The controversy surrounding Vice President Joe Biden’s offensive claim that Republicans want to enslave black Americans has become such a concern to the Obama White House that the veep’s staff have resorted to trying to directly censor the news coverage about him.

In what is widely believed to be an unprecedented move, the Biden press shop has severely restricted access to vice president and begun telling journalists what they should write about his activities as they write them up.



Cable News Network host Soledad O'Brien has clashed often with conservative guests on her program, but on Thursday, she pressed the liberal chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus when he tried to dismiss Vice President Joe Biden's comment that Republicans wanted to "put y’all back in chains."

During that morning's edition of the Starting Point program, O'Brien showed a clip of Biden's remarks, from his campaign stop in Danville, Virginia, then asked Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) what he thought about his fellow Democrat's comments. The scandal-plagued congressman responded succinctly: “Absolutely nothing.”



For a hot minute, it looked like Joe Biden might have lost Al Sharpton. And just as quickly, Sharpton returned to the fold.

Biden has another possible entry to Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, along with his open-mic boast to President Obama in 2010 that passage of Obamacare was "a big f***ing deal." (audio clip after page break)



On Wednesday, August 15, MSNBC’s noon show, “NOW With Alex Wagner,” featured a brief but revealing segment on Vice President Joseph Biden’s recent gaffe. This was the one where Biden addressed a crowd, mostly of African-Americans, and, using what sounded like a Southern accent, said of the Romney/Ryan team: “They’re going to put ya’ll back in chains,” supposedly with deregulation of Wall Street.

The “NOW” panel was urged to address this by host Alex Wagner, but from a specific standpoint – “How do we get past this and get to the big issues?”



A week passes, and thus far, the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has yet to tell us whether he is or is not having sexual relations with a cow. As was reported in this column last week, based on sources in the field, Reid has been involved with the cow for at least three months, possibly more. My sources cannot be identified for obvious reasons. Even The New York Times would not reveal their identities. The story is that hot.

It is, of course, possible that the relationship is purely platonic. On the other hand, possibly Reid is more involved with the cow than might have been anticipated. It is time for him to come clean. He owes it to the American people and conceivably to the Department of Agriculture. Preferably he should make his statement on the floor of the Senate, which he reserves for such solemn occasions. For instance, his recent charge that the probable Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, has paid no taxes for the better part of 10 years, was made there. His statement about the cow is no less important. Reid, we are waiting.



Chris Matthews on Wednesday went to embarrassing lengths as he struggled to explain away a gaffe by the Vice President, offering tortured, confusing logic to defend Joe Biden's "chains" comments. According to the Hardball host, Biden's remarks to a largely black audience that Republicans will "put y'all back in chains" were "historical" and not "negative" or racist like when the GOP does it.

Matthews, who on Tuesday foamed that Paul Ryan could be "worse" than Dan Quayle and "more trouble" than Democratic debacle Thomas Eagleton, defended, "...Biden, maybe he is trying too hard to get the support of black people, but he's not using negative slurs in doing it." Matthews lectured, the Vice President's comment is different than the "code" from the GOP "about food stamps and welfare and welfare queens and all." He added, "It seems to me that [GOP comments on race are] a negative reference to slavery and to black folk." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]



There were some stark contrasts on the campaign trail in Wednesday's New York Times. After Vice President Joe Biden warned a racially mixed south Virginia audience of the Republican ticket: "They're going to put y'all back in chains." A five-paragraph brief on Biden's comments by Rebecca Berg made page A14 Wednesday, including a brief quote of Mitt Romney's counterattack on the Obama camp in Chillicothe, Ohio, under the soporific headline "A Metaphor Draws Notice."

Berg helpfully corrected Biden's grammar by removing the veep's condescending second-person plural Southernism ("y'all"), replacing it with the more standard "you all." By contrast, the exchange was highlighted in a front-page Washington Post article, which retained Biden's contraction.



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)



While USA Today and other liberal media outlets today were spinning the snap Gallup poll about Mitt Romney's pick of Paul Ryan in a negative light, data within the poll itself show that Ryan fared better with Republicans than Biden did with Democrats in 2008 in a similar snap Gallup poll in August 2008 just after Obama's announcement of his running mate.

From the Gallup.com news release (emphasis mine):



Joe Biden apparenlty loves Paul Ryan's dead father. 



After government audits showed Amtrak costing taxpayers millions of dollars due to waste and theft, CNN reported the story on Friday morning while ABC, CBS, and NBC were all silent.

"Waste management and employee theft at Amtrak, it appears to be off the rails," reported CNN's Zoraida Sambolin. "Pretty stunning report," added Early Start co-host John Berman. CNN mentioned the audits four times between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. EDT.



Joe Biden has started a new tour, a “VP of Comedy Tour,” FNC’s Bret Baier noticed Thursday night in ending his show by playing a compilation put together by ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. Kimmel’s announcer promised Biden’s “every laugh” and “every gaffe.”

That would be impossible to contain to a short montage – or really one of any length -- but this is an entertaining packaging of Biden at his most-embarrassing.