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August 15th, 2012
05:25 PM ET

Former Obama campaign co-chair: Biden's remarks 'racial viciousness'

(CNN) – Artur Davis, the former four-term Democratic congressman from Alabama, said Wednesday that Vice President Joe Biden was propagating "racial viciousness" when he said Mitt Romney's regulatory policies would "put y'all back in chains."

Biden made the comments Tuesday to a predominantly black crowd in Danville, Virginia, a city with a long history of racial tension. In May Davis announced he was switching to the GOP, leaving the door open to a future political bid as a Republican.


Filed under: Artur Davis • Interviews • Joe Biden
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Griff

    "Mitt Romney gives his POV on what is on the Platform, from then on it is up to the general public to change laws. If you live under laws you dont like then say so... Get involved, and stop blaiming Romney because your own ignorance
    You live in a Demracy and not Obama dictatorship!"

    August 21, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  2. kenny zuma

    President Obama according To bill Clinton was the first person to play the Race Card in this RACE .(Google Bill Clinton Fairy tale 2008 ) Clinton also waded into Trayvon Martin case saying he would look like his son, Jerimiah Johnson also bad mouhed Clinton, as did Michel Obama "if you cant mind your OWN house you cant Mind the White House. I am proud of Romney and even prouder of His Father George who stood beside Activists from the NAACP in ealy Detroit when few White politicians would risk it .

    August 20, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  3. kenny Z

    Wolf thanks to you and anderson for giving Mitt some decent coverage instead of tripping over everyone praising the Guy. The honeymoon is over today the Latimes reports Long Lines of illegals lining up for the Dream Act (NIGHTMARE MORE LIKE IT) Get Out of Jail Free Card ,La , CNN originally said 800,000 Illegals would apply LaTinmes Today said One Million , other sources state 1..2 Million what are the REAL numbers How the heck can we afford this? Many Mexicans are returning home now to a better economy....????Why during such High unemployment for our youth why are we allowing 1.2 million illegals into the job market .Also another big story is Govenor Brown is awaiting CLARIFICATION on Obamacare from WASHINGTON as Califirnia anticipates millions of new hospital users ,whos going to pay for all this , if California is already worried we ARE ALL IN TROUBLE ,Please put someone on these two stories before the election . You owe it to our COUNTRY and to help Rebuild AMERICA properly and effectively

    August 20, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
  4. Phyllis G Williams

    How could this be "racial viciousness" when:
    King Zedekiah "bound with chains" (Jeremiah 39: 7)
    Prophet Jeremiah "bound with chains" (Jeremiah 40: 1)
    St. Paul "bound with chains" (Acts 21: 33)??

    August 18, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  5. John

    Censorship by Dems so as to not speak about issues is alive and well

    August 18, 2012 at 3:32 am |
  6. mike Va

    I am amazed that CNN has decided to play this game of race for the GOP. It is all across your blog and reporting, attempting interject race into this election. All of CNN looks like they are marching to plans of Romney's campaign. It is extremist, hostile, and race centric.

    Vice President Biden spoke to a crowd split evenly, just like the demographics of Danville! He talked about an economy for 300 million people. The same language and principles of extinct Republicans like Henry Cabot Lodge, Junior.

    This phraseology to provide "balance" a predominately black audience. Isn't even true. Look at the video. We have more justification saying predominately married! There really are statistics of Danville to match predominately married. CNN is just horrible. This balancing quote and balance this is nonsense.

