Obama, Booker defend Biden 'chains' remarks
August 15th, 2012
08:56 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama, Booker defend Biden 'chains' remarks

(CNN) – President Obama and Newark Mayor Cory Booker defended a controversial remark made by Joe Biden on Tuesday, affirming their support of the vice president in interviews Wednesday and urging the remarks to be taken in context.

Obama told People Magazine that Biden's remarks meant "you, consumers, the American people, will be a lot worse off if we repeal these (Wall Street reform) laws, as the other side is suggesting."

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Obama continued, "In no sense was he trying to connote something other than that."

"Joe Biden has been an outstanding vice president," said Obama. "He is passionate about what's happening in middle-class families."

Booker also defended Biden in an interview with CNN on Wednesday, asking people to consider the vice president's full remarks.

"Please, I beg America, listen to the whole speech by the vice president, don't let the soundbites that the media's presenting to you, affect your mind. Listen to the whole speech," said Booker on "Piers Morgan Tonight."

"This was a substantive speech, about how we're going to reform Wall Street, about how we're going to protect consumers, about how we're going to stop the over-leveraging of banks, about how we're going to create a consumer Bill of Rights, a credit card Bill of Rights, how we're going to go against predatory lending," he explains. "All of that is the substantive things that my majority black city in Newark is concerned with. These are the real substantive issues that the media and that the soundbite politics is distracting us from."

Biden made the contentious remarks while referring to what he suggested are Mitt Romney's policies to deregulate Wall Street.

"(Romney) is going to let the big banks once again write their own rules, unchain Wall Street," Biden said at a campaign event in Virginia. "He is going to put y'all back in chains."

The president's defense came at the end of a three-day swing through Iowa.

"The truth is that during the course of these campaigns, folks like to get obsessed with how something was phrased even if everybody personally understands that's not how it was meant," Obama said while campaigning in Dubuque. "That's sort of the nature of modern campaigns and modern coverage of campaigns. But I tell you, when I'm traveling around Iowa, that's not what's on people's minds.

Following a barrage of criticism pointing to racial undertones, Biden has since clarified his comments, saying that Republicans originally used the word "unshackled" when referring to Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal.

"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.

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Filed under: 2012 • Cory Booker • Joe Biden • President Obama
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. dreucalypt

    What's the fuss all about? What Biden says is true, after all!

    August 15, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  2. love344@tiscali.it

    take the gloves off Mr President... let Mitt the whiner keeps whining

    August 15, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  3. T'sah From Virginia

    Thank you President Obama – Making a mountain out of a mole hill is ridiculous when most really knew what Biden was talking about; this should now be a DEAD ISSUE!!! Ebonics still exists and is understood by most, no matter how far we have come; I find myself slipping sometimes but that is who I am – That is why it irks me when you have people stepping in and preaching when they do not even know how we accept things or read things. So I will tell all of ya'll now – CHILL – Blacks ain’t worrying about it!!!

    Obama/Biden – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!!

    August 15, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  4. Marine1957

    Hard to see how the voting public can take the Biden remark any other way, 'y'all'. Joe managed to be condescending and raise the spectre of race hatred all in one sentence. To avoid that damning implication, Biden and Obama are guilty of stretching the truth so far that it dies of thinness. The undynamic duo had better start learning how to make statements without innuendo. And, no, it doesn't matter what the other guys say, this is our President and Vice President looking tawdry and nasty.

    August 15, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  5. Norma Vessels

    Yes, it was easily understood by me. So, if it was understood by me, why then isn't it understood by more intelligent people? The reason is simple .. they want to cause trouble for our Vice President Biden .. they want to cause trouble for
    our President Obama.

    August 15, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  6. sophistry

    I liked candidate Obama of 2008. He promised to reform the way Washington politics was run. Now he's made it worse. Rather than running on fresh ideas or hope, him and his team are trying to demonize the right and divide the country. Only he can't demonize without resorting to senseless comments like this. Sorry President, trying to pin Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan to slavery seems desperate. Leave the race card alone.

    August 15, 2012 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  7. Mike

    He would defend it... He's on the same team...

