Former Vice President Dick Cheney dropped in for a visit to the weekly Senate GOP luncheon, recalling a time when the then-veep was a regular fixture at the Tuesday noon-hour event.
In those days, Cheney’s presence was seen by critics as an example of the President George W. Bush administration’s influence over the legislative branch, even though Cheney usually sat quietly at the lunch.
The weekly policy gatherings are a mainstay in the Capitol, a chance for senators to sound off, privately and within their own party, on issues of the day. It is also a chance for leaders to assess mood and set strategy.
Once President Obama took the White House, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made it clear that the new vice president, former Sen. Joe Biden, would not enjoy such regular access to the Democratic lunches that are also held on Tuesdays, just a few doors down.