Vice President Joe Biden caused a stir Tuesday after telling a crowd in Virginia that a win for Mitt Romney would put them all "back in chains."
The comment came as Biden, speaking to a group of about 800 supporters, discussed Romney's choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate. He said the choice helped paint a clearer picture of the competition.
"Look at what they value and look at their budget and what they're proposing," he said. "Romney said ... in the first 100 days he said he's going to let the big banks once again write their own rules. Unchain Wall Street."
The crowd gathered at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, Va. booed and Biden continued, lowering his voice. "They're going to put y'all back in chains."
The audience, which according to NBC News was about 50 percent black, reacted with a mix of some laughter and cheering.
The Romney campaign reacted swiftly, calling the comments "not acceptable."
"The Obama Campaign will say and do anything to win this election," Press secretary Andrea Saul said in a statement. "President Obama should tell the American people whether he agrees with Joe Biden's comments."
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An Obama campaign official did respond, indicating that "as the full quote made obvious, the vice president was clearly using a metaphor" to describe the impact of financial deregulation.
Some backlash continued to bubble up on Twitter with Ari Fleischer, the former White House press secretary for George W. Bush, likening the comment to the "blood libel" remark Sarah Palin made last year.
"The press pounded Palin when she talked about 'blood libel'. What will they do about Biden's 'chains' remark?"
He also characterized Biden's comment as an "inflammatory race-based attack" meant to "demoralize."
The Obama team has been campaigning heavily in Virginia, a swing state that Obama took in 2008. Biden began three days of campaigning in the region Monday with stops in North Carolina. He continued Tuesday in Virginia, which he confused in his "chains" speech with North Carolina.
"With you we can win North Carolina again," he concluded. "And if we do, we win the election if we win you."