(WYETHVILLE, Va.) — In a speech in Wyethville, Va., on Tuesday afternoon, Vice President Joe Biden attempted to clarify comments he made at a stop in Danville that morning in which he said Mitt Romney will try to, “put y’all back in chains” by deregulating Wall Street, a remark the Republican nominee called “outrageous,” because of its obvious slavery overtones.
The vice president said he misspoke and intended to use the word “unshackle,” which has been used by the GOP in the past — with regards to the economy, not people.
“We don’t have to imagine anymore. The details are there. Here’s what Congressman Ryan said. He said, ‘We believe a renewed commitment to limited government will unshackle our economy.’ The Speaker of the House [sic] used the word ‘unshackled’ as well, referring to their proposals. The last time these guys unshackled the economy, to use their term, they put the middle class in shackles. That’s how we got where we are,” Biden said Tuesday.
“I’m told that when I made that comment earlier today in Danville, Virginia, the Romney campaign put out a tweet. You know, tweets these days? Put out a tweet, went on the airwaves saying, ‘Biden, he’s outrageous in saying that,’ I think I said instead of ‘unshackled,’ ‘unchained.’ ‘Outrageous to say that.’ That’s what we had. I’m using their own words. I got a message for them. If you want to know what’s outrageous, it’s their policies and the effects of their policies on middle class America. That’s what’s outrageous,” Biden added.
Biden’s reference of Rep. Paul Ryan’s use of the word “unshackle” comes from the Wisconsin representative’s delivering the Republican response to the State of the Union in 2011.
“We believe a renewed commitment to limited government will unshackle our economy and create millions of new jobs and opportunities for all people, of every background, to succeed and prosper. Under this approach, the spirit of initiative, not political clout, determines who succeeds,” Ryan said in the speech.
Biden’s initial remarks sparked a wave of criticism from the GOP, even prompting Republican nominee Mitt Romney to respond, calling Biden’s statement “outrageous.” Some Democrats have even suggested — off the record — that the Biden comments have unnecessarily thrown the Obama campaign off-message.
“His campaign and his surrogates have made wild and reckless accusations that disgrace the office of the presidency. Another outrageous charge came a few hours ago in Virginia, and the White House sinks a little bit lower,” Romney said in a speech in Chillicothe, Ohio, on Tuesday evening.
“This is what an angry and desperate presidency looks like,” Romney added.
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Sarah Anderson, Deseret News
Rachel Sande, EastIdahoNews.com
Jeremy Diamond, CNN