The Race Card, a true liberal never leaves home without one:
Pointed assertions from Vice President Joe Biden this week have reignited discussion of whether he distracts from his party's message or reinforces it, a question that has arisen periodically since President Barack Obama chose him as his running mate four years ago.
Mr. Biden drew sharp criticism from Republicans after telling a Virginia audience, which included a large number of African-Americans, that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney wants to "put you all back in chains" by rolling back new Wall Street regulations.
Mr. Romney, who has called for repealing the Dodd-Frank financial-regulation law, said Wednesday the metaphor was "divisive'' and that Mr. Biden's remarks diminished the White House. "Comments of this nature sink the White House just a little lower," Mr. Romney told CBS.
Mr. Obama defended the sentiment Mr. Biden intended to convey with his remark, that Wall Street overhauls should remain in place to protect consumers and the economy. But the president, in an interview on television show "Entertainment Tonight," also said, "His phrasing is a distraction for what is at stake" in the election.
The Obama campaign accused Mr. Romney of feigning outrage over a twist on a phrase that Mr. Biden regularly uses in his stump speech, in which he faults Republicans for wanting to "unshackle" Wall Street.
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said there would be no change in how the campaign uses Mr. Biden.
Mr. Biden, who has earned a reputation for rhetorical miscues and likes to speak off the cuff, also told some Virginia seniors this week he could "guarantee" Mr. Obama wouldn't make any changes to Social Security.RELATED: Giuliani On Biden’s ‘Free Pass’: Had Republican Made ‘Chains’ Remark, It Would Make NYT Front Page
It is a promise that could be difficult for Mr. Obama to keep if he wins a second term, given that the president has been open to changes in Social Security as part of past deficit-reduction talks if the savings were used to shore up the retirement program. The two parties are expected to make another attempt at such a deal after the election.
Mr. Biden's aides said he was speaking to voters old enough that they wouldn't be affected by any Social Security changes the White House would support.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee, took the firmest stance after Mr. Biden's remarks, telling Fox News he should be replaced on the Democratic ticket by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Obama dismissed Ms. Palin's suggestion that he change his running mate.