August 14th, 2012
12:24 PM ET
11 years ago

Biden: Romney's Wall Street will 'put y'all back in chains'

(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden leveled a heavy charge at Mitt Romney on Tuesday, arguing the presumptive GOP nominee's proposed policies on Wall Street reform would be detrimental for Americans.

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

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Biden later clarified the remarks at an event in Wytheville, Virginia suggesting his comments were in reference to House Speaker John Boehner's use of the word 'unshackled' in talking about Ryan's House 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," said Biden.

"And I'm told that when I made that comment earlier today in Danville, Virginia, the Romney campaign put out a tweet. You know, tweets these days? Put out a tweet, went on the airwaves saying, 'Biden, he's outrageous in saying that,' I think I said instead of 'unshackled,' 'unchained.' 'Outrageous to say that," said Biden. "That's what we had. I'm using their own words. I got a message for them. If you want to know what's outrageous, it's their policies and the effects of their policies on middle class America. That's what's outrageous."

The former Massachusetts governor has previously stated his opposition to the so-called Dodd-Frank bill, also known as the financial reform bill signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010. The bill was designed to rein in risky practices and prevent another Wall Street meltdown similar to the one that occurred in 2008.

Critics, including Romney, rail against the legislation for being too heavy with regulation and argue the new law is crippling for small banks. However, the Republican candidate has clarified his position in the past, saying he does not support the "deregulation" of Wall Street, as some in the GOP have trumpeted, and argued instead that some regulations are necessary.

"Of course you have to have laws and regulations to make free markets able to produce and to be effective," Romney said at a fund-raising event in London last month. "But you have to make the regulations modern and up to date."

"Dealing with all the new regulatory burden has caused a lot of community banks to pull back–at the very time we'd like them to step forward and provide financing to small business," Romney continued. "I'd like to get rid of Dodd-Frank and go back and look at regulation piece by piece."

Some conservatives Tuesday were quick to react on Twitter to Biden's remarks, making a racial connection between the vice president's "chains" comment and slavery. Biden was speaking to a largely black crowd in Danville, in the heart of Virginia, a city with a long history of racial tension.

Responding to Biden's speech, Romney's campaign said Team Obama has "reached a new low."

"The comments made by the Vice President of the United States are not acceptable in our political discourse and demonstrate yet again that the Obama Campaign will say and do anything to win this election," Romney national press secretary Andrea Saul said in a statement. "President Obama should tell the American people whether he agrees with Joe Biden's comments."

Later Tuesday, Obama's deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter attempted 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."

Biden's Wall Street attack line was one of many launched at the Republican rival and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, during the vice president's speech Tuesday.

It marked the second day in a row in which Biden has unleashed some digs at the recently-formed GOP ticket. Piling onto comments he made the day prior, Biden argued the selection of Ryan now defines Romney.

"Before Governor Romney had a tendency to either be vague or change his position a lot. Well, it's now clear," Biden said, adding that there's "no distinction" between the policies of House Republicans and Romney.

The vice president also recycled a Washington Post report from June that claimed Romney's former private equity firm, Bain Capital, was a "pioneer" in advising the practice of outsourcing. Democrats have since used the report to peg Romney as a would-be "outsourcer-in-chief," though Romney's team argues the former Bain CEO had left the company before the firm began wading into the field of outsourcing.

Biden, however, wasted no time taking multiple jabs at Romney over the issue, including a new line: "Everybody wants to be a pioneer, but I don't want to be on that wagon train."

The vice president, who recently returned from a beachside vacation, retook the campaign trail this week, where he's known as the president's attack dog and pulls no punches in criticizing the Republican opposition.

While thanking the Virginia crowd and closing out his speech, however, the vice president made a mistake, mixing up the state in which he was speaking.

"With you we can win North Carolina again," he said, before exiting the stage.

Biden campaigned Monday in North Carolina, but has events all day in Virginia on Tuesday.

- CNN Political Reporter Peter Hamby contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Joe Biden • Mitt Romney • Wall Street
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. myviewis


    Did you see the Robme gaffe when he introduced Paul Ryan as the next President and then later flip-flopped to say he meant the next vice-president

    I have a better one!!!!!!! Obama said he had visited 57 states and was on his way to the 58th state back in 2008, seriously, it's just a mistake.

    August 14, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. Name Champsbabe

    Go Joe! Call it like it is! If Romneyhood & RyAyn get their hooks into us it will be the death of the middle class, & anyone under that priviledged 1% income bracket should realize this! My definition of an oxymoron: Blue collar Republican!! LOL. Go ahead & vote for everything that will destroy you & your families....Gotta love that Repuglican idealogy...

    August 14, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "I am far more concerned with the government chains Obama and the Democrats have placed on me RIGHT NOW."

    Taxes are lower than they have been in 60+ years. Gun rights have done nothing but expand (Amtrak, state parks, etc.). The health insurance mandate was a GOP idea that they pushed hard agaist Clinton...and a GOPer did it first anyway in MA. Really...what freekin chains are you talking about? Responsible regulation of Wall Street that has actually been criticized for not having enough teeth anyway? Protecting female employees from imposition of their employers' religious beliefs? Assuring equal pay? Freeing gay servicemembers from the humiliation and shame of DADT? Admitting that if the gov't is going to recognize private marital contracts between people by offering tax breaks and protection of certain rights, then it has to do so equally for gay couples?

