August 15th, 2012
07:27 PM ET
2 years ago

Wilder, McCain, Palin join criticism of Biden

(CNN) – Joe Biden was the subject of harsh scrutiny Wednesday as a prominent former Democratic governor joined some big name Republicans in blasting the vice president for a controversial remark made at a recent campaign stop.

Biden suggested Tuesday that Mitt Romney's policies would "put y'all back in chains" when speaking about Romney's plan for Wall Street reform at an event in Danville, Virginia.

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Former Democratic Virginia Governor Doug Wilder offered his criticism in an interview on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" saying Biden's remarks were racially-charged.

"First of all, without question they were appeals to race," Wilder said. "The important thing I got out of this was Biden separated himself from what he accused the people of doing. As a matter of fact, what he said is they are going to do something to y'all, not to me. Not us. So he was still involved with that separate American."

"As far as I am concerned, the President would not associate himself with those remarks," he said. "And I expect as the days go forward there will be more clarity associated with what the president feels about what Joe Biden said."

He also repeated an assertion he's made previously that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should have been swapped in as President Obama's vice president. Wilder first made the suggestion in a 2010 op-ed published by Politico.

"As a matter of fact, over eight or nine months ago that it would have been in the president's best interest to pick Hillary because-and I'll go even further," Wilder said. "If Hillary were on that ticket today based on the job she's done as secretary of state, I think that would be a clearer advantage the president would be seeing."

Wilder added, however, "It's not going to happen. It's too late. I think she'll be getting herself together for 2016. But that doesn't help the president today. What the president needs to do is disassociate himself from trying to show anybody that division is what this administration is about as some may have said, 'cool it,' 'back up."

Biden has since clarified his remark suggesting his comments were in reference to Republican language used in talking about newly minted Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's budget proposal. Biden called the effects of his opponents' economic policies "outrageous."

Not surprisingly, Republicans are expressing sentiments similar to Wilder's.

Arizona Sen. John McCain said Wednesday on Fox News that "it might be wise" for President Obama to swap out Biden for another vice presidential candidate but that it would not happen "for a whole variety of reasons including the fact that I'm not sure if I were Hillary Clinton I would want to be on that team."

Sarah Palin mirrored those remarks on Tuesday in an interview also on Fox advising Obama to replace Biden.

Artur Davis, a four-term Democratic congressman from Alabama and former Obama campaign co-chair turned GOP surrogate, offered possibly the harshest criticism of Biden's remarks yet saying the vice president went to a place he "never should have gone" in his remarks and called the president's words insulting.

"It's a divisive tactic that's insulting to African Americans," Davis told Blitzer. "It's insulting to the American people. It's insulting to the legacy that he used to build up as an orator who used to know how to inspire people instead of strike fear in people's heart."

Then-Senator Clinton campaigned on the Democratic ticket in 2008 against President Obama. Following her failed White House run, Clinton was speculated to be a potential vice presidential pick for the Illinois senator.

Obama, however, chose Biden, then-senator from Delaware, to be his running mate at a campaign event in Springfield, Illinois in late August of 2008 telling supporters that he is "a leader who is ready to step in and be president."

Obama's deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter attempted Tuesday to dispel the controversy around Biden's statement, comparing his words to Republicans who have called for the "unshackling" of the private sector from regulations in recent months.

"Since then, the Vice President has often used a similar metaphor to describe the need to 'unshackle' the middle class," Cutter said in a statement. "Today's comments were a derivative of those remarks, describing the devastating impact letting Wall Street write its own rules again would have on middle class families."

Cutter added that they "find the Romney campaign's outrage over the Vice President's comments today hypocritical, particularly in light of their own candidate's stump speech questioning the President's patriotism."

–CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report

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Filed under: 2012 • Joe Biden • President Obama
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. sayer

    I think we have more important things to correct...

    August 15, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  2. Oh, The Faux Outrage

    Seriously? We don't have a problem with Boehner using the term "shackles," but Joe can't say "chains" without everybody becoming unhinged and crying rascist?

