Biden on chains metaphor: ‘I’m using their own words!’

Updated

All of a sudden, the crowd who is working so hard to suppress the vote in several states, cares about offending minorities.

Republicans are accusing Vice President Joe Biden of using racist “code” when he hammered the Ryan budget yesterday on the campaign trail.

“Look at what they value and look at their budget and what they’re proposing,” Biden told supporters in rural southern Virginia.  ”[Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt] Romney wants to, he said in the first 100 days, he’s gonna let the big banks again write their own rules.  Unchain Wall Street! (crowd boos) They’re gonna put you all back in chains.”

The Romney campaign called Biden’s comment a “new low” in the campaign and almost immediately invoked race.

“There’s going to be folks across the country who are going to try to take that as some kind of code word that’s going to suggest that the Republicans are trying to be racial in their programs,” Romney surrogate, former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, told msnbc’s Andrea Mitchell Reports.  “That’s ridiculous.”

Later at a campaign event in Ohio, Romney himself called on the president to “take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago and let us get about rebuilding and reuniting America.”

Romney then doubled-down today on CBS’ This Morning with a snarky “I know I am but what are you?” statement: ”The president’s campaign is all about division and attack and hatred.”

“I’m using their own words!” Biden shot back, saying the “chains” metaphor belonged to the Ryan-Romney faction of the GOP itself.  ”If you want to know want to know what’s outrageous, it’s their policies, and the effects of their policies on middle class America. That’s what’s outrageous.” 

Indeed, there was NO Republican outrage when then-presidential candidate Rick Santorum used that same “code” last year.

“Because they will put you in chains called Obamacare,” Santorum said at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 12, 2011 (watch the video embedded left at 14:05).  “And you will be dependent upon government and you will never break away.”

Romney himself used the word  ”shackles” in a Dec. 19, 2011, op-ed for USA Today, claiming:

“If we remove the shackles of government, if we unburden ourselves from the mountain of debt that we have been saddled with, we can become the Opportunity Society that we once were.” 

And on July 8, 2012, Rep. Allen West (R-Florida) declared that “economic dependence” (including Social Security and unemployment benefits) is “a form of modern, 21st century slavery”:

“I understand that my country is at a very perilous situation,” West said the next day.  ”And I’m going to use the words that are necessary to get the attention of the American people.”

And indeed it could be argued that Romney’s use of Chicago yesterday was a racial code word.

“You say take your campaign of hate back to Chicago. That has a lot of meanings,” Michael Eric Dyson told The Ed Show last night.  ”Chicago, a city that features prominently African-American middle class leaders and other prominent spokespeople like Reverend Jesse Jackson and the like.  They’re suffering from extraordinary economic but also social devastation right now, with high rates of murder and the like.

He continued, “It rings in a very nasty way. And it suggests that the escalation of the rhetoric here is going to get quite nasty, and that Mitt Romney, unlike John McCain four years ago, is willing to do whatever he has to do in order to win. That means even stirring up the pot of racial animus in code words.”  

Biden on chains metaphor: 'I'm using their own words!'

Updated