Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has emphasized that he will be running on his own budget proposal — not the plan of his ticket mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, which dramatically overhauls Medicare and Medicaid — but said Wednesday the two are quite close on the issue.
“We’re very much on the same page,” Mr. Romney said on CBS’ “This Morning.” “I said at the time his budget came out that it was a serious and important effort to try to get America on track to try to have a balanced budget. I get us to a balanced budget faster than the plan he originally put forward — my tax rate is 28 percent, that’s my highest; his is 25 — I mean, there are some differences, but they are very similar.”
Mr. Romney also doubled down after lashing out Tuesday at President Obama, accusing him of running a campaign of “division and anger and hate.”
(In response, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt called Mr. Romney’s remarks “unhinged.”)
At a campaign stop in Danville, Va., on Tuesday, Vice President Joseph R. Biden told an audience that Mr. Romney would put voters “back in chains” with a plan to loosen regulations on Wall Street.
“Romney wants to, he said in the first 100 days, he’s going to let the big banks again write their own rules, unchain Wall Street,” Mr. Biden said.
The vice president then lowered his voice and said, “They’re going to put y’all back in chains.”
“The comments yesterday by the vice president, I think, just diminish the White House that much more,” Mr. Romney said Wednesday. “Of course we have to have regulation on Wall Street and on every street to begin with, so it’s factually inaccurate to begin with, and secondly, I’d say that comments of this nature sink the White House just a little lower.”
The Obama campaign defended the remark, saying that Republicans have used the same language to refer to regulating Wall Street. Later in the day, Mr. Biden changed his words, saying “in shackles” rather than “in chains” and noting that House Republicans have talked about plans to “unshackle” the economy.
“I am told,” Mr. Biden said, “when I made that comment earlier today in Danville, Va., the Romney campaign put out a tweet, put out a tweet, went on the air, went on the airwaves saying, ‘Biden was outrageous in saying’ — I think I said, instead of unshackled, unchained — ‘outrageous to say that!’”
He added: “I got a message for them: If you want to know what’s outrageous, it’s their policies. Their effects on middle-class Americans, that’s what’s outrageous. That’s what’s outrageous.”