Romney: VP Biden's Remark Hits "A New Low"

By: From CNN
By: From CNN

(FROM 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."

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.

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