CNN Senior White House Correspondent
Vice President Cheney had some blunt - and humorous - advice for incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel at a private breakfast earlier this month.
"The best thing you can do is keep your VP under control," Cheney told Emanuel, according to three sources familiar with the White House meeting that had not been disclosed previously.
One of the sources, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the private meeting, said the room broke up in laughter because of Cheney's reputation for being a hard-charging Vice President.
The meeting was called by current White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, who decided to bring together 13 of his predecessors in the top job from both parties to try and offer Emanuel some bipartisan advice.
Among the attendees were Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, each of whom served as chief of staff to President Gerald Ford. Other attendees included former Clinton chiefs John Podesta and Leon Panetta.
The sources familiar with the meeting told CNN that Rumsfeld advised Emanuel not to think he's indispensable, and also told him that since it's a back-breaking job, he needs to identify his successor early. Rumsfeld's successor as Ford's chief of staff was Cheney, who joked with Emanuel about reigning in the Vice President.
But there's no joking about the specific contingency plans the Bush administration has prepared to help the incoming president deal with a potential national security crisis. Confirming a story first reported by The New York Times, transition officials say the White House has put together specific plans on how to deal with anything ranging from a terror strike on U.S. assets overseas to a nuclear blow-up in North Korea.
"The struggle against terror will be a generational conflict, one that will long continue beyond my presidency," Bush said Wednesday during a speech at the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania. "As my administration leaves office next month, we will leave behind the institutions and tools the country needs to prevail in the long struggle ahead."
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