Giuliani questions Biden's 'balance' as aides defend vice president
August 19th, 2012
01:34 PM ET
11 years ago

Giuliani questions Biden's 'balance' as aides defend vice president

(CNN) – Surrogates for President Barack Obama defended Joe Biden on Sunday from critics who say the vice president's comments last week at an event in Virginia show his unsuitability for the office.

Rudy Giuliani, the Republican former mayor of New York, questioned Biden's "balance" on CBS, saying he wasn't sure Biden would be able to step into the top role if the situation arose.

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"I don't think he's nuts. I'm just saying I wonder if he's got the kind of balance - probably what I should have said is the balance to be president of the United States," Giuliani said. "This guy is like one gaffe after another, and he's a joke on late-night television."

On Tuesday, Biden told a predominantly black crowd in Danville, Virginia, that Mitt Romney's regulatory policies would "put y'all back in chains," a comment that drew near-immediate condemnation from Republicans, who said Biden was inciting racial division.

Obama himself said in interviews this week that Biden was not trying to connote anything aside from an attack on Romney's stance toward Wall Street, telling People magazine that Biden "has been an outstanding vice president."

On Sunday, Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager, offered a tough rejoinder to Giuliani, who also said earlier this week that Biden has "never been bright."

"I would like to point back to (Guiliani's) glowing introduction of Sarah Palin during the 2008 convention," Cutter said on ABC. "So if he wants to criticize the capacity of the vice president to take hold of this country, he should go back and look at those remarks and whether he still believes that they're true."

Robert Gibbs, an Obama campaign adviser, made a similar argument on Fox News, saying Biden's remarks were no more "racial" than similar rhetoric from Republicans.
"No more race-baiting than when John Boehner says let's unshackle Wall Street," Gibbs said of Biden's remarks.

And Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, said on NBC "there's not a racist bone in Joe Biden's body," though he conceded that the vice president could have chosen a better word.

"I think it was an indelicate play on the Republican words of shackling the economy with regulations and shackling small businesses, and so it was certainly an indelicate choice of words," O'Malley said.

CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

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Filed under: 2012 • Joe Biden • Rudy Giuliani
soundoff (301 Responses)
  1. FalseLeftRightParadigm

    If you consider yourself a Donkey or an Elephant you deserve to be treated like one.

    August 20, 2012 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  2. FalseLeftRightParadigm

    "The GOP is willing to stoop to record lows in order to win office.

    Whats scary is the amount of people in this country who lap it up, and hang on to every word of the GOP as gospel."

    Same can be said of the Dems too!

    You know, the dems were pretty cool until O started running for office. They use to be against more war, torture, and secret arrested. Now that their man is in... BOMB! Lybia and great job Obama on signing that NDAA. I wonder what you would have said if Bush signed the NDAA?

    August 20, 2012 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  3. Vanessa

    Why make such an uproar around a comment Vice president Biden made? Makes no sense why all the fuss when republicans make "gaffes" ona daily basis? vice president is rea! That's why we love you..! Keep being yourself! We appreciate ur honesty! Go get them.. Hispanics 4 Obama/Biden all the way!

    August 20, 2012 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  4. george of the jungle

    joe is great this from the party that tried tonpass palin off as vp material. Forward. Joe knows more about foreign policy that eddie munster ever will and mitt is just oblivious on the subject.

    August 20, 2012 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  5. dd

    Vice President Biden's handlers appear to be going to new lengths to keep their boss' antics and open-to-interpretation quips from spiraling out of control in the 24-hour news cycle.

    The close attention to the vice president's style and coverage comes after Biden set off a round of campaign crossfire over his comment that Republicans want to put people "back in chains." Pressed anew on whether President Obama might consider dropping his No. 2 in favor of, say, Hillary Clinton, the White House is standing by the vice president.

    Press Secretary Jay Carney said that decision was made "a long, long time ago" - which could explain why media coverage of Biden has been so tightly regulated lately, as aides try to prevent an off-the-cuff moment from dominating the day.

    biden is that drunk uncle you hate to see coming to family gatherings....embarrassing.

    August 20, 2012 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  6. Jean2

    Republicans please leave Vice President Biden alone and talk about solutions. HOW CAN WE GET MORE JOBS??

    HOW CAN WE MOVE TOWARD EQUALITY IN OUR VOTING RULES?? People DIED so that all would have the wright to vote.

    There is a crisis in the lives of adverage working indivuals that depend on and pay our elected officials to truly represent our country.

    August 20, 2012 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
  7. SFRich

    The GOP sip the strangest of Koolaids. Greed and shameless deception it's key ingredients. They make it up themselves, and feed it to each other like communion. It provides them with their own version of the world. They believe in the vision so that it hinders their ability to recognize truth. They peddle their drink to the ignorant electorate, which uses it to wash down their selfish bigotry.

    The GOP are masters at dividing, making us into a nation of people with little tolerance for those with different opinions. Compromise is seen as betrayal and weakness instead of a means to achieve something that works for the good of all.

