Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter delivers remarks after being sworn in during a ceremony in the White House in Washington. D.C. while his wife Stephanie Carter and Vice President Joseph Biden observe on Feb. 17, 2015.
Alex Wong—Getty Images
By Laura Stampler
February 17, 2015

During the swearing-in ceremony for Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter on Tuesday, cameras caught Vice President Joe Biden whispering into the new defense secretary’s wife’s ears. Critics were quick to pounce on what they saw as another example of the veep’s poor etiquette.

“Joe Biden strikes again with inappropriate touching,” wrote Truth Revolt.

“New SecDef can’t even defend his wife from Joe Biden,” the Daily Caller quipped.

This isn’t Biden’s first time close-talking. In fact, the Washington Post declared Biden “the world’s most powerful close talker.”

There was that time last year when he cozied up to a biker:

And then when he chatted with Delaware Sen. Chris Coons’ daughter Maggie during a different swearing-in ceremony. (After the Internet backlash, Coons noted that his daughter “doesn’t think the vice president is creepy.”)

Read next: Justice Ginsburg Admits She Was Tipsy at State of the Union

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