    August 18, 2012 at 2:38 am |
  7. Gilbert

    I don't know why VP Biden made that particular remark. I took it as one of his attempts to crack a joke that fell flat. Race baiting??? It appears that Mr. Davis hasn't even learned how to be a man. All that education at Harvard and he comes out of it acting like a pussy, a weak-knee'd punk! Any spineless coward can turn and run when he feels some heat. It takes character to stand your ground inspite of a stupid comment by someone else. A republican??? Mr. Davis is a traitor and we are probably a lot better off without the likes of him. How much is Mitt Romney paying him??? Governing a nation is not for the weak, the spineless, nor the cowardly. How can you abandon your principles on a whim??? That is assuming he, Mr. Davis, ever had any principles to begin with. Why would he announce it? Why not just get lost? Does he think someone would follow a limp-wristed wimp him to the other side? Why the hell would I switch to republican. I was a republican for 20 years, back when there were Real Republicans. These guy now-a-days are all a bunch of spoiled, snotty children with an inflated sense of entitlement. No Character and no Balls. A bunch of Eunichs!!! A lot of these so-called "leaders" are just plain jealous. This clown, Davis, could never be an Obama. Some things just aren't taught in school. You have to become a man before that knowledge is revealed.

    August 17, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
  8. j williamson

    The only person race baiting here is the former Democratic congressman – he's embarrassing. P.S. I'm not a huge fan or either Romney or Obama, but this is grandstanding of the worst sort.

    August 17, 2012 at 8:08 am |
  9. Pauline

    Oh Jack. If we captured all the gas now being emitted by the political people and heated up by the media people, we would have enough to power all of America through the next 100 years! Keep Biden, he's the only one that makes this race tolerable.

    August 16, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  10. lexgreen

    Arthur Davis' recriminating response is simply complete utter nonsense. It's disappointing to see how CNN participates in the exaggeration to try to grab some ratings. There's no story here.

    August 16, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Beth

      Here, Here!! lexgreen. Davis seems to have a personal dislike of the President. Does he really believe that Romney will treat him better than the President has? Blitzer was practically salivating talking about must see television. Having listened to Davis and then D'Souza last night on Piers Morgan, I could laugh in the face of Romney who says President Obama is running a campaign on hate. What a hypocrite.

      August 17, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  11. Mary Ann Rawson

    What is the Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona now thinking? She does want these young people who are undocumented to have licenses, pay in-state tuition, etc.? They serve our country and can't drive a truck or equipement? She is so mean spirited and not thinking of consequences. We need these people to step out of office.

    August 16, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  12. Griff

    "You don't need to hit Nuclear sights, when command control is much easier, You hit their weaponary first in conjunction with Airfields. It would be very costly for Iran just to lose that much. When you plan, you do it big-time.
    I should know!"

    August 16, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  13. Brian


    August 16, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  14. Jim Thomas

    It shows you how stupid all the politicans that are in office can be.They are all idiots from the top to bottom.VOTE,ALL INCUMBANTS MUST GO EXCEPT SHERIFF JOE in PHX.AZ.Jim Thomas Phx.Az.

    August 16, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  15. Steve Goff

    IT'S RACE STUPID!!!!!!
    Why are states tinkering with voting rights? RACE
    Why are the Republicans attacking Biden's recent comments? RACE
    Ask your Republican friends why they like Romney? You get silence!
    Ask your Republican friends if they like Romney because Obama is Black. You get silence!

    August 16, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  16. priscilla

    I am black woman and i don't believe joe biden said anything wrong. If we dont vote for obama an biden middle class an poor people will be in trouble.

    August 16, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Mary Ann Rawson

      You are right!

      August 16, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  17. Pamela

    I don't know what the man meant, but I know it sounded bad. But when you set out to slander, falsely accuse, and publically harm others, like Biden was doing, it just ALL sounds bad. I really don't think Biden even understands Wall St. or regulations. He's just been told stuff and he's been told by the Democratic stradegists to use it to try and convince America to be afraid of Republicans. To me, it was just all bad. I mean, who are we kidding? Are we to say that if he hadn't blundered with that one remark, all the rest of his slander would have been "good."

    August 16, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  18. James Wallington

    Dear Mr. Blitzer: Where may I locate a transcript of your 8/15/2012 Situation Room interview of former Virginia Govornor Douglas Wilder? I was listening to this interview on Sirius radio and I believe that I heard Governor Wilder make several remarks that were pertinent to Congressman Davis' comments with regard to Vice-President Biden's speech at Danville, VA. I have not yet located discussion of Governor Wilder's interview in any other media source today. Thank you for your program.
    James Wallington
    Lovettsville, VA

    August 16, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • Luke

      Didn't Jeff Goldstein or some other blogger get claled a racist for calling a black man articulate? Personally I think it was just a dig at Al Sharpton, and an accurate one at that.

