Meanwhile Obama defends Biden's comment to a group of mainly blacks that Republicans want to put them back in chains
Fox News provides the remarks some context by mentioning in more detail than other reports the racial composition of the audience.
The nation's first elected black governor, Doug Wilder of Virginia, has lambasted Vice President Joe Biden on national television for his comment Tuesday about banks keeping people "in chains."Politico (citing a segment on CNN) has this discussion by Former Democratic Rep. and 2008 cochair of the Obama campaign Artur Davis:
Wilder, a Democrat and a grandson of slaves, echoed indignant Republican claims that Biden's remarks before a largely black crowd in Danville, Va., brought racism into the presidential race. . . .
"I know what Joe Biden was doing yesterday and every black person in the room knew who the y’all was, they knew what the chains were about, knew what the metaphor was. And I will give that audience credit... It’s a divisive tactic that’s insulting to African-Americans, it’s insulting to the American people, it’s an insult to the legacy that he used to build up as an orator that used to inspire people … and it ought to embarrass President Obama."It has recently been announced that Mr. Davis will speak at the Republican National Convention so his comments might be dismissed as someone who has already left the tent as an important Obama supporter, but the same cannot be said of Mr. Wilder. The People Magazine (via Politico) reports this:
Biden's comment sparked Romney to call the Obama campaign one of "division and hate and anger." But Obama, speaking to PEOPLE in Dubuque, Iowa, seemed unrattled by the controversy. He said Biden's words needed to be considered in context; that he was only saying "you, consumers, the American people, will be a lot worse off if we repeal these [Wall Street reform] laws as the other side is suggesting."CNN has this discussion.
"In no sense was he trying to connote something other than that," Obama added. . . .
You can see ABC News' has a discussion available here, but the report doesn't mention in any way the composition of the audience, which is extremely important.
My summary: I am happy to give Mr. Biden the benefit of the doubt if he says that he simply misspoke, but it is very clear that Obama and Democrats have long been playing up racism issues to motivate black voters. Take this example:
Angela Rye, Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus, argued that President Obama has struggled during his first term due to racially-motivated opposition from conservatives who dislike having a black president.Of course, Obama claims that he has always tried to bring the country together.
"This is probably the toughest presidential term in my lifetime," Rye said during CSPAN's Q&A yesterday. "I think that a lot of what the president has experienced is because he's black. You know, whether it's questioning his intellect or whether or not he's Ivy League. It's always either he's not educated enough or he's too educated; or he's too black or he's not black enough; he's too Christian or not Christian enough. There are all these things where he has to walk this very fine line to even be successful." . . .
"We're going around the country, talking about, ‘How do we put people back to work? How do we improve our schools? How do we make sure that we're producing American energy? How do we lower our debt in a responsible way?' And I don't think you or anybody who's been watching the campaign would say that in any way we have tried to divide the country. We've always tried to bring the country together," President Obama said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight.UPDATE:
New York Rep. Charlie Rangel, a Democrat and Congressional Black Caucus member, says Vice President Biden’s recent "chains" gaffe was indeed a reference to slavery despite the Obama campaign's denial.
Rangel told the The Perez Notes radio show: “Was he talking about slavery? You bet your ass he was. Was he using the vernacular? Yes, he was. Did he think it was cute? Yes, he did. Was it something stupid to say? You bet your life it was stupid.” . . .