WASHINGTON — It was all going according to President Biden’s tightrope plan to pass the most ambitious economic agenda in generations. Right until the moment that Mr. Biden, a politician with a history of rogue comments, veered off script.

After weeks of closed-door negotiations, Mr. Biden strode to the cameras on the White House driveway on Thursday, flanked by an equal number of Democratic and Republican lawmakers, to proudly announce an overall infrastructure agreement totaling $1.2 trillion over eight years that could cement his legacy as a bipartisan deal maker.

Mr. Biden and his top aides had successfully struck a limited agreement with key centrist senators to rebuild roads and bridges while carefully signaling to liberals that he still intended to embrace a measure — likely to gain only Democratic support — to spend trillions more on climate, education, child care and other economic priorities. It was an “I told you…

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