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Biden Says Romney Would Put Middle Class ‘Back in Chains’

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Aug. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks today that presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s regulatory policies would put middle-income Americans “back in chains” opened a war of words between the two campaigns.

Biden said to laughter and boos from a crowd in Danville, Virginia, that Romney would “let the big banks once again write their own rules -- unchain Wall Street. They’re going to put you all back in chains.”

Biden also told the crowd that Romney would keep tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs and that Republicans want to slash entitlements and social services.

The Romney campaign said the remarks show that President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign wants to steer voters away from concerns about the economy.

“Whether it’s accusing Mitt Romney of being a felon, having been responsible for a woman’s tragic death or now wanting to put people in chains, there’s no question that because of the president’s failed record he’s been reduced to a desperate campaign based on division and demonization,” said Andrea Saul, a Romney spokeswoman said in a written statement.

The Obama campaign’s deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, defended the vice president’s remarks, saying that Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate, and House Speaker John Boehner, both 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.”

‘Devastating Impact’

In a statement, Cutter said Biden’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 spoke at The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville as part of a three-day campaign swing through the battleground states of North Carolina and Virginia. In 2008, Obama won Virginia with 53 percent compared with Republican challenger Senator John McCain’s 47 percent, and he won North Carolina by just one percentage point. Biden is visiting Durham, North Carolina and Danville, Wytheville and Blacksburg, Virginia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kate Andersen Brower in Washington at kandersen7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net