Asked about criticism from former Vice President Dick Cheney, current VP Joe Biden had a simple response: "Who cares?"
Actually, he said, "Who cares what -- " and then stopped himself.
"Yeah, yeah, I can see the headline now," Biden said. "I'm getting better, guys. I'm getting a little better, you know what I mean?"
Cheney said in a speech Wednesday night at the Center for Security Policy that President Obama is "dithering" on Afghanistan "while America's armed forces are in danger." He claimed that "signals of indecision out of Washington hurt our allies and embolden our adversaries."
The vice president did elaborate on one of Cheney's arguments -- that the last administration left Obama with a review of Afghanistan.
"A whole lot has changed in the last year," he said. "Let's assume they left us a review that was absolutely correct. Is that review relevant and totally applicable to today in light of the changes that have taken place in the region, in Afghanistan itself? So I think that is sort of irrelevant. Not sort of -- I think it's irrelevant."
Biden's rebuttal was delivered from Eastern Europe, where he has been reassuring leaders that the reconfiguring of President Bush's missile defense system does not mean the U.S. is no longer committed to the region.
The White House responded forcefully to Cheney's claims on Thursday. "What Vice President Cheney calls dithering, President Obama calls his solemn responsibility to the men and women in uniform and to the American public," Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said. "I think we've all seen what happens when somebody doesn't take that responsibility seriously."