Wednesday's CBS This Morning did its best to spin Vice President Joe Biden's "he's going to put y'all back in chains" slam of Mitt Romney and even forwarded the Obama campaign's own talking points on the controversial line. Both Anthony Mason and open Obama supporter Gayle King inserted language that the Vice President didn't even use in his original speech on Tuesday.
During an interview of Romney himself, King claimed that Biden "said that Republicans want to unshackle Wall Street and put middle class Americans back in chains." She followed up by asking, "Isn't the metaphor of unshackling...something that Republicans have used, including Paul Ryan?" Earlier, Mason stated that "Vice President Biden says Republicans are going to put lower-income Americans back in chains." (audio available here; video below the jump)
The anchor first asked the GOP presidential candidate about his "take...the division and anger and hate back to Chicago" retort to the Obama campaign: "Specifically, how is this campaign about hatred? What do you mean exactly about that?" In his reply, Romney singled out the former senator from Delaware:
ROMNEY: Well, I think, if you look at the – at the ads that have been described and the divisiveness based upon income, age, ethnicity, and so forth, it's designed to bring a sense of enmity and jealously and anger. And this is – this is not, in my view, what the American people want to see....these personal attacks, I think, are demeaning to the office of the White House, and the comments yesterday by the Vice President, I think, just diminish the White House that much more."
King included her spin of Biden's remarks in her two follow-up questions to the Republican candidate:
KING: And your reaction to that - Joe Biden's comment yesterday that – he said that Republicans want to unshackle Wall Street and put middle class Americans back in chains. What did that mean to you, Governor Romney?
ROMNEY: Well, of course, we have to have regulation on Wall Street and on every street to make sure that our economy works well, so it's factually inaccurate to begin with. And secondly, I just say that I think comments of this nature sink the White House just a little lower. The American people expect something better from the President than these kinds of divisive comments.
KING: But isn't the metaphor of unshackling – isn't that something that Republicans have used, including Paul Ryan?
ROMNEY: You know, I can't speak for anybody else, but I can say that the comments of the Vice President, as I heard them, I thought were one more example of a divisive effort to keep from talking about the real issues. Look, no one is talking about deregulating Wall Street, and no one is talking about the kinds of language that this White House is bringing forward. Instead, we're talking about what is it going to take to get the economy going and put people back to work? I put out a five-point plan based on energy, education, better trade, balancing our budget, and helping small business. And the President's campaign has put out a campaign talking about me and attacking me. It's – I think it's just demeaning to the – to the nature of the process, particularly at a time when we face the kinds of challenges we face.
It should be pointed out that King's "metaphor" term is the same word Obama campaign flack Stephanie Cutter used to explain away Biden's attack on Tuesday: "The Vice President has often used a similar metaphor to describe the need to 'unshackle' the middle class. Today'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."
Despite Mason and King's efforts, some at CBS are at least acknowledging the racial implications of the Vice President's slam. Earlier in the morning newscast, correspondent Nancy Cordes noted how "Vice President Biden was speaking to a crowd in Danville, Virginia, in front of many African-Americans when he made this analogy that reminded some of slavery." The previous evening, Bob Schieffer pointed out the racial make-up of Biden's audience on CBS Evening News: "Vice President Biden really got wound up today at a speech to a crowd that included hundreds of African-Americans that Mitt Romney wanted to unshackle Wall Street and put the audience back in chains."