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Dems React to New Biden Accusation

So far, no big names are coming to his defense
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 31, 2019 5:15 PM CDT
In this March 12, 2019, file photo, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to the International Association of Firefighters at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

(Newser) – Former Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday defended his interactions with women, saying he doesn't believe he's ever acted inappropriately. But a Nevada politician's assertion that Biden's kiss on the back of her head made her feel uncomfortable prompted some Democrats to question whether the 76-year-old is too out of step with his own party to run a successful 2020 presidential campaign, the AP reports. The episode, recounted by Democrat Lucy Flores, highlighted an aspect of Biden's persona that has been publicly known for years: the affectionate whispers, hugs, and shoulder squeezes he has long doled out to women, often on camera and at high-profile public events. Among the reactions:

  • "It looks different in 2019," said Maria Cardona, a Democratic strategist. Cardona said that while Biden's behavior is not automatically disqualifying for the presidency, "it all depends on how he continues to respond to this. He has to acknowledge that his behavior made some women uncomfortable."
  • None of Biden's potential rivals defended him following Flores' allegations. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she believed Flores and that Biden "needs to give an answer" about what occurred.
  • New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said, "Lucy Flores felt demeaned, and that is never okay. If Vice President Biden becomes a candidate, this is a topic he'll have to engage on further."
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said, "I believe it's important to listen and take seriously any incident like this."
Biden still leads most early polls, buoyed by broad name recognition and the goodwill he generated during eight years as President Barack Obama's No. 2. (See how Biden responded to the accusation.)

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