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. 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.

    August 14, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. Silence DoGood

    And by comparison, I suppose the Obama administration letting Goldman Sachs off being prosecuted after getting a big donation from them in 2008 is a big win for the regular guy. What was the Change again?

    August 14, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  3. Ray E. (Georgia)

    I think Joe is losing it. You can book your own life. Or you can vote for the Nanny State. It pretty much failed in the old Sviet Union and is failing here. We have a 16 Trillion Dollar debt to prove it. It is of course Stupid to say Romney is only for the Rich. Nothing is stopping anyone from going into business if they want to. Sucessful people sometimes start a business and hire people.

    August 14, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  4. rob

    There isn't one thing that Biden was qouted in this piece that is either true or comprehendable !!!!! The guy doesn't even know where the hell he is ?!? And, of course, the editors at CNN decided to qoute him without "The vice president also recycled a Washington Post report from June " This report was completely debunked as a lie by the Washington Post itself but you wouldn't know that from this rediculous piece of highschool reporting.

    This would laughable if it wasn't so SAD

    August 14, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  5. Michael

    I agree! Robme with his team of Bush advisors, including Dick Cheney will give this country a decided "end" to all as we know it today! Just look at the last repuglican administration for proof! Evaporation of 1/2 trillion surplus, -8.9 GDP, 11 trillion national debt, 1.3 trillion deficit, 2.8 trillion in tax cuts (unpaid for)2 Wars (unpaid for), Medicare prescription plan (unpaid for), 3 trillion borrowed from China, a Wall Street, Banking, Auto, Mortgage crisis’s, losing over 800,000 jobs monthly and a economy on the brink of depression when President Obama took office!

    August 14, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  6. hotairwarrior

    Deregulation got us into this financial mess and it won't in the long run get us out.

    August 14, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |

    Maybe by the end of today this genius will figure out which state he is in.

    August 14, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. califrepub


    If a republican said anything even close to this, minorities (which I am) would be foaming at the mouth... Where's the "outrage" at his "insensitivity?"

    August 14, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. Jon

    Hurry up ... I can not wait for enough time to pass so we can see little Joe and Ryan debate ...

    The only problem is that when the debate is over, all the whining that we will hear from the liberals is that it was an unfair fight. Ryan knew what he was talking abotu while little Joe didn't.

    August 14, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. Malory Archer


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


    Give it up – they never had it to begin with.

    August 14, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  11. Silence DoGood

    Back to the game plan of 2008:
    GOP – be afraid of "socialism" so vote for our guy.
    DNC – be afraid of being called "racist" – so vote for our guy.

    August 14, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. Amused

    Actually, rob, most of what he said was true. Romney has repeatedly complained that the 'job creators' are so put-upon because they have to actually *gasp* follow the law! According to Romney, laws are for the 'little people'. Romney supports a bill where banks no longer get to pick their regulators, and I'll believe you. I'll also only believe that corporations are people when Texas executes one.

    August 14, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. Mike

    Romney wants to replace the Affordable Care Act, but he gives no specifics as to what he wants to do. He wants to replace Dodd-Frank, but he gives no specifics as to what he wants to do. Typical Republican – his only ideas are to be "anti-Democrat". Someone let me know when he has an actual solution to propose. So if on day one he wants to repeal everything, I guess the powerful will just run rough-shod over the rest of us while we wait for Romney to actually have a plan.

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

    oppppssss Michael ... you kind of got your facts all mixed up ... it was the second year of Obama's adminstration that the deficit hit 1.3 trillion dollars ... it was $1.4 trillion in Obama's first year, and $1.5 trillion last year ...

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

    Therefore Obama in his first 2 years in office had a bigger deficit than Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush2 combined ....

    I have to admit ... I like to attempting to spin your lies into truths ... but there was no one called rumpelstelskin ... and you can not spin straw into gold so no mater how many times you try to tell that lie ... it will never become truth ... sorry to break your heart with that knowledge.

    August 14, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  15. BlkPwr817

    Romney/Ryan plan is no different from the FAILED Bush plan. They will bankrupt this country again in order to get richer. Get richer and not pay taxes on By the way the Justice Dept. not the Obama Admin. let Goldman Sachs off the hook. America doesn't want Bush 2.0...Sorry Romney.

    OBAMA 2012!

    August 14, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  16. Reggiedw

    Biden is getting desperate. He must be wondering what is going to happen to him come November/12 when he and Obama are not re-elected. One suggestion is that he can always go to Chicago with Obama and help him with the community organizing. I think he is losing his mind so he had better be careful. Biden had better get use to the fact that it will be a Rmoney/Ryan ticket in November/12. Another suggestion is that he can start checking the "want ads".... he might be lucky to find a new job. Maybe he can be a clown at children's parties......he would make a good one.

    August 14, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  17. Darryl

    I've said it all along, Wallstreet Banker Ceo, ( Romney ) That's Exactly what he is. A Republican, T-Party Extremist ( Ryan ) That's Exactly what he is. These 2 men are not what we need in control of the most powerful country in the world not to mention in the W/H. Wallstreet destroyed the country by gambeling our life saveings away and the Republicans are currently destroying the economy. That's their mission. Make President Obama a 1 term President ! It is NO-GOOD!

    August 14, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  18. ryche

    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.

    Hahah.. typical lib... Did you also know that obama did the EXACT same thing when he introduced biden for the first time.. google it... so what do you think of your messiah now.. HAHHAHHA... but im sure being the good partisan lib you are, you'll somehow forgive your messiah..

    August 14, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  19. rob

    The scariest thing about this guy is the old term "One heartbeat away from the Presidency"

    Nov. 6th can't come fast enough.

    Romney/Ryan 2012

    August 14, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  20. silly liberals

    Keep in mind that this is the same man that kept yelling for a man in a wheel chair to stand up. Only reason Obama chose Biden was to keep himself alive. Nobody would take out a president when you have Biden waiting in the wings. I have to admit, it is a smart move.
    Biden also makes Obama look brilliant and that takes alot once the speech writers are gone.

    August 14, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  21. Jon

    Now come on ... we all know that Biden was trying to protect Obama ... so when he was standing in Virginia and calling it North Carolina ... What he ment to say was North Virginia Carolina ... wheich we all know is the 53rd state in the union, or was it the 54th ... I don't know, because I am so old taht when I went to school and took civics, we were taught that there were only 50 states ...

    Maybe that is why Obama will not release his school transcripts ... he doenst want the American people to realize that he learned about the 57 states in the USA from Indonesia ... or do they teach that at Harvard?

    August 14, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. JT in Atl

    Sounds like Biden is speaking code to "watch out for the evil white man".

    August 14, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. myviewis

    Wait, Wall Street? But Wall Street supported Obama big time in the 2008 election and now Obama is against those very people that helped him financially and win his presidency?

    August 14, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. Shizuoka

    Joe Bribeme and the Obamanation are the problem. The Dems always trying fix problems by destroying the thing they are trying to fix. Like using a shot gun to kil flies. Health care is the classic example.

    August 14, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. Steve in PA

    Just looking forward to the debates.

    August 14, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
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