    Before Obama was elected, I remember the Republican party encouraging Republicans in certain states to vote for Barack Obama because they wanted to "run against the black man." They didn't think the black man could beat the white guy. Sorry, backfired, be careful what you wish for, right? Since that time we've watched the Tea Party and many numerous and various assorted Republicans carrying on with reckless abandon with their rascist crap. The Birthers who still won't zip it about Obama's nationality not being American. We've all seen the Obama-as-Hitler posters with the swastikas and the photos of the President of the United States dressed as a jungle medicine man. We've watched as nasty hecklers, including members of Congress, demean both the highest office in the land and the man who holds it. Now recently we watch and listen to John Sununu going on and on about the president not being American enough and.............. I could go on, you know.

    This faux outrage is mind boggling, and the hypocrisy is stunning.

    August 15, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  3. spocksbrain

    Citing remarks by Sarah Palin made on Fixed News is hardly meaningful. If you want something to criticize how about Romney invented Romneycare, says he will repeal it, praises Israels Universal Healthcare system, and selects a VP who thinks the government should take our money and just hand it over to private insurance companies to "save" medicare. Private insurance companies that will use that taxpayer money to put up towers full of death panels, pay for slick TV commercials that try to woo healthy seniors, and pay huge CEO salaries. How about y'all stop criticizing fluff and get down to facts. The GOP is the puppet of corporations who intend to buy the Senate and Presidency too if they can.

    August 15, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  4. tee1227

    First of all Davis and Wilder don`t speak for the 99% African Americans who will never vote Republican and where was the outrage when Newt Gingrich Obama the N word also Santorum.

    August 15, 2012 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  5. Bryan

    Ho hum. Former Clinton backer still has sour grapes about Clinton not getting nomination.

    Biden won't be replaced, and he was just telling the truth. Romney and Ryan would set poor people and people of color back in time. They think nothing could be finer than a return to 1950s America

    August 15, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  6. Eric

    Senator Biden was picked in 2008 because he was as close to a statistical null as then-Senator Obama could find. Holding a strong lead, he simply needed a candidate who would not impede him in any way, and Biden was the best non-entity available in the 2008 field.

    Today, President Obama is struggling to pull the ticket's entire load, and would be toast if the Republicans could find a more formidable ticket. Unfortunately for him, switching VPs three months out would probably lose him the election regardless of how hollow Mitt Romney is.

    August 15, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  7. ArtVandelay

    Obama and Biden need to stop this hateful language it's losing voters

    August 15, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  8. donna rochester

    Get a grip, with all of the hate filled rhetoric spewed out by the Republicans I think they are really over reaching here. It would be impossible to rid one's language of every possible phrase that might offend someone. Republicans excuse themselves of language that is not only offensive but borders on traitorous, yet whine when they think they might have the slightest chance of painting Democrats in a bad light. I am sick of Republican hypocrisy and self righteousness!

    August 15, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  9. David

    No Joe Biden is a cool guy. He may say things out of left field because that's his style, his way of expression. Behind the few gaffes, is a bright man. He's tough but yet gentle at the same time.

    August 15, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  10. maltytasker

    If Biden needs to be replaced for his comment, then Romney should also be replaced for all of his lies and insults.

    August 15, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  11. fossy

    There was nothing controversial about his comment. Republicans have nothing else to spin on him. Can't wait to watch him and Ryan debate foreign policy experience in the debate. Oh WAIT.. RYAN DOES NOT HAVE ANY lol

    August 15, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  12. jimPNW

    Mr. West is by far the biggest insult to the African Americans and all Americans of our great nation.

    August 15, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  13. liberal disease

    Bden thinks that blacks can only make it with hand outs..how arrogant and out of touch Obama's VP is..!!
    what is black unemployment rate under these 2 bozos? 18 percent and growing!

