- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 14, 2010

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Sunday belittled former Vice President Dick Cheney’s criticism of the Obama administration’s commitment to fighting terrorism as either “misinformed or he is misinforming.”

Mr. Cheney doesn’t listen to what’s going on around him and is trying to rewrite history, Mr. Biden told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The former vice president has been a leading Republican critic of the Obama administration’s handling of national security, contending that President Obama is “trying to pretend” that the United States is not at war with terrorists. The result, Mr. Cheney says, is that Americans are less safe.

Mr. Biden said that under Mr. Obama’s direction, the United States has been more successful at killing al Qaeda leaders and their followers than it was during the years George W. Bush and Mr. Cheney were in the White House.

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“We’ve eliminated 12 of their top 20 people. We have taken out 100 of their associates,” Mr. Biden said. “They are, in fact, not able to do anything remotely like they were in the past. They are on the run. I don’t know where Dick Cheney has been. Look, it’s one thing, again, to criticize. It’s another thing to sort of rewrite history. What is he talking about?”

Mr. Cheney, Mr. Biden said, “either is misinformed or he is misinforming, but the facts are that his assertions are not accurate.”

The extraordinary and public back-and-forth between current and former administrations was expected to flare up with Mr. Cheney’s appearance later Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” followed by a second chance for Mr. Biden to respond while on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” His NBC appearance was taped Saturday night from the Winder Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Mr. Biden also said the Iraq war hasn’t been worth its “horrible price” and that the Bush administration mishandled it from the outset by taking its “eye off the ball.”

That, he said, left the United States in a more dangerous position in Afghanistan, the al Qaeda stronghold where Obama bin Laden and his cohorts plotted the Sept 11 terror attacks.

The war also has cost the United States support from other nations around the world, he said.

Still, Mr. Biden said, Iraq will have successful parliamentary elections next month, and the United States is likely to bring home some 90,000 combat troops by summer’s end.

More than 4,370 U.S. military personnel have died in Iraq since Mr. Bush ordered the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been wounded or killed.

Turning to the main issue on the minds of most voters, Mr. Biden said Mr. Obama inherited a shrinking economy with financial institutions that were on the edge of collapse, threatening to move the world into a depression.

Mr. Biden said the economy expanded at 5.8 percent during the last quarter and the United States has “stopped the hemorrhaging of jobs.”

He said there was “tangible evidence” the economy was moving in the right direction.

By the time of November’s elections, he said, “in addition to bringing home 90,000 American troops, troops out of Iraq, the story of this administration is going to be more clearly told, and we’re going to just fine.”

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