Beyond The Soundbite: Biden's 'Chains' Speech

Aug 16, 2012
Originally published on August 16, 2012 5:23 pm
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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

It has been a week full of jabs on the campaign trail. One that got a lot of attention came from Vice President Joe Biden. He told a largely black audience that Mitt Romney would unchain Wall Street and put them, quote, "back in chains." Romney's campaign called that comment a new low.

Well, this week we're hearing extended sections of all the candidates' stump speeches, one a day. We've heard President Obama and from Mitt Romney. Today, we hear from Joe Biden and a part of that speech in Danville, Virginia that has gotten less airplay. In it, Biden spoke of his Republican counterpart.

VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH BIDEN: Congressman Ryan has now given definition to Governor Romney's vague commitments that he's been making the last year. And Congressman Ryan and the congressional Republicans, as one person said, have already done what Governor Romney is promising he'll do for the nation. So this is one of those rare cases, for real. It's almost like running against an incumbent.

Everybody knows what we stand for and what we want to do. And we're making it clear as we can make it. But in a strange way, picking Congressman Ryan, a leader of the Republican caucus, the Republican Party, a man who all the Republicans have said - and it's true - is a real serious guy with serious ideas. And they have embraced them all. So we now, we don't have - before, Governor Romney has a tendency to either be vague or change his position a lot.

(LAUGHTER)

BIDEN: Well, it's now clear - no, no, I'm serious. This is a good thing. It's a good thing for the country that we have stark, stark choice. Stark choice. We know for certain what I've been, I must say, been saying for some time. There is no real distinction, no distinction between what the Republican Congress is proposing and what Governor Romney plans to do.

And the American people have already had a glimpse of the Ryan Republican congressional budget. And they have...

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yes, we have.

BIDEN: ...and they have rejected it. They've seen it, the polling data and those off-year election races - those special elections which we - they saw it. And they said, no, no, no. That's not the place we want to go. At least it's my view. It's my view that the overwhelming majority of Americans are going to say that's not the place, that's not the path I want to go. I believe they will reject Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan, for an attempt to impose that view and that vision on the American people.

And ladies and gentlemen, as I said, they're both good men. But they have fundamentally flawed judgment, in my view.

BLOCK: That's Vice President Joe Biden in Danville, Virginia this week. Tomorrow, we'll hear Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan on the stump. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.