Team Obama says that Biden was referring to the harm to consumers if Republicans 'unshackle' Wall Street. But critics dub the remark an appeal to race.
Since then lots of Republicans – and some prominent Democrats – have hit the incumbent VP hard for a remark they say had racial undertones. When he uttered the phrase “back in chains” Biden was talking about GOP plans to repeal the Obama administration’s Wall Street reforms. But much of the Virginia audience was African-American, and Biden’s words were an unmistakable reference to slavery’s bondage, in the view of critics.
“You know, these are the kinds of things you say when you’re desperate in a campaign,” said presumptive GOP VP nominee Rep. Paul Ryan in an interview Thursday with Sean Hannity on Fox News Radio.
Administration officials insist that Biden was talking about finance and simply made a clumsy reference to the harm that would befall consumers if the Romney-Ryan ticket wins. President Obama said as much in an interview with People magazine. Biden aides said the veep verbally tripped after saying that Republicans want to “unshackle” banks.
“He often talks about the middle class and the importance of unshackling the middle class,” said White House Deputy Communications Director Jen Psaki in a briefing for reporters on Wednesday. “He was using a metaphor yesterday and talking about Wall Street reform and the fact that we can’t allow Republicans to defund Wall Street reform.”