(DANVILLE, Va.) — Vice President Joe Biden raised eyebrows today when he referred to the Republican Party as wanting to put voters in chains.
Specifically, the vice president said to the Danville, Va., crowd that the House GOP budget, partly written by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., gives an indication of the Republican presidential ticket’s values.
“We got a real clear picture of what they all value,” Biden said. “Every Republican’s voted for it. Look at what they value and look at their budget and what they’re proposing. Romney wants to let the — he said in the first hundred days he’s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules, ‘unchain Wall Street.’ They’re going to put y’all back in chains.”
An Obama campaign official tells ABC News that “as the full quote makes obvious, the Vice President was clearly using a metaphor to describe the devastating impact of deregulating Wall Street and the financial industry, as well as how Governor Romney’s policies would take us back to the same failed formula that led to the 2008 financial crisis – the same failed formula that benefitted a few, but crashed our economy and hurt the middle class.”
Defenders of the vice president suggest that he was attempting to play off language Republicans have used about President Obama needing to “unshackle” small businesses and the economy.
Asked about the comments by Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC, Obama campaign deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said the president “probably agrees with Joe Biden’s sentiments. I mean he’s using a metaphor….He was making a point that if we repeal Wall Street reform which is what Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to do, we’re going to go back to the days where they’re writing their own rules, and we saw what happened. Taxpayers had to bail them out. We had to spend billions of dollars of taxpayer dollars bailing them out. Now I would think that that, you know, that is a problem for middle class taxpayers. That would hamper their ability to take care of their own finances.”
Cutter said, “the bottom line is that we have no problem with those comments.”
Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul said, “In case anyone was wondering just how low President Obama could go in his campaign for re-election, we now know he’s willing to say that Governor Romney wants to put people back in chains. Whether its accusing Mitt Romney of being a felon, having been responsible for a woman’s tragic death or now wanting to put people in chains, there’s no question that because of the President’s failed record he’s been reduced to a desperate campaign based on division and demonization.”
Biden also told the crowd that if they get out the vote, “we can win North Carolina again.” Danville is close to the North Carolina border, but it is in fact in Virginia.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
Cimaron Neugebauer, KUTV
Eric Bradner, Shimon Prokupecz and Dan Merica, CNN