Following Barack Obama’s historic visit to the White House on Monday, Vice President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, met with Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, on Thursday at the official vice-presidential residence, a 19th-century Victorian home on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory.
The Cheneys greeted the Bidens around 5 p.m. with smiles, despite the sharp criticism Joe Biden had for Dick Cheney during a campaign that ended just over ten days ago.
Deadeye Dick even waited outside for the Bidens. He was there with his dogs to greet them!
The Bidens and the Cheneys stood side-by-side and posed for the cameras on the front porch before retreating behind a closed front door for a tour of the residence.
They had “a good visit” that lasted just under an hour, the vice president’s press secretary, Megan Mitchell, said in a statement.
Lynne even offered her guest some snacks she had prepared!
Biden’s transition spokesperson, Elizabeth Alexander, also released a cordial statement on the meeting. “The Bidens thank the Cheneys for welcoming them into their home and for their gracious hospitality,” the statement said.
Lynne was especially proud as she showed the Bidens how she had redecorated the house.
Biden’s visit comes on the day a former Al Gore aide agreed to be his chief of staff. Ron Klain, perhaps most widely known for his key role on Gore’s legal team during 2000 Florida recount, has accepted the job, Politico’s Mike Allen reports. Klain also served as Gore’s chief of staff during the 1996 reelection.
The last time a current vice president hosted his incoming predecessor at the northwest Washington residence, it was Gore greeting Dick Cheney more than a month after a bitterly contested election.
Thursday’s meeting appeared to draw more interest than the previous transition, a shift that former Clinton press secretary Mike McCurry said could be a sign of how much the vice president’s role has changed since then.
Cheney expanded the power of the office of the vice president perhaps more than any one who had ever held the post. He had unprecedented power in the executive office, and is seen as a chief architect of the war in Iraq.
Like Cheney, Biden is known for his command of foreign policy. It’s one of the reasons Obama gave for selecting him as his running mate, so it is expected that he will be influential in those decisions. Biden, who has served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations, has also been a fixture in Washington for decades.
Nowhere has Biden been more critical of Cheney than on the war in Iraq. “He has yet to be right one single time on Iraq,” Biden said of Cheney on FOX News well before he was on the Democratic ticket.
Biden’s colorful criticism of Cheney during the campaign is another reason Thursday’s meeting had heightened notoriety. His “most dangerous vice president” line came during his Oct. 2 debate with Gov. Sarah Palin.
Before that, Biden targeted Cheney in his speech at the Democratic National Convention: ”For every American who is trying to do the right thing, for all those people in government who are honoring the pledge to uphold the law and honor the Constitution,” Biden said, ”no longer will you hear the eight most-dreaded words in the English language, ‘The vice president’s office is on the phone.’ ”
Still, Cheney promised a “smooth and graceful transition of power” in remarks on Saturday at the Virginia Military Institute. And after getting a brief tour of their new home, the Bidens will in January become only the sixth family to live in the vice-presidential residence.