Obama, Booker defend Biden 'chains' remarks
August 15th, 2012
08:56 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama, Booker defend Biden 'chains' remarks

(CNN) – President Obama and Newark Mayor Cory Booker defended a controversial remark made by Joe Biden on Tuesday, affirming their support of the vice president in interviews Wednesday and urging the remarks to be taken in context.

Obama told People Magazine that Biden's remarks meant "you, consumers, the American people, will be a lot worse off if we repeal these (Wall Street reform) laws, as the other side is suggesting."

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Obama continued, "In no sense was he trying to connote something other than that."

"Joe Biden has been an outstanding vice president," said Obama. "He is passionate about what's happening in middle-class families."

Booker also defended Biden in an interview with CNN on Wednesday, asking people to consider the vice president's full remarks.

"Please, I beg America, listen to the whole speech by the vice president, don't let the soundbites that the media's presenting to you, affect your mind. Listen to the whole speech," said Booker on "Piers Morgan Tonight."

"This was a substantive speech, about how we're going to reform Wall Street, about how we're going to protect consumers, about how we're going to stop the over-leveraging of banks, about how we're going to create a consumer Bill of Rights, a credit card Bill of Rights, how we're going to go against predatory lending," he explains. "All of that is the substantive things that my majority black city in Newark is concerned with. These are the real substantive issues that the media and that the soundbite politics is distracting us from."

Biden made the contentious remarks while referring to what he suggested are Mitt Romney's policies to deregulate Wall Street.

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

The president's defense came at the end of a three-day swing through Iowa.

"The truth is that during the course of these campaigns, folks like to get obsessed with how something was phrased even if everybody personally understands that's not how it was meant," Obama said while campaigning in Dubuque. "That's sort of the nature of modern campaigns and modern coverage of campaigns. But I tell you, when I'm traveling around Iowa, that's not what's on people's minds.

Following a barrage of criticism pointing to racial undertones, Biden has since clarified his comments, saying that Republicans originally used the word "unshackled" when referring to Rep. Paul Ryan's 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," Biden said.

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Filed under: 2012 • Cory Booker • Joe Biden • President Obama
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. LIP

    Really, you'all think he just meant those chains at Wall Street. You'all don't
    think he meant you'all as in the Southern you'all reference to slavery. Kind of reminds me of when Hillary did that you'all speech where she tried to do the southern Baptist church/black people way of talking and the media ended up making a deal about it and rightly should have.
    Bottom line is everyone knows what he meant, to include Obama and is just another reason why Obama is going to introduce Hillary as his running mate at the upcoming Democratic convention

    August 15, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  2. rob

    ill say it one more time, if your in the south, and u point your finger at a bunch of black folks and say u all be put in chains again. forget the banks, wallstreet shackles or what, what he said was race baiting and the liberals are great at it and can get away with it; I cant imagine Ryan saying the exact same thing to those blaclk folks what would happen.

    August 15, 2012 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  3. Lobo

    It is not that he said it it is how it could be taken and he said it in front of a bunch of black voters in a southern state.

    August 15, 2012 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  4. USA

    Good for you Booker, the only ones who are making this a race issue are the same ones who keep asking our President to prove he's and American

    August 15, 2012 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  5. Donkey Party

    Typical lies and smears from the domestic terrorist GOP. What's not to hate about them? They're the most divisive, racist, fear and hate driven organization in America. I wish the worst upon them, just as they wish the worst upon America.

    August 16, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  6. news reader

    When banks are free to do as they please we've seen what happened. Even after their bailout they gave themselves multi-million dollar bonuses. Without any regulation GOD help us. We are not sheep no matter what Romney and Ryan may think.

    August 16, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  7. Under the Ryan Plan, Romney Pays 0.87% in taxes

    The GOP wants to turn our country into a nation of wage-slaves. The analogy of putting us into chains seems pretty apt to me.

    August 16, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  8. Sailbug

    Biden told the truth and sometimes people can't stand to hear it. Once you know the truth, it requires action. We, as a people, need to take off our glasses and look in the mirror. We need to have an open mind about change.

    August 16, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  9. tcjones1965

    Y'all don't understand that down-south, You All is interpreted and said as "Y'all," which is exactly what Biden said, not "You All." Biden said "Y'all," which is inclusive not divisive, thus including everyone. Not the race-card Romney is trying to infer which shows whose the culprit in this fallacy.

    August 16, 2012 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  10. tcjones1965

    And if you said: "You People," which is divisive and considered an offensive remark. In the Southern United States, that phrase is divisive no matter if directed at any group or person.

    August 16, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  11. DavidW

    Of course, this article fails to mention that Biden was in front of a mostly black audience and was trying to adopt a black dialect when he said "They gon' put y'all back in chains."

    August 16, 2012 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  12. hate from the left but mostly lies

    If we don't unshackle wall street, our economny will not get better. You wouldn't lock up a cow just because it kicked you once while you were standing behind it. And if you do, don't be suprised when you don't have any milk to drink. Wall street and buisnesses are what fuels our economy. When we shackle buisnesses, we shackle the middle class at the same time.

    August 16, 2012 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  13. J.V.Hodgson

    Duh, Duh, shall I say it again DUH!!
    Lets have a big debate ( no wrong again argument) about the difference between "shackles" ( ooops sorry) "shackled" and " chains or chained"!! Welcome to litigious/ more correctly semantic America.
    I can check Bidens comments and emotive to make a point, but realistic in this context...I have no idea (not found) the Republican" shackled" comment, qed its context.
    The whole thing for or against party A or B therefore becomes a non sequitor.
    If you report properly as old time newspapers used to do and comment on the full in context remarks not the nice sounbites of chains etc, you would be doing your journalistic duty of reporting all the facts in context, and limiting nonsense criticisms from any candidate.

    August 16, 2012 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  14. Jerry

    Biden's "chains" remarks are indefensible. But we all know Obamaloney/Bidenloose!

    August 16, 2012 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
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