An animated opening segment on today's Morning Joe focused on the fallout from VP Joe Biden's remark to a largely African-American audience yesterday that a Romney presidency would "put y'all back in chains."
Washington Post editorialist Jonathan Capehart claimed Biden doesn't have "anything to apologize for." But earlier, Willie Geist opined that had Paul Ryan said such a thing, "there would be calls" for Ryan and Romney "to get out of the race." Joe Scarborough envisioned the enraged editorials the New York Times would be emitting. Taking the cluelessness cake, Mika Brzezinski found it inconceivable that Biden might have been playing the race card. View the video after the jump.
I'll be back with the transcript, but in the meantime watch Capehart and Brzezinski parrot Obama talking points, while Willie Geist serves up some refreshing candor.
Note: In one of the weakest, weaselly walk-backs in memory, Biden later claimed that he meant to say that Romney would "unshackle" Wall Street, not "unchain" it. One little problem: that has absolutely nothing to do with the controversy! It was Biden's claim that Romney would put the largely African-American crowd "back in chains" that was offensive. And Biden totally dodged it.
NOTE DEUX: Brzezinski was either being wilfully naive or something worse when she claimed it was inconceivable that Biden would have wanted to "insult the African-American community." Biden's insult, of course, was aimed entirely at Romney.
The segment began with a playing of Biden's "back in chains" remarks.
WILLIE GEIST: It has to be said that if Paul Ryan, the Republican candidate, said that to an African-American audience --
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Oh my Lord.
GEIST: -- there would be calls this morning for him to get out of the race; for Mitt Romney to withdraw from the race. There's a double-standard [inaudible].
JOE SCARBOROUGH: The New York Times would have it on the front page; they'd be writing huge editorials. Everybody--everybody!--watching this show would be calling him a racist and say that this is the most obscene thing ever, but it's the double-standard we live by.
BRZEZINKSI: Joe, we're covering it! What double-standard? We're covering it!
. . .
JONATHAN CAPEHART: I think they [the Dems] are right to defend themselves. I think [Obama campaign spox] Stephanie Cutter was right to not back down. And fine, you know, Joe Biden spoke inartfully. But I don't think he has anything to apologize for!
SCARBOROUGH: You hear [Biden's] voice rise?
MARK HALPERIN [facetiously]: He's from southern Delaware.
BRZEZINSKI: Stop it!
SCARBOROUGH: The voice goes up, and "the want to unchain Wall Street!!" I mean, seriously? "Unchain Wall Street, unshackle Wall Street!!"
BRZEZINSKI: Keep in mind the stupidity here, that the Vice-President of the first African-American President of the United States would actually, purposefully, try and insult the African-American community. No he did not. Stop. All of it stop. This is stupid.
SCARBOROUGH [facetiously]: What is unbelievable and shocking is that anybody would suggest that Democrats have ever used the race card against Republicans. Because I gotta tell ya, in all my years in politics, I've never seen that happen.
HALPERIN: Certainly not in a close race.
SCARBOROUGH: Certainly not in a close race.