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. Bill in CA.

    Old "Elastic Mouth"...comedy(?) relief for the campaign season.

    August 14, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  2. obama victim

    national disgrace

    August 14, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  3. Lizzie

    Is he talking about the new Dodds/Frank bill, that wants to get rid of small hometown banks and only leave big ones.

    August 14, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  4. TheVoice2

    Mitt Phony's motto "vote me President now, give you details later'....for the rich, by the rich, with the rich.

    August 14, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  5. TJD

    The quote at the beginning of the article is a little misleading because it leaves out the beginning of Biden's sentence. Biden said, "he [Romney] said in the first 100 days, he’s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules . . . " So, Biden was not just making a general statement about what he thinks Romney will do, Biden was implying that Romney actually made the statement that in the first hundred days he would "let the big banks once again write their own rules." As the rest of the article correctly states, Romney never said what Biden claims he said.

    August 14, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Biden must be holding something on Obama. No president would stand for the things Biden has said and done, and remain vice president, unless he was.

    August 14, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |

    The last budget Obama submitted was rejected by the United States Senate 97-0.

    In the prior year, Obama's budget was rejected by the Senate 95-0.

    Do a Google search of Erskine Bowles (a Democrat) speaking about Paul Ryan's budget proposal.

    August 14, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  8. Chris Williams

    Biden must be holding something on Obama. No president would stand for the things Biden has said and done, and remain vice president, unless he was.

    August 14, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  9. UDidntBuildThat

    Biden vs Ryan. Any questions?

    August 14, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. dee

    "A huge thing about VP Biden, he does,nt mince words about "What the "Disaster" Romney/Ryan budget would and will be!!! You,ve got my vote sir!!!! Obama/Biden 2012

    August 14, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  11. Kishman

    This is Myth Dumbney / Ryan's plan in a nutshell. Gotta love Joe for straight talk.

    August 14, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  12. swisscottage

    From the party that prevented accountants from recognizing options as expenses...

    August 14, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |

    "He is going to put y'all back in chains."

    Massah Biden, we will still get our cornbread and chitlins?

    August 14, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  14. Lionel

    Got to love Joe. Go Joe, Go Joe. Go get that right wing nut Ryan.

    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.

    Obama / Biden 2012

    August 14, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  15. UDidntBuildThat

    Yes Biden, watch out for those boogie-men Romney & Ryan.

    August 14, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. truth hurts

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

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

    Biden and the Democrats have clearly lost their collective hive mind. It is almost getting to the point of pure hilarity, if it wasn;t so scary because they control our governemnt and the launch codes. We can make a game of this though and try and guess what pure nuttiness they will come out with next.

    OK, here's mine... If Romney and Ryan are elected asteroids will shower the planet and we'll all be destroyed!

    August 14, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  17. cali girl

    Robmey is taking it right back to the Dubya legacy. Maybe I should go take my 401K out and put it under my mattress.

    August 14, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. mlstowe

    The only chains Americans will end up in are the ones the Obama Administration place us in

    August 14, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  19. Packernet

    Wow, back to slavery days. Really?

    August 14, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. Mark Aliason

    Will we ever see the day return when politicians can speak intelligently to voters without using "hate speech" disguised as iinfantile references. Not likely when emotional thinking trumps using logic and reason. My love for this country is only diminished by the depths from which our "leaders" lead.

    August 14, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. Packernet

    Wow, back to slaver days. Really?

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

    Re Ryan / Romney budget:

    I hope that you didn't require federally subsidized loans to attend college, and that your family won't need them, either, and that you have sufficient assets to buy private health insurance when you are 80, because under the Ryan plan, that's what you'll have to do, and I'm sure it will be really affordable individual coverage for old people, and if there is a fire at your house, I hope you intend to put it out yourself, and I am guessing you don't use the interstate highway system, or fly anywhere, because you couldn't do that without the government created by the taxes that we, the people, pay.

    Instead of joining the bandwagon of "personal freedom" versus government, perhaps you should make a list of the myriad ways in which you, and the rest of society, benefit from the government's role in our lives. You know that little thing called the internet, which enabled you to post your views, developed out of government supported research. In fact, most of high tech benefited enormously from government supported research in silicon valley in the 40s and 50s, you know, when real patriots were proud to pay taxes, and valued the government initiatives that improved all of their, and now our, lives. And I hope you never get cancer, because you couldn't possibly accept treatment that might have been developed through research funded by the federal government.

    The list goes on. Maybe you should consider living on a deserted island somewhere. Lots of personal liberty there.

    August 14, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  23. Anonymoose

    This is in contrast to the Democrat's Wall Street, where Jon Corzine is not in chains.

    August 14, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    What a disgraceful thing to say. Obama/Biden just lost my vote.

    August 14, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  25. Jon

    "heavy charge"?

    What journalists do: examine the charge. Is it true?

    August 14, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
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