August 15th, 2012
07:27 PM ET
11 years ago

Wilder, McCain, Palin join criticism of Biden

(CNN) – Joe Biden was the subject of harsh scrutiny Wednesday as a prominent former Democratic governor joined some big name Republicans in blasting the vice president for a controversial remark made at a recent campaign stop.

Biden suggested Tuesday that Mitt Romney's policies would "put y'all back in chains" when speaking about Romney's plan for Wall Street reform at an event in Danville, Virginia.

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Former Democratic Virginia Governor Doug Wilder offered his criticism in an interview on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" saying Biden's remarks were racially-charged.

"First of all, without question they were appeals to race," Wilder said. "The important thing I got out of this was Biden separated himself from what he accused the people of doing. As a matter of fact, what he said is they are going to do something to y'all, not to me. Not us. So he was still involved with that separate American."

"As far as I am concerned, the President would not associate himself with those remarks," he said. "And I expect as the days go forward there will be more clarity associated with what the president feels about what Joe Biden said."

He also repeated an assertion he's made previously that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should have been swapped in as President Obama's vice president. Wilder first made the suggestion in a 2010 op-ed published by Politico.

"As a matter of fact, over eight or nine months ago that it would have been in the president's best interest to pick Hillary because-and I'll go even further," Wilder said. "If Hillary were on that ticket today based on the job she's done as secretary of state, I think that would be a clearer advantage the president would be seeing."

Wilder added, however, "It's not going to happen. It's too late. I think she'll be getting herself together for 2016. But that doesn't help the president today. What the president needs to do is disassociate himself from trying to show anybody that division is what this administration is about as some may have said, 'cool it,' 'back up."

Biden has since clarified his remark suggesting his comments were in reference to Republican language used in talking about newly minted Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's budget proposal. Biden called the effects of his opponents' economic policies "outrageous."

Not surprisingly, Republicans are expressing sentiments similar to Wilder's.

Arizona Sen. John McCain said Wednesday on Fox News that "it might be wise" for President Obama to swap out Biden for another vice presidential candidate but that it would not happen "for a whole variety of reasons including the fact that I'm not sure if I were Hillary Clinton I would want to be on that team."

Sarah Palin mirrored those remarks on Tuesday in an interview also on Fox advising Obama to replace Biden.

Artur Davis, a four-term Democratic congressman from Alabama and former Obama campaign co-chair turned GOP surrogate, offered possibly the harshest criticism of Biden's remarks yet saying the vice president went to a place he "never should have gone" in his remarks and called the president's words insulting.

"It's a divisive tactic that's insulting to African Americans," Davis told Blitzer. "It's insulting to the American people. It's insulting to the legacy that he used to build up as an orator who used to know how to inspire people instead of strike fear in people's heart."

Then-Senator Clinton campaigned on the Democratic ticket in 2008 against President Obama. Following her failed White House run, Clinton was speculated to be a potential vice presidential pick for the Illinois senator.

Obama, however, chose Biden, then-senator from Delaware, to be his running mate at a campaign event in Springfield, Illinois in late August of 2008 telling supporters that he is "a leader who is ready to step in and be president."

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

–CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report

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Filed under: 2012 • Joe Biden • President Obama
soundoff (80 Responses)

    Give me a break. Maybe the VP reads this blog because I've sad aong if R&R are elected, it will be modern day slavery. They'll ship more of our jobs overseas, destroy unions and have you working for pennies on the dollar. Sounds like social slavery to me. So the critics of the VP's comments can suck it!!!

    August 15, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  2. Anthony... proud tax payer

    squawk squawk squawk.... thats all I hear coming from the Right now a days...

    Romney not releasing his tax info is insulting to ALL Americans... wheres there responses to that.

    McCain, Palin.. Ryan and Romney will soon be joining your names as 2nd runner ups...

    August 15, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  3. NVa Native

    From the party who promotes the nasty lies about the President being "not American enough" or "something other than one of us", they now push their fake out rage that some one other than them is using race?
    Why does the GOP hate the American people so much as to assume they are so stupid as to believe their lies about their President?

