[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/21/art.cheneyobama.gi.jpg caption="Obama hit back at Cheney's comments in an interview on NPR Monday."](CNN) - President Obama is hitting back at Dick Cheney's string of recent statements declaring the new president has made America more vulnerable to a terrorist attack, flatly telling NPR Monday the former vice president is "wrong."
"He…happens to be wrong, right?" Obama said laughing. "And last time, immediately after his speech, I think there was a fact-check on his speech that didn't get a very good grade."
Obama's comments come 10 days after both he and Cheney gave dueling speeches on national security, during which the president sharply condemned Bush administration interrogation practices while Cheney vigorously defended them.
But Obama said Monday Cheney's vigorous criticisms do not complicate his administration’s efforts to chart its own course when it comes to conducting the war on terror.
"Does it make it more complicated? No, because I think these are complicated issues and there is a legitimate debate to be had about national security," he said. "And I don't doubt the sincerity of the former vice president or the previous administration in wanting to protect the American people. And these are very difficult decisions."
Obama also said he doesn't find it unusual Cheney has become so outspoken in his criticism of the new administration, citing former vice president Al Gore as an example.
"As I remember, there were some speeches given by Vice President Gore that differed with President Bush's policies and I think that's healthy; that's part of the debate," he said. "And I don't in any way begrudge, I think, anybody in debating sometimes ferociously these issues that are of preeminent importance to the United States."
But Gore himself may take issue with that statement. Appearing on CNN last month, the former vice president said Cheney is speaking out too early.
"I waited two years after I left office to make statements that were critical,” Gore said. (Some have noted Gore actually began to criticize the run-up to the Iraq war in September 2002 - about a year-and-a-half after Bush took office.)