But that is the image Sen. Joseph Biden, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, used to describe the power relationship between U.S. President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney in a recent interview with the National Journal.
Secretary of State Colin Powell, according to Biden's account, sometimes talks Bush into pursuing a more conciliatory foreign-policy line, as he has done with North Korea or the United Nations from time to time.
"Like with a horse, Powell is always able to lead Bush to the water. But just as he is about to put his head down, Cheney up in the saddle says, 'Un-uh,' and yanks up the reins before Bush can drink the water. That's my image of how it goes," Biden said.
That is also the image which is gaining currency in power circles in Washington. When it comes to foreign policy, Cheney is increasingly seen as holding the reins.