things happened: Nobody didn't return my call. And everybody had an incredible story to tell about how he plucked them out of obscurity or helped them when they really needed help or connected them to a million people.
  • I talked to so many people that he had to talk to me. He invited me to the farm where he and his wife, Ann, stayed. He had this spread — warm biscuits and blueberry jam. We must have had a three-hour breakfast.

We stayed in touch, and if we hadn't talked in a few months, he'd call and say, in his Vernon Jordan voice of God: "Why hast thou forsaken me?"

  • He'd invite me to breakfast and we'd almost always do it at the Four Seasons in Georgetown. He had his table in the back by the window, and there was a special menu item named for him — shrimp and grits. 

In 2018, we took him a bottle of wine between Christmas and New Year's.

  • He was working on a eulogy for somebody — he spent the last years of his life writing a lot of eulogies.

Vernon set such a good example for how you can take care of people and check in on people.

  • He would take women and people of color and elevate them, and put them on people's task forces and boards and agendas.
  • When he got in his head that he wanted to help somebody, he was just very deliberate and relentless.

Go deeper: Vernon Jordan's life.

Go deeper

Civil rights leader and Bill Clinton adviser Vernon Jordan dies at 85

Vernon Jordan. Photo: Andy Kropa/Getty Images

Vernon Jordan, the Civil Rights Movement pioneer who served as a close adviser to former President Clinton, died on Monday evening, CNN reports. He was 85.

Why it matters: The former National Urban League president was influential in American politics — from his service in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s civil rights conference to his position in leadership at the NAACP.

Several states declare emergency over Colonial Pipeline shutdown

A sign warns consumers on the avaliability of gasoline at a RaceTrac gas station in Smyrna, Georgia, on May 11. The average national price of gasoline has risen to $2.985 a gallon, Bloomberg notes. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images

Reports of fuel shortages across the U.S. emerged on Tuesday as the national average for gasoline prices soared to its highest level since 2014 amid a key fuel pipeline shut down, per Bloomberg.

What's happening: Operator Colonial Pipeline aims to have service restored by the week's end following last Friday's ransomware attack that shut down some 5,500 miles of pipeline from Texas to New Jersey. The governors of Florida, Georgia, Virginia and North Carolina declared states of emergency Tuesday due to shortage concerns.

Reports: More than 100 Republicans threaten to form 3rd party over Trump

Former President Trump addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, in February. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

More than 100 Republicans will sign a letter Thursday threatening to create a third party if the GOP doesn't "break" with former President Trump, Reuters first reported.

Why it matters: Per Axios' Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei, Trump's grip on the GOP has gotten stronger since the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The Republican Party's "allegiance to Trump" as he continues to make false claims about his 2020 election loss has "dismayed" the group, according to Reuters.