      October 12, 2012 at 12:32 am |
  19. GF

    The media is trying to blow something up way out proportion. i think we need to focus on the context clues in which the phrase was used the statement before and after the comment. Just remember Democrats and republicans are still dominated by the "white population" so either party could "put yall back in chains"... if they want. most overlook that

    But i like the media pushing the envelope to make something out of nothing. why not take a national poll to see how the public feels and not the media's take on situation. no?

    August 16, 2012 at 7:53 am |
  20. Doc

    The headline is misleading. Arthur Davis is a sellout who turned on Obama to save his political skin in that 'Red' state he lives in. He is severly lacking in pricipal.

    On another note, Biden really put his foot in his mouth when he used the 'chains' term. He and Obama seem to pander too much when speaking at these 'black' venues.

    August 16, 2012 at 6:28 am |
    • Bye

      before, changing goevmnrents will not necessarily change anything as long as America continues to spend money they dont have.They have got to get their priorities in order and stop their political in house fighting which is tearing their country apart.Where is their uniter?'VA:F [1.9.11_1134]please wait...VA:F [1.9.11_1134](from 0 votes)

      October 13, 2012 at 12:50 am |
  21. John

    It`s very simple. How would the usuals react ( Donna Brazile, Roland Martin, Don Lemon, Jessie Jackson,and finally Al Sharpton ) if Romney said exactly the same thing. When and if you are capable of answering that honestly you have your answer about going to far.

    August 16, 2012 at 2:58 am |
  22. djhtex

    You can't blame Biden. Dumb is dumb any way you tell it.
    Obama is defending Biden. What would one expect. They are two peas in the same pod. Dumb as a gourd.

    August 15, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  23. Rob

    I'm really sick and tired of all this garbage where white people are assumed to be racial and race-less. People that identify with being a particular race other than white are absolutely no different in their privilege to speak than anybody else. White is a race, or set of races, just like every other. Stop putting white as the generic middle of the wheel. We are all spokes on the same wheel. White people can use the word "shackled" and "slave". White people have been shackled and enslaved over the centuries too. Get over it everybody. Start looking for meaning in content, stop looking to be offended by words. Geesh.

    August 15, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
  24. m oliver El Paso, TX

    Wolf would you inform Artur Davis the tea party,and GOP do not like Obama because he is a back president so what chance dose Artur Davis a back man have with Romney & Ryan they do not like minority that why they want to kill off the middle class, and give take cut to the Rich. they are using Artur Davis as a dummy .

    August 15, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  25. manning El Paso, TX

    The tea party, GOP and Romney & Ryan have made hard statements about Obama every sense he took office they
    have done every think to insult him and make look bad, the nothing GOP brags about it o yeah they are white folks it OK!

    August 15, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
  26. nonelikesmooth

    Joe Biden was absolutely out of line to say what he said. Everyone knows the only "yall" who used to be in chains were Blacks, and it was insulting to imply that Republicans want to institute a new form of slavery or to think it was acceptable to use that type of imagery. Mr. Biden would never stand in front of a Jewish audience and try to draw a metaphor from the Holocaust. The President should be embarrassed that his sidekick is doing this type of racial pandering on the campaign trail when he himself has tried to rise above the racial fray numerous times.

    August 15, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  27. Miss Jay

    Biden's remarks? Does anyone remember Sarah Palin calling Mr. Obama a terrorist!!!! This campaign is no different than the others. GROSS, really Wolf.

    August 15, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  28. Doug Ericson

    I don't buy the notion that Vice President Joe Bidens, Wall Street will chain you remark, had racial undertones. I took Bidens remark for the context that it was presented in, and that it was a reference to financial penalties people have to pay when Wall Street robs them without restrictions. Wall Street and The Military Industrial Complex go bonkers whenever anyone presents a serious challenge to them. The noise following Bidens frank remarks indicate the cages were well rattled.