    August 15, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  8. Liz the First

    Biden was exactly right, if the banks are unleashed to do whatever they please, it will mean more economic disaster for us, the American people. can we not learn from our mistakes? i know republicans can't, but the sane people of this country have to stand up and say 'enough!' if the repugs get their way and their power, we'll all be slaves to the robber barons. we climbed out of that cesspool already in the last millennium. do we really want to back to the days of the fabulously wealhy and the desperately poor, with no one in between? that's what the repugs are actively working for. and if folks think voting for them is going to make them part of the fabulously wealthy crowd, they're absolute fools!

    August 15, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  9. Jack

    Biden speaks the truth and the Republicans have a hissy fit. It appears the truth hurts if you are a Republican.

    August 15, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  10. Ray

    CNN they don't you ask republicans why they refer to Obama as UN-American. foreign, wasn't born here, Muslin , racist etc...

    August 15, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  11. EricMD33

    Everyone knows what Biden meant. He made the statement to a crowd of African Americans an in an area known to have plantations. So divisive.

    August 15, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  12. djd137NC

    Taken in context, Biden's remarks were completely out of line.
    I'm tired of Obama and Biden saying divisive, untrue and downright hateful things,
    then telling me I didn't hear what we all clearly heard and patronizing me by
    suggesting I was simply confused about what I heard due to having taken it out of context.

    August 15, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  13. ozonator

    The GOP is mad because VP Biden told the truth. The GOP can only increase "employment" through modern slavery of no healthcare, no women's rights, no science other than what is spewed by the Looter Limbaughs and other extremist media outlets, no education beyond the worst GOP states in the Union – Mississippi and Louisiana, and no right to vote.

    August 15, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  14. Ancient Texan

    The whole world heard what Biden said, just as everyone heard what Obama said to Small business owners; they can twist and spin and dance and blow smoke in front of mirrors, but it won't change the attitude reflected in those pitiful statements.

    August 15, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  15. Investment Advisor

    I believe Obama....Its just too bad Biden doesn't engage his brain before he speaks.

    August 15, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  16. Bobby Davis Sr

    I beleave that Joe Biden Knows that, what he said in his speach, that his audance understood what he was saying, no matter how the media are anyone try to twisted it. and reather you beleave this are not, Joe has made a signature for him self " If he don't say something that sound a little wakey he would not be the JOE.that we all know and best of all he has been doing this kind of wakey stuff from Day One, and we love him for for getting everyones attention,as you can see I have not heard one person that was there complant once.

    August 15, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  17. gt

    sure he did...joe biden is a looser...hillary for vp....

    August 15, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  18. Strongarm757

    The GOP is throwing everything at the wall untill something sticks.

    August 15, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  19. Desmond, a Canadian

    That is exactly why Obama is TOO GOOD for many of you folks to have as President. HE IS INTELLIGENT, HE UNDERSTANDS IN CONTEXT, HE DOES NOT DISTORT FOR CHEAP POLITICS like the Guilianis and Failin' Palins of this world whom, it seems, McCain is trying to emulate because he is now just a sad old man whose great ambition was dashed!
    And Wilder, your wildly convoluted stretching of meaning is dismal! You know exactly what the VP meant!!!

    August 15, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  20. porchhound

    Well they defended the Dem Senate not submitting a budget for his ENTIRE presidency...why not this???

    August 15, 2012 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  21. Moreland Edwards

    Ordinary Americans have been in chains all their lives under the Republican Party

    August 15, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  22. n

    We hear you Joe and we stand with you. Romney is spineless snake in the grass.

    August 15, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  23. T'sah From Virginia

    I will also mention, thank you Booker – We should give credit where credit is due!

    On another note – Romney has a lot of nerve WHINING about how the campaign getting nasty – He IS nasty in its greatest form – He slaughtered his primary rivalries and he stated that he will definitely go negative in the general. Romney had the stage for the past 3 years, so it seems, and in all of those years, he's still saying NOTHING!!

    The Republicans were ALWAYS nasty and the Democrats used to be a bunch of WIMPS – now, we're not taking all of the blatant lies and flip-flopping Etch-A-Sketching anymore coming from the RIGHT!!

    Obama/Biden 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!

    August 15, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  24. Dennis

    Yeah, it was ok, what Joe said. Besides, Joe and the Big O are just a couple of Ricks without the P.

    August 15, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  25. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    So, would it be as bad if Obama had said it?

    August 15, 2012 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
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