Cheney staffer is force behind hot-button policies

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Although Addington can come across as mild-mannered and easygoing, he's known as a ferocious combatant in internal disputes. Berenson, an Addington admirer who generally shares his views, said his friend follows "the law of the jungle" in dealing with colleagues who disagree with him.

"Nobody who gets hit by a bus has warm feelings about the bus. People who have tangled with David over the years and come out on the wrong end of those fights harbor some bad feelings," Berenson said.

For all of his influence, admirers and detractors agree that Addington wouldn't have the clout he does if Cheney and Bush didn't share his views.

"They have a point of view, and they've advanced it across the board," Malinowski said. "If Addington has won a lot of the battles, it's because the president has ultimately agreed with him."

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