Cheney makes Capitol Hill rounds
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Vice President-elect Dick Cheney picked up a valuable
piece of political real estate on Capitol Hill Friday while spending most of
day meeting with key Republican power brokers.
In a move that suggests Cheney will play an active role in selling his
administration's agenda in Congress, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois,
offered the vice president-elect some of the most prized real estate in
Washington: an office in the Capitol building just off the House floor. As
vice president, Cheney will also have office space on the Senate side.
"Dick Cheney is a man of the House," said Hastert spokesman John Feehery.
"We expect him to play an active role shepherding legislation, hearing from
members, twisting arms." In the 1980s, Cheney was a representative from
Wyoming and a member of the top Republican leadership in the House.
Cheney had one-on-one meetings with GOP leaders Rep. Deborah Pryce,
R-Ohio, the highest ranking Republican woman in the House and Rep. J.C. Watts,
R-Oklahoma, the only African-American Republican in the House.
Covering all his ideological bases, Cheney also met with Rep. John
Shadegg, R-Arizona, leader of the Conservative Action Team, and with several
members of the Tuesday Group, which is comprised of Republican moderates.
"Bush and Cheney are very pragmatic, they understand that to get things
done they will need the support of the moderates," said Elizabeth Brealey,
spokeswoman for Rep. Mike Castle, R-Delaware. Brealey described Castle's meeting
as "a listening session" for Cheney, who said he would like to attend a meeting
of the Tuesday Group in the near future.
Castle has previously expressed concerns about the size of
President-elect George W. Bush's $1.3 billion tax cut proposal, but according
to Brealey, the subject did not come up in this meeting.
On the Senate side, Cheney met with Republican Leader Trent Lott,
R-Mississippi, and Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tennessee.
After his meetings with Republicans, Cheney met with Sen. Robert Byrd,
D-West Virginia, the longest-serving Democrat in the Senate.
"He was paying respects, listening and talking about upcoming
legislation," said Juleanna Glover Weiss, Cheney's press secretary.