The high-profile White House meeting this week between outgoing and incoming presidents is being followed Thursday night by a much lower-key get-together hosted by Vice President Dick Cheney for his successor, Democrat Joe Biden.
Cheney, preparing to hand off his job as the nation's second-in-command and following President George W. Bush's orders for a smooth transition to the Obama administration, invited Biden to the vice president's residence on the sprawling Naval Observatory grounds in northwest Washington.
The meeting will be more of a social call between Cheney and Biden, though both are steeped with long histories in foreign policy and national security issues, giving them much to discuss beyond the role one is soon passing off to the other.
Cheney spokeswoman Megan Mitchell said Cheney and his wife, Lynne, have invited Biden and his wife, Jill, for a tour of their soon-to-be official residence and for dinner afterward.
Biden, a Delaware senator who has been chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has a grounding in both foreign and domestic affairs honed over more than three decades in politics. Cheney is known as a chief architect of the war in Iraq and a hard-liner when it comes to U.S. foreign policy. He also presides over the Senate for tie votes.
With no clear-cut job description for the vice president, Cheney has said the role of his successors depends on the wishes of future presidents. Cheney himself isn't sure whether future vice presidents will be as hands-on as he's been. "I'm reluctant to say it's a trend," Cheney told reporters during an interview in Israel in March. "If you look at the history of the office, it can go either way."
"You go back and look at how it's developed over the years, it wasn't until really, I guess, Richard Nixon was vice president that he even had an office downtown," Cheney said. "Harry Truman's office was on Capitol Hill."
Bush and President-elect Barack Obama held their historic meeting Monday.