Former Vice President Cheney's speeches and interviews criticizing the Obama administration are part of healthy debate in the country, President Obama said.

In an interview with National Public Radio (NPR) airing Tuesday, the president said nothing struck him as unusual in the strident tone taken by Cheney since leaving office.

"Well, I don't think it's that unusual," Obama told NPR. "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," the president explained. "And I don't, in any way, begrudge, I think, anybody in debating, sometimes ferociously, these issues that are of premier importance to the United States."

Obama did not directly answer NPR's question about whether or not he's spoken directly to Cheney, but reiterated his confidence in positions taken since assuming the presidency.