    The only chains threatening the majority of people in this country are the chains fashioned by their employers and the exrtemely wealthy and giant coroprations, who have shackled the middle-class with stagnant salaries in order to shift the middle-class into the consumer debt product jail cell, so they can make money off investing in said debt/financial products.

    August 14, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. Jon

    Holy cow ... I just saw that 2 of the three polling firms that were the closest to predicting the last Presidential election have Romney ahead of Obama. Watch out ... Obama will shift into a higher attack gear.

    August 14, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. ART

    Wow Biden hit the nail on the head with that one . Oh and jon 2 unfunded wars with massive tax cuts, just how did you propose to pay for all that oh yea put it all in Obama lap and let him fix it, which by the way he is.

    August 14, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. Fair is Fair

    Wow Joe... that's some pretty inflammatory language.

    I've busted your stones for a long time now, Biden... but I'm being serious now. I really think there just might be something ailing you. For the sake of he country, get yourself checked out.

    August 14, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  7. molly

    Demagoguery...totally lame too.

    August 14, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  8. Beeman

    Perfect quote from the "You didn't build that" team. Reminds me of the people you see at every job that thinks the guy paying his check is a bad guy. Obama/Biden hate business people unless its their buddies they throw our money to in green energy.

    August 14, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  9. snsullivan

    Heaven help Biden when he has to meet Paul Ryan face to face. He'll have his big, empty head handed to him.

    August 14, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  10. Wilson

    Wow, if I said anything like that I would be fired for inciting racial tensions, or some such terminology on my pink slip. This coming from the VP. More proof he should never have been.

    August 14, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. politics as usual

    This kind of language will get us nowhere.

    August 14, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. normajean @ verizon ,com

    These comments all sound as if they were written by the same person.....someone who gets their news from FOX and the like.......This is serious. Anyone who has followed Romney for the last six to eight months should know by now that he has little to say....wou'ldnt commit himself to any thing and now that he has tied himself up with RYAN.. someone who wants to take away every right we have fought for....he is sitting back and letting Ryan take over ....It will take more than heaven to help us now!!! Don't you people read??? a newspaper or magazine that tells you just what is happening??? Do you take your vote so lightly that you don't care who runs your life...It sure sounds that way!!!!WAKE UP AMERICA.

    August 14, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "Bush's deficit in his last year was less than $700 billion ...."

    Until the wars and TARP were put on the books.

    August 14, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  14. HomeSweetHome

    Reps are very forgetful. Tell us what is wrong with the analogy Vice President Biden gave?

    Not a thing. The problem with Reps is it hit home in a very big way.

    August 14, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "I just saw that 2 of the three polling firms that were the closest to predicting the last Presidential election have Romney ahead of Obama."

    Nate Silver nailed the last one on the nose. He has Obama at well over 70% likelihood of winning in November and almost 80% likelihood of Obama winning if election was held today. The statistically most likely electoral college vote spread is Obama at or around 330 electoral college votes. The Ryan announcement will give Mittens a short, very temporary bump of enthusiasm and rallying from the GOP/Teatroll base and will die down, just like it always does for any challenger from either party. The reality is, Mittens and his Lapdog are swimming upstream and the current is quite strong.

    August 14, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. Mike

    Someone needs to wake up Joe and remind him that it was a Republican President that ended slavery and got the chains off in the first place. On second thought, let Uncle Choo Choo sleep for a while before he says anything else stupid.

    August 14, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  17. Namemonzell

    The truth is making joe and me sick, he is right on, take the shakles off me too

    August 14, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  18. amf140

    Now, just think for one minute, if Sarah Palin had said that. And he is "one heartbeat away". And, at one time, Nancy Pelosi was 2 heartbeats away. God help us.

    August 14, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "Someone needs to wake up Joe and remind him that it was a Republican President that ended slavery and got the chains off in the first place."

    Lincoln would spit in the face of the current GOP/Teatrolls for what they've done to the real Republican ideology.

    August 14, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  20. Al-NY,NY

    not a good choice of words by Joe.Ashe
    More scare tactics from Biden – thats alll they have to run on. He reminds me more of my friends senile uncle than a VP.

    oh brother....this from a supporter of "he's gutting welfare" and all you mindless sheep will end up supporting "welfare queens" and "those people"

    August 14, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |

    This is FACT
    "Medicaid now covers an estimated 70 million Americans and would cover an estimated 7 million more in 2014 under the Obama health law's expansion. In contrast, Ryan's plan could mean 14 million to 27 million Americans would ultimately lose coverage, even beyond the effect of a repeal of the health law, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation of Ryan's 2011 budget plan."

    August 14, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. truth hurts

    And the clueless Obama, Biden and Democrats wonder why the economy isn't getting better and companies aren't hiring people. They know we have complete imbeciles at the controls of the federal government that do nothing but demonize legitimate businesses and corporations. They are givng the American people one more chance to correct this mess in November. If Obama and the Democrat are still in town, the economy will be doomed.

    August 14, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  23. JustAO

    GOP write laws so the Free Market can do whatever it wants in order to get profits at the expense of our society and economy's well being. Look at the laws they write. None of which protect consumers or citizens from having any leverage if corrupt businesses and business practices rip people off or damage our economy.

    Why are we still even having this debate? 2008 was not a fluke and GOP legislation created this monster and they want us to believe they could write laws NOW that will protect our economy, environment, and consumers. PLEASE SPARE ME THE RIDICULOUSNESS!

    Look up GOP laws about economy, environment, and consumer protection. Everything is skewed toward the wealthy and powerful corporations with no help or protection for anyone else.

    August 14, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
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