    August 15, 2012 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  4. Common sense grandma

    Palin's political advice on running a campaign - isn't that a little like Custer giving advice on planning a surprise attack?

    August 15, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  5. Phil Thomas

    It's funny how the most divisive party always looks for an opening to throw some mud. Trust me bidens body of work speaks for itself. Palins rhetoric and the way she attacks Obama speaks for itself, as for McCain why is this man always grandstanding on TV. Then you got this pro Hillary camp that always looking for a way to pull her in, Bidens speech to the NAACP and his reception tells you all you need to know. Dont pretend to care about the black community GOP please, actions speak louder than words

    August 15, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  6. Jim Ward

    Go Joe! Vice President Biden is a good man, a great leader and has an outstanding personal and public record of achievement. Why do so many commentators - and even some Democratic leaders - feel the need to preface their calling out the Republican BS with the notion that the Vice President said something wrong? Americans ARE hugely shackled by debt, by the banks and by Wall Street, and Republican policies supporting downsizing, outsourcing and making millions by bankrupting companies and laying off workers.

    Republicans - who have a long history of racially dividing this country - are seeking to further unleash Wall Street and the banks via deregulation. The chains are real and they will only get tighter if Ryan/Romney have their way.

    Stop apologizing and fight. We - black and white alike - DO need to free ourselves from the chains of the conservative Republican policies that have destroyed our downtowns, squashed small business, sent good American jobs overseas, fed the bloated military contractors, increased corporate welfare, allowed massive tax evasion and offshore bank accounts, and continue to promote the fiction that tax cuts for the wealthy create jobs... (So where are those Bush tax cut jobs anyhow?)

    August 15, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  7. drake mallard

    Anyone in their right mind can't vote Romney.

    George Romney resisted releasing a single year of taxes, arguing that it wouldn't present an accurate picture...but then he made a surprising offer: He would release the past 12 years of tax returns...That way, it wouldn't look like a stunt

    August 15, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  8. ED FL

    President Obama and VicePresident Biden are probably laughing so hard they can't think straight To have the likes of Palin and Mccain and [Wilder] whoever he is being critical of the VP is hilarious. That caiber of that threesome have about as much credibility as Tom Delay and the incompetent other GOP Jail Birds. Mccain is just one more old coot whoses days in the sunshine are way behind him.Too bad his political career is damaging a once decent military career.

    August 15, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  9. Bruce

    Isn't Wilder a Clinton left over. He's still angry that Obama beat his horse. He's a DINO in every way.

    August 15, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  10. ED FL

    Glad to see that your CNN/GOP censors are working.Keep it up so I can continue to collect my social security check.

    August 15, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  11. commonsensematters

    it would be nice to read an article by journalist with details to inform the voters regarding the plans of the candidates. the truth about what each candidate will do for the american people. there are so many mis informed americans that will be voting against their best interest because the MEDIA/JOURNALIST fail to do their jobs. anybody with half a mind knows there was nothing racist or evil coming from the statement biden made. each of the candidates are spewing negative information and the republicans have become a master of lies however no one seem to want to call them on the lies instead they are permitted daily to perpetuate the lies. i would like to say the republicans have learn to speak in one tongue. obviously they receive their talking points daily because when you listen to them the words are verbatim. perhaps the democrats should get on board to keep this election consistent. I say vote all of the congressman,senators out of office. have a limit term in both congress and senate and make it a violation if they are in bed with lobbyist. THE POOR UNEDUCATED UNEMPLOYED AMERICANS ARE IN DEEP KEMPS–T. TO MUCH HATE IN THIS WORLD THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS SEEM NOT TO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF WORKING AS A TEAM/UNIT!! GOD HELP AMERICA!!!

