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Biden gets back on message: 'The Etch A Sketch is gone'

BLACKSBURG, VA -- A day after igniting controversy by saying that Republican policies would put Americans "in chains,"  Vice President Joe Bidentried to get back on message, slamming Gov. Mitt Romney with a metaphor dating back to the GOP primary.

"The Etch A Sketch is gone," Biden said of Mitt Romney's selection of Rep. Paul Ryan -- known for the specifics of his budget plan -- as a running mate. "This is sort of written pretty clearly, it's almost, not in stone, but it's clearly defined.

Romney's Republican rivals used the "Etch A Sketch" metaphor earlier this year when adviser Eric Fehrnstrom implied Romney would be able to reset his campaign's tone after the end of the GOP primary.

The vice president, who came under fierce criticism for his "chains" comment in Danville, VA, steered clear of the controversy today, ignoring a question about the remark from a reporter during an unscheduled stop at a Radford coffee shop.

But he did reference his renowned tendency for bluntness, often manifested in cringe-worthy moments from the former Delaware senator.

"I know I am sometimes criticized for saying exactly what I mean. It's not going to change," he said. "But let me tell you something, Barack Obama does exactly what he says he's going to do."

Aside from the "chains" remarks, Biden's slips on this trip haven't gone unnoticed.

Yesterday, Biden pushed for an electoral victory in North Carolina -- while appearing in Virginia.

Today, he asked "where's it written we cannot lead the world in the 20th century in making automobiles?" That earned a swift circulation to reporters from the Romney campaign.

"“Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will ensure America leads the world in the 21st century by strengthening middle-class families and creating jobs," Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in response. "President Obama and Vice President Biden have taken our nation backward with failed policies that have resulted in higher unemployment, more debt, and a weaker economy. A campaign based on rage and divisiveness can’t hide the president’s failed record."

But in Blacksburg, a more subdued Biden delivered the message of the day without a major distraction, slamming the consequences of Ryan's proposals to use vouchers to reform Medicare.

"Seniors would pay an extra $6,400 a year!" he said, arguing that vouchers would not keep up with rising health costs. "All in the service of what?"