September 20th, 2008
03:35 PM ET
14 years ago

Biden gets tough on McCain in Virginia


Biden campaigned in Virginia Saturday (AP Photo)

CASTLEWOOD, Virginia (CNN) – Joe Biden joined Barack Obama in jumping on John McCain’s recent comments that seemingly promote health care deregulation, at a campaign event deep in coal country Virginia Saturday.

The Democratic VP nominee also told supporters at the annual United Mine Workers Fish Fry that Obama won’t take away their guns, but if he tries, “he’s got a problem.”

Biden has hammered McCain all week for what he says is the Arizona senator's newfound support for regulation of Wall Street practices. But Biden questioned how the Arizona senator can seemingly still support deregulation in the health care industry. As Obama did in Florida Saturday morning, the Delaware senator read the crowd a quote from McCain in a new magazine article that appears to criticize state regulation of insurance companies.

“Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done the last decade for banking, would provide more choices of innovative products burdened by the worst of excesses of state-based regulation,” McCain wrote in an article published today in the American Academy of Actuaries magazine.

“Translate it, get rid of the regulations, get rid of the protections and hang on to your health insurance,” said Biden. “This guy has not learned anything.”

“In the mortgage industry they talked about new innovative projects,” he added. “Sub-prime mortgages. Without anybody looking over anybody’s shoulder. All these new fancy business terms about new product. Well the new product is bringing down our economy, bringing down the world economy and we got a lot of work to do to staunch this bleeding and begin to rebuild.”

The McCain campaign shot back that the quote is being distorted, saying McCain wants people to be able to buy insurance across state lines in the way people can bank in different states.

“This is absurd,” said McCain economic advisor Doug Holtz-Eakin. “If Barack Obama thinks that today’s financial troubles were caused by policies which allowed Americans to use an ATM anywhere in the country, then it is better that he continue to be silent about the solutions to the crisis on Wall Street. That crisis arose from corruption and regulators asleep at the switch.”

Biden also touched upon the issue of guns at Saturday's campaign event, a sticking point for Obama’s candidacy with many undecided voters, especially after his now-infamous remarks that people in tough economic straits "cling to" their guns and religion.

“I guarantee you, Barack Obama ain't taking my shotguns. So don't buy that malarkey,” said Biden. “They're going to start peddling that to you. I got two and if he tries to fool with my Berretta, he's got a problem.”

Obama has repeatedly argued he is in favor of the second amendment but that there needs to be a balance with “common sense gun safety measures.”

Filed under: Joe Biden • John McCain • Popular Posts • Virginia
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