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. Republican who supports President Obama

    When they denounce the birther and racist commentary from their right-wing supporters then I will begin to listen to them. The GOP is a joke and will never face the truth.

    August 15, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  2. David

    Biden is great.
    And Hillary on the ticket would MOP Romney on the floor. She would get all the voters who wanted a strong COMPETENT female on the ticket. And the GOP cannot turn her back into the bogeyman before the election, as she has been an EXCELLENT Sec of State.

    August 15, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  3. sharky

    And I thought Sarah Palin was bad. Biden is making her look like a genius. He is completely worthless.

    August 15, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  4. W.G.

    Anytime McCain and Palin are involved in an opinion you can be sure it´ll be on the wrong side of it .
    They can´t help themselves they´re republicans .

    August 15, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  5. Slightly Left of Center

    McCain and his parrot, Palin. Lots of room to criticize a choice of VP. They are sooooo comical.

    August 15, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  6. Ronnie Harper

    What Joe Biden said is absolutely right on the money, and it's just the oligarchy that doesn't want images of Marx and slavery associated with crimes they are committing against the people of this great nation.

    August 15, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Biden is talking about many people who own houses suddenly be chained to those houses that are underwater. De-regulation doesn't make sense given the failures of recent memory.

    August 15, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  8. Lib

    Sarah Palin??? You got to be kidding. The GOP have some nerve criticizing Biden. For over three years the GOP have been calling the president all kinds of racist names. Even Mitt Laughed when someone said to him that Obama was a terrorist. We should ask Sununu to resign for calling the president a wuss. We should Mitt to stop running after his racist comment for Obama to take his anger, divisive back to Chicago. Where is Mitt and the GOP's complaints about rush limbaugh's daily bashing of the president?what about mitt hanging out with donald trump?I don't even want to imagine what they say about the president behind closed doors. Even Blacks in congress are disgusted at how the GOP talk about the president in the halls of congress, we could go on and on. All these folks are the biggest hypocrits.THey don't care about the feeling of Blacks.THis is a political hit on Obama from Mitt. Mitt's comments after his visit to the NAACP were racist saying if Blacks won't something free and those people were educated and worked.

    August 15, 2012 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  9. Nietodarwin

    The President has already gone on record over all of this, WITH A SHRUG OF HIS SHOULDERS. I've been watching Fox News to hear them talking about it, which they will do as long as they possibly can, because all other topics make the GOP look like the thugs they are. I almost feel sorry for people who have voted GOP for decades. They don't like Dems or Obama, but their own party is such a disgusting mess.

    August 15, 2012 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  10. richwood7

    I don't see the controversy. He is 100% right. The GOP will create a nation of plantation owners and slaves. Watch to movie "Soylant Green" this is the GOP dream world. A nation of extremely wealthy supported by millions of essentially slaves. Why is the truth so hated?

    August 15, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  11. nten5e

    Yes, the comment VP Biden made was indeed meant to invoke images of slavery. Metaphor or not, it was a bit extreme. He could have, and should have, used a different analogy. However, I highly doubt that many Black voters will be so put off by the comment that it will sway their vote (if they were already committed to or leaning toward voting for the president).

    Given VP Biden's well known history of gaffes, nothing he says is that shocking anymore. Behind every gaffe, and every head scratching comment, he comes out on the other side of it seeming like "meant well". *scary*

    August 15, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  12. Craig

    I'm from VA and I can tell you Doug Wilder is an old cook. I was convinced when I watched him salute racist confederates as their boat motored down the canal. Don't listen to a word he says. He just wants to be relevant again.

    August 15, 2012 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  13. ronjayaz

    Talk abt making a mountain out of a molehill this is it! Joe "Gaffe" Biden is just living up to his known gaffing. And Giuliani's summation of Biden's intelligence was so much balderdash. The Republicants are losing heavily w/o any kick from Tryin' Ryan's nomination.

    August 15, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  14. R H

    Yeah that is terrible, almost as bad as lying to the American people about weapons of mass destruction, 3 trillion in debt from two wars, our best and brightest killed, maimed and PTSD. but your right about Biden. He uses words like IEDS.

    August 15, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  15. Veteran For Truth

    It is not too late to add Hillary to the ticket. They can do it at the convention, where it is official.

    August 15, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  16. emintey

    Talk about a tempest in a teapot. This wont make a bit of difference tomorrow.

    August 15, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  17. Ken

    The Republicans have two ways they can win in 2012. (1) An October Surprise with another major crisis in Europe leading to huge stock drops, promoting a general feeling of helplessness, so they turn to Romney, or (2) Biden. Good old Joe. When they have the VP debate, Biden vs Ryan, Ryan is a very good speaker. And Biden may feel pressured to compete. So there is a high risk of Biden taking his foot and sticking into his mouth and so far down his throat it comes our his rear. They would do well to convince Biden to step aside (for sudden health reasons of course).

    August 15, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  18. impact

    I listened to the whole thing and I didn't see any attempt to drag race into it. He was clearly indicating we would be shackled by Wall Street. It's obvious where this is all coming from, Republicans pretending to be Democrat's. Wilder is just what the Republicans love a good DINO.

    August 16, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  19. John

    Pres Obam would be wize to put Biden on a short leash with a muzzle over his mouth and keep him away from all microphones and TV cameras.

    August 16, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  20. Ryan Wenzel

    Biden has always had a knack for saying exactly the wrong thing, but in terms of his knowledge and skill in dealing with international matters he has few equals among politicians.

    August 16, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  21. 3rd party

    Joe Biden is a nightmare and the media doesn't even cover half of the gaffes he makes.

    August 16, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  22. organicman

    Biden plays the race card and it backfired. Man-up and admit your mistake. Every Republican is praying that Obama keeps Biden on the ticket. If Obama doesn't win reelection Biden will be able to pat himself on the back for it.

    August 16, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  23. Donkey Party

    Blue Dogs and turncoat Democrats, leave the party and join the GOP. There's plenty of room for moderate and even conservative Democrats, but when you align yourselves with the domestic terrorist GOP, then you may as well be one of them.

    August 16, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  24. Ken

    Wilder, like others, is making much ado about nothing. It takes an idiot to misunderstand what Biden meant by his statement. I am disappointed in Wilder. I can dismiss what Artur Davis had to say, after all, he was stupid enough to think that he, a black man, could be elected governor of Alabama. And no one cares what Sarah Palin has to say about anything.

    August 16, 2012 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  25. BrightStar

    As usual race always has to be the underlying motive. Get over it. Biden simply did what Biden always does – shoot off from the mouth.

    If people are really offended by this they need to get a life.

    August 16, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
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