    August 20, 2012 04:03 am at 4:03 am |
  8. nemo0037

    What an interesting criterion for fitness for the Presidency! If saying something awkward in public makes one "unbalanced," I wonder what label one would have had to put on George "the Shrub" Bush??

    August 20, 2012 04:06 am at 4:06 am |
  9. Mike

    I lost all respect for Giuliani at the 2008 GOP convention, when in one of the most disgusting moments in political history, he sneered at Obama's past as a community organizer. It was his first job out of college!! and an admirable job at that. At 22, Obama dedicated himself to advocating for the poor and disadvantaged. I can't erase the image of the literal sneer on Giuliani's face when he put that down. We should ALL be community organizers.

    By the way, Paul Ryan's first job was driving a Weinermobile. I shutter to envision Giuliani's face dripping with hypocrisy if he were ever to compare these two biographies.

    August 20, 2012 04:30 am at 4:30 am |
  10. J.V.Hodgson

    Guiliani, I ( dont) think he's nuts (( meaning he is implying it)) hows that for reading between the lines for what Bidens shackled meant. More balanced ( =somewhat unbalanced which is polite word for some lunatics) and then he is a joke on Late night TV. the only one I say was when he intended what he said to be joke!!
    The main is VP and was a senior Senator for many years.
    You thought you were smart but could not even get on the ticket in your party for national office... so time ST....Up
    When you cap it off with he could not be president your whole intent is clear EVERYTHING Biden NOW as well as Obama does has to be have been wrong poor and bad SO AS TO MAKE RYAN LOOK GOOD. so be honest/direct and meaningful with you attacks not this rubbish.
    I think Biden should make it clear that Romney and Ryan will Unshackle Wall street... and when he does criticise that!!
    Fed up of all this meaningless rubbish for so called campaigning purposes... and both sides need to pack it in.

    August 20, 2012 04:58 am at 4:58 am |
  11. Jerry

    As with the last election the BHO staffers are trolling the posts to bash every one with an opinion. To say that Biden is great proves my point, if you really believe that please open your eyes or get some meds.

    August 20, 2012 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  12. Dee G

    I'm sorry, but Guiliani is the unbalanced one!

    August 20, 2012 05:31 am at 5:31 am |
  13. TomNPitt

    Rudy's such an intelligent guy. After all, wasn't it his idea to put the New York City's Center of Operations in the basement of the World Trade Center – even after it was attacked once already. Good placement of man-power.

    August 20, 2012 06:13 am at 6:13 am |

    Balance? Rudy wears women's clothes.

    August 20, 2012 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  15. Robert

    I'm not saying that Biden is an idiot, but when he opens his mouth all doubt is removed. Does everyone know that the communist party has endorsed Obama? Hmm. Makes you think doesn't it?

    August 20, 2012 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  16. Lou Krause

    Biden hit the nail on the head with his rhetorical device. Romney's proposals to would put economic chains on all of us. I think this is a case of the truth hurts.

    August 20, 2012 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  17. TimM

    The only comment I can make is imagine if Romney or Ryan made this statement. What if Romney had said something similar at the NAACP? The Secret Service wouldn't have been able to get him out of there quicker. To me this is a classic example of the "N" word, we can use it, you can't.

    August 20, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  18. martin

    Rudy is still smarting from Biden's characterization of Giuliani's speeches "a noun, a verb and 911"

    August 20, 2012 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  19. Yoshi Togukawa

    He question Biden's balance when the GOP has got Akin?

    August 20, 2012 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  20. JohnBorg

    Wait... they come criticizing Biden when he states something poorly – thought the media and politicians have taken this out-of-context, as Biden was merely paraphrasing aspects of Romney's speech for dramatic affect. If Republicans are going to do this, they must stop being hypocrites, as nearly all of them had said things as dumb as Biden, including Romney.

    August 20, 2012 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  21. 40acres

    Wasn't it Guliani who said Mitt Romney had no core values. Wasn't he against Romney before he was for him? Does anything he says really matter?

    August 20, 2012 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  22. keith

    Rudy is still upset because of the time Biden nailed Giuliani for fearmongering about 9/11. He said its easy to write a Giuliani speech. "A noun, a verb, 9/11"

    August 20, 2012 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  23. mommytwice

    so, perhaps it was an "indelicate" choice of words, I'll give you that. But unbalanced? No. He hasn't made any more gaffes than Romney has, that's for sure. No one on earth has made more gaffes than Romney has. The GOP has made everything about Obama racial...born in Kenya, he's an "other" and not like "us", he's a Muslim...THEY made race and "otherness" an issue, so one vague reference to race from Democrats and they come unhinged?? I think not. I for one can see through all that nonsense, and still won't be voting for a single Republican this November. Not ONE.

    August 20, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  24. Bob Ho

    can u say Alzheimer/

    August 20, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  25. Matte

    That is why Mayor Giuliani was laughed out of New York. His opinion means nothing to anyone. This man is the biggest flip flopper in the history of politics. He just needs to go back to filling in for Elmer Fudd. I smell me a twicky wabbit.

    August 20, 2012 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
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