Biden: Mitt Romney Will Put America 'Back In Chains'

Vice President Joe Biden hit the campaign trail on Tuesday to go after the man who wants to take his job, Paul Ryan. Larry Abramson was traveling with Biden and shares the latest with Audie Cornish.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now, that Mitt Romney has chosen his running mate, Vice President Joe Biden knows who the competition is. And Biden has been talking about Paul Ryan on the campaign trail.

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: The very plans the congressman voted for and promoted for 12 years and the governor supported put America's greatness in jeopardy. How do they think we got in this spot in the first place? What do they think happened? As my little youngest granddaughter would say, was it Casper the Ghost, Pop?

CORNISH: Joe Biden speaking today in Danville, Virginia. And NPR's Larry Abramson traveled there with the vice president. So, Larry, tell us more about Joe Biden's message on Paul Ryan.

LARRY ABRAMSON, BYLINE: The vice president gave quite a fire-breathing attack on the Romney campaign, and he said that the pick of Congressman Paul Ryan shows exactly where the Romney campaign stands now. He said that they stand with the Republicans in Congress in their efforts to cut federal spending with efforts to cut back on Medicare and Medicaid spending, and generally against the middle class and against efforts to help the middle class and for wealthy people who the vice president accused of wanting to give bigger tax breaks.

CORNISH: Larry, one thing the vice president said today in Virginia appears to have really incensed the Romney campaign. Let's take a listen.

BIDEN: He said in the first 100 days, he's going to let the big banks once again write their own rules. Unchain Wall Street. They're going to put you all back in chains.

CORNISH: Larry, the Romney campaign calls this statement a new low. Put this in context. What happened?

ABRAMSON: They haven't said exactly why they regard it as a new low, but about half of the audience at this event was black. And I have to assume that they were referring to the use of chains as being an indelicate reference in this kind of community.

The Biden campaign responded quickly to the attack by the Republicans and said that this was simply picking up on the Republicans' use of the word unshackling business, that the Republicans want to unshackle business. And Vice President Biden was simply turning that phrase around on them. But they admitted that it was an inartful variation on that rip. So perhaps a bit of him is speaking on the part of the vice president, who then went on to ask these Virginia voters to help the Democrats take North Carolina, which is nearby to this town of Danville, but is indeed an entirely different state.

CORNISH: NPR's Larry Abramson on the campaign trail today with Vice President Joe Biden in Virginia. Thanks so much, Larry.

ABRAMSON: OK. Thank you.

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