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. Gop

    you prove that it is your side that lap it up and act as if every word that Obama speaks is the gospel. the GOP is willing to show you the truth about your liberal democrats and that is what upsets you Kool-Aid drinking twits!

    August 20, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  2. MP in VA

    The most shocking part of Giuliani's comment was that he didn't invoke 9-11 in his condemnation.

    August 20, 2012 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  3. chill

    Pretty funny comment from a guy who couldn't even run a marriage.

    August 20, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |

    I'm African-American and found nothing wrong with the comments. He was referencing to the banks. Any news organization or politician trying to make more out of it is stirring up trouble. I've been saying for quite some while that a republican congress and presidency will lead to social slavery. When all of our jobs have been shipped overseas, what's going to be left behind for you to do?

    August 20, 2012 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  5. foffe1

    ...saying he wasn't sure Biden would be able to step into the top role if the situation arose. ...wasn't sure? Biden would not be able to manage a 3 car parade. Dah! He makes Sarah Palin look like a scholar.

    August 20, 2012 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  6. T. E. Lawrence O. A.

    MORE GOP CONDESCENSION TO BLACK COMMUNITY, telling them what they should and should not say or listen to.

    A BUNCH OF WHITE GUYS know better than the black audience who applauded Biden? Who are they to try and tell the black community what is acceptable and what's not?

    August 20, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  7. ohio

    I saw O'Malley and Rudy yesterday on that show and O'Malley could not have been more prepared
    for the goon GOP he shared air time with. O'Malley was prepared for every question and gave very solid answers.
    The GOP guy half of the time did not even answer the moderator's question. I also saw Rudy and he behaved in
    such a low-class tacky manner that when the panel that immediately followed began debating there was this
    moment of awkward quiet from some. It was just a really stupid move on Rudy's part. The more i witness the GOP
    saying awful things that they really mean the more i feel it's ridiculous for the GOP to take Biden out of context
    for something that they have twisted around. They KNOW he meant that wall street will hurt us again. They KNOW it.
    They have just seen a weak opportunity to villify Biden once again. It is frightening that there are so many people
    out there who actually buy this GOP spin game==we will all be the ones to pay for it. If you are not voting for Obama
    you don't have a clue,

    August 20, 2012 08:16 am at 8:16 am |

    Rudy is still upset for Joe call him out 4 years ago. Everything Giuliani says is "noun, noun ,verb, 9/11."

    August 20, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  9. Brian Hartman

    Gibbs is being disingenuous, at best. Biden said, to a predominantly black crowd, that they (referring to Republicans) want to "put y'all back in chains". Affecting a Southern accent (after all, he's not a Southerner) for such a racially charged remark really shows where he was coming from. That's very different from using a shackle metaphor (and not referring to the past) to a more diverse audience.

    August 20, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  10. Brian Hartman


    That's not actually what was said. What was said was:

    "I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine. Let’s be fair and reasonable."

    Notice the use of the word "contort". He wasn't saying that black voters shouldn't be accommodated. He was saying that the process shouldn't be changed to give them special privileges. And he pointed out that anyone who wanted to could cast an absentee ballot.

    August 20, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  11. v_mag

    The comments about the Vice President have begun to come up in order to distract voters from the horrendous choice of wingnut Ryan by Romney. Ryan is so far out of the main stream and would be such a disaster should he ever become president that Rob-money trots out one of his favorite big-city nitwits to make disparaging comments about Joe Biden.

    And also, of course, to distract from Rob-money's failure to release his tax returns.

    August 20, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Consider the source of the opinion. These remarks are coming from a guy who cheated on his wife while mayor of NYC. This is the same guy who knowingly hired a former chauffer for the mob to be his Police Chief, and who went to jail because of his mob connections. This is the same guy who figured that if he campaigned nowhere but in Florida, that he could win the Republican nomination.

    August 20, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  13. A True Conservative

    I see that the left is out in force defending this guy – what a joke he is – and the left is for trying to defend him.

    August 20, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  14. Rudy NYC


    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
    Joe Biden was lampooning, within the same context, Mitt Romney's use the word "shackles." It came out "chains." In case you didn't notice, over half of the audience laughed while many others shouted, "Woo," as if he had landed a good punch. The only people who were offended are the liberals shaking their heads at the faux indignation coming from the right wing.

    August 20, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  15. tv22

    I love the way Dems jump through hoops and try to say its because they said something about unshackling Wall Street. First of all, those banks they all hate are among our highest taxpayers – right after the beloved oil companies. Second, please tell us what historical context has "y'all" and "in chains" when it relates to Wall Street!

    August 20, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  16. Dave

    This is coming from a guy whose party nominated Sarah Palin to be VP. Enough said.

    August 20, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  17. pam

    People can say Joe meant this or that, but when he said Y'all, he meant southerners, and when he said "back" in chains", well, who else from the south or anywhere in the U.S. has ever been in chains? Sounds to me like he is trying to accuse repubs of wanting black people to be slaves again. Strange, most slave owners were democrat.

    August 20, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  18. rude

    Biden bad VP pick but Palin best VP pick? Giuliani has been breathing too much Twin Towers ashes. His best friend Bernard kerick in jail for ripping off the Twin Towers contributions, he's not the only one profiting from the attack.

    August 20, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  19. Whome

    The guy is a nut case we don't need experts to tell us that, he's not suited to be a dog catcher let alone VP.

    August 20, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  20. ohio

    @true conservative
    I see that the left is out in force defending this guy. . . . .what a joke. . . .

    Do you even listen to what your conservative club members are saying? People like you are the joke.
    And the ruin of the future of this country. It has nothing to do with left or right–all one has to do
    is turn on a show other than FOX and listen. The GOP has gone over the cliff and reasonably minded
    voters need to vote them out. You are not hearing how stupid the GOP has become. I hope you don't have
    daughters who might suffer from these lunatics, or GOD any child under 55.

    August 20, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  21. Anonymous

    A True Conservative

    I see that the left is out in force defending this guy – what a joke he is – and the left is for trying to defend him.

    Defending Rudy Guilliani? Ha Ha.
    Rather hypocritical of the right to pretend to defend minorities against Joe Biden while at the same time pushing to suppress the black vote throughout America, don't you think?

    August 20, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  22. Puddin

    Rudy is not the most articulate person himself. Those that were there and the rest of us who are not after blood, know what Joe Biden was saying, so lay off Joe.

    August 20, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  23. Anonymous

    Romney is like the character in Kelly's Heroes that ran the artillery squad.You could always count on him to drop bomns on his own side

    August 20, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  24. Keeping It Real

    Given the numerous idiotic, lamebrain, lies/remarks that Biden has uttered during the past three years, one would have to question his mental state. The guy is a ticking time bomb. Could you imagine what he might do or say if he became President? Scary, isnt it?

    August 20, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  25. Scott

    People on both sides need to stop defending ignorance. I don't care if they are republican or democrat – it doesn't matter, I don't care if it is Akin or Biden – they are self serving greedy people that don't even have the intelligence to think before they talk. We have a country going down the fiscal drain and this is what is being talked about. Everyone is out for themselves these days. Politicians will say / do whatever it takes to stay in their lap of luxury. Why is it that everyone plays along with this and tries to defend someone like Biden or Akin? If you are a democrat, why can't you just come out and say – "Yea that was totally the wrong choice of words". If you are a republican, you should also denounce the moronic comments of Akin.

    August 20, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
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