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Vice President Joe Biden was doing fine when he warned a crowd at The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Virginia on Tuesday that Mitt Romney wants to "unchain Wall Street!" with a dramatic clenching of his fist, bringing boos from the crowd. Then Biden got into trouble. "They're gonna put y'all back in chains," he said to a mixed response.
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Mitt Romney's campaign was immediately outraged, calling Biden's comment "a new low" that is "not acceptable in our political discourse." President Obama's campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter told CNN, "The bottom line is we have no problem with those comments." But it's hard to imagine they wouldn't have preferred Biden phrase it differently. People say you should think before you speak. But it's more complicated than that. You can see Biden pausing before he says the thing about chains. This pause was probably filled in his head by something like "Unchain… and then we'll be in chains! Yeah!" Really, you should think twice before you speak. Biden needed to pause two beats, one for the "chains" lightbulb and one for the "oh wait" to extinguish it.
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Update: Cutter released a statement on Biden's comments. She says Biden was using a synonym for an earlier Republican talking point:
"For months, Speaker Boehner, Congressman Ryan, and other Republicans have called for the ‘unshackling’ of the private sector from regulations that protect Americans from risky financial deals and other reckless behavior that crashed our economy. Since then, the Vice President has often used a similar metaphor to describe the need to ‘unshackle’ 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. We find the Romney campaign’s outrage over the Vice President’s comments today hypocritical, particularly in light of their own candidate’s stump speech questioning the President’s patriotism..."