Speaking to an audience in Virginia on Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden told a crowd of about 1,000 – half of whom appeared to be African American – that Republican Mitt Romney would unleash Wall Street and put people "in chains." The comment drew an immediate response from the Romney campaign, saying the comment was a "new low."
Biden's comments came after he took a swipe at what he said would be Romney's policies during his first 100 days in office if he were to be elected in November. "[Romney] said in the first hundred days, he's going to let the big banks write their own rules – unchain Wall Street."
Then the vice president offered an even greater prediction. "They're going to put y'all back in chains," said Biden.
Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul jumped on the comments, referring to them as "slanderous" and demanding that President Obama confirm if he indeed supports the vice president's remarks.
"After weeks of slanderous and baseless accusations leveled against Governor Romney, the Obama campaign has reached a new low," Saul said in a statement. "The comments made by the Vice President of the United States are not acceptable in our political discourse and demonstrate yet again that the Obama Campaign will say and do anything to win this election. President Obama should tell the American people whether he agrees with Joe Biden's comments."
Other notable Republicans were quick to criticize Biden's comments and suggested that a double standard persists between what Democrats and Republicans can say on the campaign stump.
"The press pounded [Sarah] Palin when she talked about 'blood libel.' What do they do about Biden's 'chains' remark?" tweeted former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer soon after Biden's remarks.
"Prob w what Biden said is it's an inflammatory, race-based attack, meant 2demonize. What's next-saying Romney murdered some1?" Fleischer said in a follow up tweet.
Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh was much more direct in his on-air comments on Tuesday. "He's a walking buffoon and Obama knows it," said Limbaugh in reference to Biden. "They all know it. But it's getting to the point it's too late to do anything about it. … Is Obama going to be in chains? That's a good question. Good question. Is Ryan going to put chains back on Obama?"
Obama campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter defended the vice president on CNN and also offered additional comments in a written statement.
"The bottom line is we have no problem with those comments," she said.
"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," explained Cutter. "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."
Biden, meanwhile, was somewhat confused about which state he was in Tuesday afternoon.
Biden told the audience that with their assistance, he and President Obama "can win North Carolina again." The vice president's remarks were made in Danville, Va.