Woman in This Biden Photo Says People Got It Wrong

Stephanie Carter says former VP is a close friend who was giving comfort, not being creepy
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2019 6:06 AM CDT
Updated Apr 1, 2019 6:41 AM CDT
Vice President Joe Biden talks with Stephanie Carter, wife of incoming Defense Secretary Ash Carter, during Carter's swearing-in ceremony in 2015 in the White House.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – Joe Biden is taking serious heat for being too touchy-feely with women over the years, but one of the women in a much-trafficked photo is coming to his defense. Stephanie Carter, wife of former defense chief Ash Carter, says people are misconstruing an image of the former VP whispering into her ear with his hands clasped on her shoulders. He was not being creepy, she writes in a post at Medium. "The Joe Biden in my picture is a close friend helping someone get through a big day, for which I will always be grateful," she writes. The photo in question came during the swearing-in ceremony for Ash Carter at the White House in 2015. Stephanie Carter writes that she was feeling out of sorts during the ceremony, in part because she had fallen on ice in full view of some reporters beforehand.

"By the time then-Vice President Biden had arrived, he could sense I was uncharacteristically nervous- and quickly gave me a hug," she writes. "After the swearing in, as Ash was giving remarks, he leaned in to tell me 'thank you for letting him do this' and kept his hands on my shoulders as a means of offering his support." But the image began circulating with snarky comments immediately, so much so that Carter recalls a reporter surprising her in the hall of her apartment that night, looking for a comment. As Politico notes, Biden's actions in the photo are similar to what Democratic politician Lucy Flores has accused Biden of doing at a political rally five years ago. Flores has called out Biden's behavior as inappropriate, while Biden, 73, says he never intended to offend. (Big-name Democrats aren't exactly flocking to Biden's defense.)

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