    August 15, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Brian

      You sir are certifiably insane. Have a loved one commit you asap.

      August 15, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Marry

      @ Doug - very well said! My thoughts exactly! There is nothing racial in the Presidents campaign at all! But the GOP likes to read negatives into everything from the President for years – but never questions their own actions.

      August 20, 2012 at 6:32 am |
  29. patriotfirst

    it is MIAMI University in Oxford, not OHIO University in Athens.

    August 15, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  30. Joanne Mell

    I am white and I understood Joe Biden to mean by "y'all" we the middle class and poor that the Republicans seek to suck dry. I understood the "chains" to be the chains of debt, fees and other ways that Wall Street takes our money and the over-taxation of the middle class that the Republicans would bring about as they take away the safety nets that allow us to live with some dignity. Tell me that the people that are underwater on their mortgages due to the catastrophe that the Republicans brought about are not "chained"!

    August 15, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • nonelikesmooth

      If Joe Biden only meant "yall" as in the middle class, why did he say "put yall BACK in chains"? The key word in that phrase is "back." Have Whites ever been "in chains" collectively in this country, or any other civilization for that matter? Not at all. So he wasn't telling whites that you all will be "back" in chains. That was a rhetorical device intended to stir up the Black voting bloc that has thus far shown apathy towards the 2012 election. If you don't think that's the case, go to a Black person you know and tell them Romney wants to put them "back in chains."

      No one is saying that Biden literally means that slavery will return to America, but there is a subliminal message that what Republicans allegedly want to do can be equated to physical slavery, and that the only way to prevent that is to give Obama four more years. I know this is an idealistic view (probably as idealistic as believing that race isn't an issue in this country anymore) but I wish both sides would just present their facts and stop the pandering. I think we're (as in the American public as a whole) smart enough to decide what's best for us. Both sides need to stop the petty games and act like adults. It IS possible to have a respectful debate about the issues that matter without using incendiary terminology like "Muslim," "terrorist," "socialist/fascist," "right-wing elitist," and yes, even "chains."

      August 15, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Rob

      I use the word Y'all all the time! Has absolutely nothing to do with who I'm talking to except that I'm addressing it to more than one or two people. I grew up using that term and continue. There's really no other word quite like it. As far as 'slave' and 'shackles' is concerned: No one has the corner on that market. Throughout history slavery and shackles have been used against millions of people of a variety of races. Finally, white is a race just as much as any other race. So drawing a distinction that a white man used a word is ridiculous. So. I agree with you.

      August 15, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  31. lauren christian

    i live in alabama, and it is ridiculous for authour davis to go and play the race card......the issue of blacks and crapt is over......that is not what they meant...everytime we turn around its always the whole black is is no longer an issue.....there is no longer a segregation issue so keep it in the history books.....its the past....and it is over....

    August 15, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • nonelikesmooth

      It is very naive to say "race is no longer an issue". All you need to do is go look at the article about Serena Williams that was on earlier today and you will see that many people in this supposedly advanced society still make race an issue. I could not even tell you how many times someone said "Serena's hair is nappy" even though Serena's hair is the same texture as Troy Polamalu's, which anyone in their right mind would say is "curly." Not only that, but you can go to any social networking site or public forum and you will find people who freely espouse bigotry and racial animosity. How about when the black player scored the goal that eliminated the Boston Bruins from the NHL playoffs and THOUSANDS of people tweeted racial epithets about him including the N-word and "monkey"??? I'm glad race isn't an issue for you and that it's not something you're confronted, but don't be naive and think that everyone in this country is above that type of ignorance. Instead of ignoring its existence, it would be more helpful to educate those who still live in the dark ages and think it's okay to be disrespectful to people of other cultures because of the color of the skin or the way they dress (Arabs, Mexicans, etc.)

      August 15, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • Yvonne

      I totally agree with you. I think Mr. Davis is using this as a excuse for switching parties. There are racist in the republican alson=.

      August 15, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
      • Griff

        You should know, you brought it up!"

        August 16, 2012 at 3:39 pm |

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