Power plays are always a tricky business in Washington and sometimes it’s better to make a joke out of it. Or not.

Special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, used that tactic on Friday when asked about reports that veteran Senator John Kerry is stealing his limelight.

“I’d like to make a joke and say, ‘I’m always happy to be eclipsed by John Kerry.’ But then you’ll take it seriously and then I’ll cause more problems,” Holbrooke told reporters.

AFGHANISTAN/Kerry was in Kabul earlier this week with a mission to convince incumbent President Hamid Karzai to agree to a run-off election after the flawed first round in August. Apparently Holbrooke was also working the phones as was U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

But it was Kerry who grabbed the headlines, prompting journalists to question whether he was the de facto secretary of state and key player when it came to dealing with Karzai.