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Biden on 'chains' comment: I'm using Republicans' own words

While stumping in Ohio, Romney preached to a receptive audience. In Iowa, President Obama focused on energy issues, praising wind power. And VP contender Paul Ryan began polishing his stump speech, laced with attacks on Obama's leadership. NBC's Peter Alexander reports.



WYTHEVILLE, Va. – Vice President Joe Biden sought Tuesday evening to clarify language he used earlier in the day, saying his charge that the Republican ticket's banking policies would "put you all back in chains" was merely a reference to the GOP's own rhetoric about the "unshackling" of economic forces.

Biden made the comment, which sparked immediate controversy, in the southern Virginia town of Danville Tuesday morning.

Biden tells audience GOP, banks would put them ‘back in chains’

Noting that both Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP vice presidential pick, and John Boehner, speaker of the House, have both proposed “unshackling” the American economy, Biden said those were the type of proposals that led to the financial crisis. 

"The last time these guys unshackled the economy, to use their term, they put the middle class in shackles," Biden told his audience in Wytheville, Va.  "That’s how we got where we are."

Later conceding that he used the more charged verb "unchain" rather than "unshackle" in his earlier remarks – particularly because his audience in Danville, Va. included hundreds of African Americans --  Biden still took aim at Romney aides who called his statement "outrageous."

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement earlier today that Biden's reference to GOP financial policies that would put Americans "in chains" was one that "reached a new low."

But Biden said in Wytheville that the metaphor belonged to the Ryan-Romney faction of the GOP itself. 

"I’m using their own words!" Biden protested.

"I got a message for them," he added. "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."