Gibbs: Biden remark no more racial than Boehner saying ‘unshackle Wall Street’

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Senior Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs on Sunday defended Joe Biden, saying a recent comment that GOP economic policies would put people “back in chains” was not racially motivated and claiming it was no different than how Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), speak of Wall Street reform.

Gibbs was asked by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace if the remark, made by Biden at a campaign stop in Virginia before a racially-mixed audience last week, was “race baiting.”


“No more race baiting than when John Boehner says ‘let’s unshackle Wall Street, let’s unshackle big business,’” said Gibbs. 

“I think the vice president was correct in exactly how he explained what happens when we unshackle Wall Street and let Wall Street go back to writing its own rules.“

Asked if Biden was a “drag on the ticket,” Gibbs said “absolutely not.”

“I’m happy to have Joe Biden out campaigning and telling his story to the American people, putting in front of people the choice that’s going to happen in this election,” said Gibbs. 

“I’m happy and proud of Joe Biden and I’m happy and proud to have him on the trail every day.”

The vice president had a difficult week on the campaign trail after saying on the stump that Republican policies toward Wall Street would "put y'all back in chains," a comment that brought swift criticism from Republicans. 

The Obama campaign has defended Biden, claiming that his remark was taken out of context.

Yet the latest gaffe led to media speculation that he might be forced off the ticket, despite the administration’s repeated statements that Biden would run with the president. 

On Thursday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Republicans were trying to "distract attention" and said Obama had no intention of getting rid of Biden as his running mate. 

Gibbs also rebuffed claims from the Romney camp that the Obama team had lowered the tone of the campaign.

“I’m not going to get lectured by Mitt Romney or anybody on the Romney campaign about the tone of this campaign. This is a guy who’s flown all over this country saying he’s not sure if the president believes in America,” said Gibbs. “He’s auctioning off dinners with the birther-in chief, right-wing nut job Donald Trump, who still questions whether the president was born in the United States of America.”