By Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times -
ZANESVILLE, Ohio — A comment by Vice President Joe Biden that Mitt Romney’s banking policies would “put y’all back in chains” raised eyebrows Tuesday on the campaign trail.
“Romney wants to, he said in the first 100 days, he’s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules. Unchain Wall Street. They’re going to put y’all back in chains,” Biden told supporters in Danville, Va., a community that is roughly half black and half white.
The Romney campaign seized upon the remark to argue that President Barack Obama’s campaign was trying to divide Americans and demonize his opponent, though they did not touch upon the implication of slavery in making such a remark in front of an audience that included many African-Americans.
Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Romney, called the comment “a new low” in the campaign.
“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,” Saul said. “President Obama should tell the American people whether he agrees with Joe Biden’s comments.”
Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said the president agreed with Biden’s sentiment, and accused the Romney campaign of taking the remarks out of context. She added that Republicans often speak of “unshackling” industries from regulations, and Biden has spoken of “unshackling” the middle class.
“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 said in a statement, adding that the Romney campaign was being “hypocritical, particularly in light of their own candidate’s stump speech questioning the president’s patriotism. Now, let’s return to that ‘substantive’ debate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan promised 72 hours ago, but quickly abandoned.”