    August 15, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  12. VG

    The thing I have found amazing is that women should fail to see how crudely and cynically they are being manipulated by Obama. Obama had a chance to push forward the first woman vice-president. He was going to win the the post-Bush environment. Hillary was, goes without saying, the most deserving candidate for that post. And it would have been a historical moment bar none for the women of this country. Instead Obama chose this buffoon. It was really an insult to women. Yet they continue to support him. I just don't get it.

    August 15, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  13. FredKelly

    Biden is Chris Farley in "Black Sheep".

    August 15, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  14. Lizzie

    Well VP Biden said before, I always mean what I say.

    August 15, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  15. Desmond, a Canadian

    Disappointed with McCain(again) and Wilder making a huge mountain out of a molehill. Biden was clearly responding to Rawmoney's words about shackles. I am sure McCain and Wilder do not want to be identified with the likes of Juliani and Palin

    August 15, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  16. pimpson

    Sniper fire Clinton would be worse than Biden. Don't remember why Obama won the election in th first place? It's because of what a buffoon Hilary was on the campaign trial.

    August 15, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  17. ObamaReigns

    Oh, please...."If this offends anyone" and I dare say McCain/Palin are having fits over this.when Palin, herself, said the most hateful words ever when on their campaing trail.

    August 15, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  18. paul

    The fact is romney will put you in chains to wall st to the weatlhy and to him..ther is NO race connotation,anyone who sees that has a race problem,you do know you can refer to being held in chains be it by banks,companies,govt or wall st without referring to race!..Tea party do it all the tie,with their "Break the chains of big govt" come its ok for repubs to use it then?????

    August 15, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  19. USA

    Amazing how these guys who called our President un-American, terrorist and socialist have the nerve to complain after they have called him the food stamp President for blacks in America, Illegal Alien, Welfare President for blacks supporters and so much more....The party of Hate, fear and division.....GOP..MITT IS A LIAR WITH NO SPINE !!!!!

    August 15, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  20. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Simple minded Palin can complain and join in the conversation when it's something simple like this but when the conversation is about math(numbers/economy) you won't hear any numbers coming out of her mouth.

    August 15, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  21. manhandler1

    His audience (mostly black) knew what he meant. And it definitely wasn't racist. And when you think about R & R's proposed policies, his statement is right on.

    August 15, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  22. drjmng

    Does Sephanie cutter think we the American people are stupid?

    August 15, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  23. T'sah From Virginia

    I think the media stretches remarks more than what it is worth. I don't feel the same other African Americans are feeling; naming to thus far, Davis and Wilder – The other White folks speaking on this who all of a sudden seem CONCERNED, would not even lift a finger to help African Americans – Have you ever seen Palin, Boehner, McCain (well, maybe McCain), Ryan, Fox News and others at any Black Events – Romney goes in front of NAACP and makes an ASH out of himself and he also BARKED at African American children and NO ONE spoke on that – NO ONE, Wilder or Davis – and blocking African American votes over voter ID is more devastating than Biden’s remarks and that was the Republican’s plan in order to TRY and win this election.

    African Americans do not need anyone telling us how we accept what is said in the media or at events. When there is UPROAR, than you will know it affects us!!!

    Obama/Biden 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!!

    August 15, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  24. Joel Miller

    Biden is right in what he said. There is nothing wrong with pointing out that Black people suffer more under austerity than white people. That is a cold hard fact that you can measure with statistics. He could have added the rest of us will be reduced to third world status if the Republicans have there way. Just recently Romney accused Obama falsely of reversing welfare to work legislation of 1996. If that wasn't a veiled divisive racial attack I don't know what is.

    August 15, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  25. n

    The party of "No" is also becoming the spoiled punk party of crocodile tears. Biden is just telling the truth about how the people are enslaved and chained to will of the 1%. The extreme conservative rightwing sheep of their demigod Ayn Rand. "They Are Really a Borg republican party of the collective, enslave by the plutocratic regime of hypocrisy. I don't know what I just said, but it sound good while I was typing it! By the way, Romney, we are still waiting for those taxes. LOL!

    August 15, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
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