Interviews

VP Biden's comments too divisive?

Former Virginia Governor Doug Wilder reacts

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," August 15, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT: Romney wants to let the -- he said in the first 100 days he's going to let the big banks once again write their own rules, unchain Wall Street. They're going to put you all back in chains.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": You know Governor Romney was not the only one blasting those comments. What Vice President Biden said in Virginia is not sitting well with one of that state's former governors, and did I mention he's a Democrat?

With me now, one of my favorite guests, former Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder.

Governor, good to have you back.

DOUG WILDER (D), FORMER VIRGINIA GOVERNOR: Neil, it's always good to be with you.

CAVUTO: What did you make of what the vice president said?

WILDER: Well, first of all, it's divisive and certainly uncalled for.

I don't think the Obama administration needs that at this time. And as you know, I've not been the most strong supporter of Joe Biden. And yet, we all know he's gaffe-prone. But when you make a statement that says they are going to put ya'll back in chains, which means I'm OK, not going to happen to me, and they...

CAVUTO: Well, that's interesting, yes, yes.

WILDER: We will work through it, but you all will be in chains.

Now, slavery is nothing to joke about. And the history of this nation's involvement with slavery is nothing to pass off in a joke. And so let's give him the benefit of the doubt by saying, well, he didn't mean all of that. And his apologists are already out there saying it.

But you can't continue to make gaffe after gaffe after gaffe and to believe that it's going to be supportive of what you and the president are trying to do. Reach out and unite.

CAVUTO: Governor, let me ask you -- another former governor, Sarah Palin, was on with Greta Van Susteren last night on this network saying maybe it's time for the president just to recognize the obvious, Joe Biden's a liability, put Hillary Clinton on the ticket with him and dump Joe.

What do you say?

WILDER: Tha's not going to happen. I saw your interview with John McCain.

It's too late for that. We all know that.

CAVUTO: Yes.

WILDER: And I agree with John to the extent that he said that she's ready for 2016. She's not even going to stay around to be on this ticket, period, in the administration.

So the more important thing is don't divide the country. We are not African-Americans. We are Americans. We are not subjects that would finally understand what the circumstances are.

People will measure up. And that's why you need to reach out and talk to people as adults, speak to them as equals, and not they are going to put ya'll back in chains, Which means you are separating yourself from ya'll.

CAVUTO: you know I didn't catch the ya'll part. You always, always catch stuff I miss.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: You know, Governor, I remember when Barack Obama was first elected coming into office -- and you and I chatted throughout that whole process and all.

WILDER: Yes.

CAVUTO: And one of the key virtues you brought to office -- I don't care whether people agree or disagree -- you wanted a moderate approach.

You felt that you couldn't be too extreme one way or another, and that the message for Democrats, for example, in your victory was that the moderate -- the moderate approach, the middle-ground approach is always better than going sharp left.

The rap against this president is that he is has unabashedly and unapologetically gone sharp left, and there is no dialing him back now. What do you say to that?

WILDER: Well, the real problem, Neil, is this.

This election is more than just about electing the president. You're going to be electing the majority of the Senate, the majority of the House. Let's assume, for whatever reasons, that the majority of the Senate now returns to Democratic hands and everyone knows -- I'm sorry -- returns to Republican hands. No one believes that...

CAVUTO: Do you think that's going to happen? Do you think that's going to happen?

WILDER: It – it's a strong chance that it could happen.

There are some members of the Democratic Party who are concerned about that.

CAVUTO: Right.

WILDER: And it gets to the point you just made. Let's assume that does happen. You've got to govern with the Congress that would be a majority of the opposite party. And then what can you get done?

CAVUTO: What about...

WILDER: It's going to be daunting.

CAVUTO: Well, that -- baked into your assumptions the president gets reelected.

WILDER: Yes.

CAVUTO: Yes.

WILDER: That would be the assumption.

CAVUTO: OK.

WILDER: Now, all of those things play into what was said yesterday by the vice president. And even though he may say, well, I don't have any regrets about what I said, there are others who regret that it was said, and I'm one of them.

CAVUTO: But besides what the vice president is saying, for the president -- I know you are a Democrat, and I know party affiliation and all, but you're generally are a pretty straight shooter.

For the president to harangue Paul Ryan over gutting Medicare when he himself from this ABC interview that's emerged from a few years ago said $700 billion in savings or whatever, that was part of the deal in Medicare. That's what he was doing. So it started, ironically, with him.

Do you think he is at best disingenuous on this issue?

WILDER: Well, I think the old axiom holds true in this instance. All's fair in love and war.

(LAUGHTER)

WILDER: And I think they are at war in this instance, and they've been at war for some time.

And so I guess the president is saying, OK, I have had the slings and arrows. I'm going to throw some now. Do the American people want that? I don't believe they do. I think they want a fair and balanced discussion of what the issues are that are confronting the people. I've always said on your show and every time I get a chance to speak, period, money is the one-word definition of politics. And the economy and money and jobs are going to be the guiding issues in this election this November.

CAVUTO: All right, that might not make the president a slam dunk in that respect, then, right?

WILDER: Beg your pardon?

CAVUTO: I mean, he might not be a slam dunk then, if that's going to be the issue, right?

WILDER: Well, no, I think it would be a mistake for anybody to believe that it's a slam dunk for anybody.

CAVUTO: OK.

WILDER: This election is up in the air, up for grabs, and it has got to be fought for, but on terms that the American people will approve.

And that is speak to them directly, intelligently on the issues.

CAVUTO: All right. Well, you're way too honorable and classy. So you're going nowhere fast.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Governor, thank you very, very much. It's always good seeing you.

WILDER: Thanks again, always, Neil. Thank you very much.

CAVUTO: All right, Doug Wilder, the former Virginia governor.

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