(CBS News) Republican outrage over recent remarks from Vice President Joe Biden -- and the GOP suggestion that President Obama should replace his vice president -- amount to the "WWF wrestling part of politics," Mr. Obama said Wednesday.
"If we're going to talk about substance, than we should focus on what Joe's comments meant and what they're intended to mean," Mr. Obama said in an interview with "Entertainment Tonight" in defense of his vice president.
At a campaign stop in Virginia Tuesday, Biden told more than 800 supporters, many of whom were African-American, that Mitt Romney wants to repeal the financial regulations enacted after the Wall Street crash of 2008, and that Republicans are "s" with their economic and regulatory policies.
In response, Romney said the Obama campaign is. Several other Republicans spoke out against the vice president as well.
"Slavery is nothing to joke about," Former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder, the first African-American elected as governor in the U.S., said Wednesday on Fox News. "And the history of this nation's involvement with slavery is nothing to pass off in a joke."
Even if one were to give Biden the benefit of the doubt and assume he didn't mean it, Wilder continued, "you can't continue to make gaffe after gaffe after gaffe and believe that it's going to be supportive of what you and the president are both trying to do."
Former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin suggested that Mr. Obama would be better off if he made Secretary of State Hillary Clinton his running mate because "Joe Biden drags down that ticket." John McCain, with whom Palin ran in 2008, agreed it would be "wise" to replace Biden.
Mr. Obama said that Biden's choice of words created "a distraction from what is at stake" when it comes to Wall Street regulations.
"We've got a situation where we just went through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and part of the reason we went through that crisis was because there was a lot of reckless behavior on Wall Street," he said. "We put in reforms to make sure we don't have any more taxpayer funded bailouts. Governor Romney and his allies in Congress disagree with those reforms... and I think understandably what Joe Biden said is we shouldn't want to go back to the status quo."
As for the suggestions that Clinton should replace Biden as his running mate, Mr. Obama said, "We don't spend a lot of time worrying about the chatter and the noise and this and that... The country isn't as divided with gaffes or some stray remark as Washington is. Most folks know that's just sort of a WWF wrestling part of politics. It doesn't mean anything, just fills up a lot of airtime."
While some may think Clinton should replace Biden after his latest gaffe, Clinton similarly came under fire in 2006 after telling a largely black audience, "When you look at the way the House of Representatives has been run, it has been run like a plantation. And you know what I'm talking about."