    August 15, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  14. NikoEsquire

    With all due respect, Wilder needs to go back into retirement. If you listen to what Biden said IN CONTEXT, you know that he was not saying anything racially charged. It's funny how you can always find one Black person to find the racism in anything that gets said. It's really sad that such a distinguished man, the first African-American governor of a southern state, would allow himself to be used as a pawn of ignorance.

    August 15, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  15. Jeff Cox

    So with Wilder breaking the ice as the first Democrat to call for Biden to drop from the race, I have to wonder if this whole thing was staged in order to create a context where Biden could drop from the race enabling ... guess who ... to enter the race as the replacement VP.

    Can you say ... Clinton????

    August 15, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  16. Pete

    What hyocrites,all you racist republicans are and you go after someone who helped the poor and middleclass ,all ethnicities,all colors,all religions..You people make me want to puke,its sickening how you ignorent racists who have disrespected our first black president come out and say such a assenine statement after all of what's Pres.Obamas been thru with you all since his inaugeration.Biden who's a caring man ,who's intelligent much more so than your disasterous duo in Romney,Ryan the AynRand diciple can say what he wants remember your amendment rights and he didn't get the people at the campaign gathering too upset either,its just your sanctumonious nitwits who like this Davis guy,who now backs republicans simply because of a buck,you call him a typical UNCLE TOM..Go back and remember all you hypocrites and your shackles remarks,we'll chase you on those till the campaigns are over and then some,republicans are just hypocritical bigots, plain and simple!!

    August 15, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  17. Jeettu

    I agree that Joe Biden did not use the right language. However, what he expressed is the truth. If there are no regulations to control Wall Street, their irratic behavior and greed will cause the economic great depression again. And in such depressions, middle and poor class people are affected the most. Further, our economy cannot afford another economic grreat recession. Therefore, republican and Romney's effort to reduce or eliminate the regulations related to Dodd-Frank bill are a cause of concern and can put all of us in chains for a long time. That is what the VP was attempting to communicate. He chose the wwrong words and also did not complete his sentences correctly. He should apologize for not using the correct language but not the meaning of it. Republicans are on a path that will lead to disaster for our economy.

    For all those who know Joe Biden also know that he is not a racist and believes in providing equal opportunity to all. Therefore, we all should forgive him for using wr

    August 15, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  18. Jeettu

    I agree that Joe Biden did not use the right language. However, what he expressed is the truth. If there are no regulations to control Wall Street, their irratic behavior and greed will cause the economic great depression again. And in such depressions, middle and poor class people are affected the most. Further, our economy cannot afford another economic grreat recession. Therefore, republican and Romney's effort to reduce or eliminate the regulations related to Dodd-Frank bill are a cause of concern and can put all of us in chains for a long time. That is what the VP was attempting to communicate. He chose the wwrong words and also did not complete his sentences correctly. He should apologize for not using the correct language but not the meaning of it. Republicans are on a path that will lead to disaster for our economy.

    For all those who know Joe Biden also know that he is not a racist and believes in providing equal opportunity to all. Therefore, we all should forgive him for using wrong language and move on to other important items in this election.

    August 15, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  19. Mark

    No, No, No...............keep Clueless Joe. He is the gift that keeps on giving!

    August 15, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  20. Theend

    “Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains.” - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

    August 15, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  21. Theend

    "Americans, indeed all free men, remember that in the final choice a soldier's pack is not so heavy a burden as a prisoner's chains.” - President Dwight Eisenhower

    August 15, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  22. Theend

    “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains or slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take but as for me; give me liberty or give me death!” - Patrick Henry

    August 15, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  23. Ken

    Please don't replace Biden...he's the best thing the GOP has going on to garner the independent vote. Keep it up Joe! Remember Joe's sage advice, this will come down to a three letter word...J-O-B-S.

    August 15, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  24. Tk

    Biden is great asset to the Romney campaign. Keep it up Joe.

    August 15, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  25. Amazing

    My issue with McCain and Palin is that they lack any courage to speak out against republicans who have made similar kinds of statements. Consider some of the comments from Rep. West and Broun. Where were their voices then?

    August 15, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
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