Outgoing veep hosts incoming veep

Biden Meets Cheney After Countless Jabs on the Campaign Trail
November 13, 2008 7:52:48 PM PST
Days after President George W. Bush welcomed President-elect Barack Obama to the White House, the nation's top surrogate, Dick Cheney, tonight greeted his successor, Joe Biden, in a private meeting at the vice president's residence, Washington's Naval Observatory.The present and future second-in-commands, accompanied by their wives Lynne and Jill, respectively, met behind closed doors for just over 50 minutes after the Bidens, as the senator has done for 36 years, took the Amtrak train down to D.C., arriving on the Acela at Union Station just before 5 pm.

"It was a good visit," read a statement released by Cheney's office. "The Cheneys enjoyed giving the Bidens a tour of the residence and wished them well as they make it their home in January."

"The Bidens thank the Cheneys for welcoming them into their home and for their gracious hospitality," said Biden spokesperson Elizabeth Alexander.

While the statements on the private meeting were cordial, Biden has already thrown many a public jab at the man he will replace.

"The most dangerous vice president we've had" was how Biden described Cheney at the vice presidential debate Oct. 2 in St. Louis.

And again in Bowling Green, Ohio on November 1, the day Cheney endorsed Republican nominee Sen. John McCain. "Dick Cheney has been wrong on everything else the last eight years," Biden said.

In his two and a half months on the campaign trial, the Delaware lawmaker never hesitated in blasting Cheney on the stump. In fact, no sooner had Biden accepted the role of Obama's running mate then he immediately ripped Cheney in his address to fellow Democrats at the party's convention Aug. 27 in Denver.

"For every American who is trying to do the right thing, for all those people in government who are honoring their pledge to uphold the law and respect our Constitution, no longer will the eight most dreaded words in the English language be: 'The vice president's office is on the phone'."

Especially inflammatory to Biden was Cheney's claim that the vice presidency does not fall under any executive branch.

"At least I know what the vice president does," quipped Biden in Raleigh, NC, October 23. "Not with Dick Cheney. Not with vice president Cheney, who said he's not a part of either branch!"

In his Washington University debate with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Biden ripped Cheney's time in office, denouncing him as the most dangerous man ever to serve as the nation's second-in-command.

"Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we've had probably in American history," Biden said. "The idea he doesn't realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States - that's the Executive Branch. He works in the Executive Branch. He should understand that. Everyone should understand that."

"And the primary role of the vice president of the United States of America is to support the president of the United States of America, give that president his or her best judgment when sought, and as vice president, to preside over the Senate, only in a time when in fact there's a tie vote. The Constitution is explicit."

From the serious to the silly, Biden took countless shots at Cheney, at one rally even taking over Cheney Stadium, a minor-league ballpark just outside Seattle.

"I want to thank you for?temporarily changing the name from Cheney Stadium to Obama-Biden Stadium for the day," he said October 19th. "Besides, if it was Cheney Stadium, we'd be at an undisclosed location. You'd never have been able to find us!"

"Who the hell wants to be vice president?" Biden had asked at a San Francisco fundraiser just the day earlier. "We don't pay attention to vice presidents much. Especially Cheney. So you know, I've got a lot to overcome."

If nothing else, Biden's meeting gave him a chance to check out his future home, the Naval Observatory in the northwest corner of the Capital City.

On Election Day, Biden said he looked forward to moving there due to its proximity to his son Hunter's house, which gave Hunter's daughter Finnegan all the reasons she needed to want her grandfather to take over the Naval Observatory.

"She said it's a mile and five-tenths, so that was the reason to run for vice president," Biden joked in an impromptu plane press conference with Finnegan en route to Chicago. "The vice president's house is a mile and I think it was five-tenths, you said from the house. And her little sister Maisy's up there. She said, 'Yeah Pop, it's got a swimming pool.' You know, they're all the reasons, all the good reasons."

ABC News' Martha Raddatz, Jon Garcia, Vija Udenans, and Sunlen Miller contributed to this report.


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