Over the weekend we were treated to the beginnings of a ruthless Democratic primary as former Vice President Joe Biden began taking incoming fire over past behavior on the campaign trail in 2014. Lucy Flores, the 2014 Democratic nominee for Nevada lieutenant governor, in an op-ed which dropped on Friday of last week, accused Biden of inappropriately kissing her head and touching her shoulders before a campaign event the two were attending in Nevada.

NBC News gives us some more background on the story:

In a New York magazine piece published Friday, Lucy Flores, the 2014 Democratic nominee for Nevada lieutenant governor, said that before a campaign event where Biden was set to campaign for her and other Democratic candidates, the then-vice president approached her from behind, placed his hands on her shoulders, smelled her hair, and gave her an uncomfortable kiss on the back of the head.

“I felt him get closer to me from behind,” Flores wrote. “He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified. I thought to myself, ‘I didn’t wash my hair today and the vice-president of the United States is smelling it. And also, what in the actual f—? Why is the vice-president of the United States smelling my hair?’ He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head. My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused.”

That’s… strikingly similar to some of the things that Biden has been caught on camera doing. In fact, what Flores describes in her op-ed his Biden’s signature move, and it’s been documented. This isn’t even the first time he’s taken public flack for it, but it’s the first time he’s considering a run for higher office since winning with Barack Obama in 2012.

On Sunday, Biden addressed the issue with a statement on how he viewed the incident in question:

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday addressed an allegation that he inappropriately kissed a Nevada candidate for statewide office in 2014, saying in a statement that “not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately.”

“In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort,” Biden said. “And not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention. I may not recall these moments the same way, and I may be surprised at what I hear.”

“But we have arrived at an important time when women feel they can and should relate their experiences, and men should pay attention,” he said. “And I will. I will also remain the strongest advocate I can be for the rights of women. I will fight to build on the work I’ve done in my career to end violence against women and ensure women are treated with the equality they deserve. I will continue to surround myself with trusted women advisers who challenge me to see different perspectives than my own. And I will continue to speak out on these vitally-important issues where there is much more progress to be made and crucial fights that must be waged and won.”

Notably, there’s no denying that the embrace or “hug,” as Biden may be calling it, ever took place. There were probably enough people around waiting backstage at a busy campaign event to corroborate Flores’ claims.

It’s no coincidence this story drops days or weeks before Biden is expected to launch a campaign for the 2020 Democratic nomination, but this certainly complicates things. In fact, it’s rather obvious that some other campaign (or campaigns) is working to damage Biden before he even gets in the race as a means to, perhaps, dissuade him from even pulling the trigger.

Some Democrats, however, are willing to let this one go:

When asked about the allegation on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said, “Certainly one allegation is not disqualifying, but it should be taken seriously.”

What if it’s not one allegation? Would it take two allegations, or three for Durbin to say this disqualifies Biden from the nomination? With the four decades Biden has spent campaigning for various offices, is it not possible that a few more female staffers or candidates from around the country could be coaxed out to make a similar statement?

Naturally, Biden’s 2020 opponents latched on to Flores’ article:

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Saturday said former Vice President Joe Biden needs to provide an answer to allegations he inappropriately touched a Nevada politician at an event in 2014.

“I read the op-ed last night,” Warren said in Iowa on Saturday. “I believe Lucy Flores. And Joe Biden needs to give an answer.”

At the same event in Iowa, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development and Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro told reporters he too believed Flores and added, “we need to live in a nation where people can hear her truth.”

When asked whether Warren thought Biden should stay out of the 2020 campaign as a result of Flores’ allegation, she demurred to voters:

Asked by a reporter if the allegations should bar the Biden from entering the 2020 Democratic race, Warren responded, “that’s for Joe Biden to decide.”

Pushed further if it disqualifies any male candidate accused of inappropriate behavior from running, Warren said the final decision will be up to the voters.

“That is their decision whether or not to run, and it’ll be up to Democratic voters whether or not to support someone. That’s the process.”

Bernie Sanders also chimed in to say that while he believes Flores’ statement, it doesn’t disqualify Biden from a 2020 run:

“I have no reason not to believe Lucy and I think what this speaks to is the need to fundamentally change the culture of this country,” Sanders told CBS’ Margaret Brennan Sunday. “And to create environments where women feel comfortable and feel safe and that’s something we’ve got to do.”

“I think that’s a decision for the vice president to make,” replied Sanders. “I’m not sure that one incident alone disqualifies anybody. But her point is absolutely right that this is an issue not just of Democrats and Republicans, the entire country has got to take seriously. It is not acceptable that when a woman goes to work or is any kind of environment that she feels anything less than comfortable and safe. And this is an issue the entire country has got to work on.”

This story will continue to develop since Flores has gone public and already done a television interview which puts a face with the allegations. Biden had better work out a thorough and measured to response to this or his campaign will be derailed before it even leaves the station.

If Democratic voters are soured on Biden over this kind of behavior, it might be a short campaign for him. He’s been leading in national polls, but he’s not putting up big enough numbers to absorb this type of campaign scandal before the campaign begins.

It’s worth noting that Flores has been supportive of Bernie Sanders in prior election years and even traded endorsements with him. It’s entirely plausible that she’s coming out with her story now to push Biden out of the race which would definitely help Bernie who is nipping at Biden’s heels according to most primary polls.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Don’t we all know “that a kiss is just a kiss”. So do not ask me to believe that Lucy Flores, as a politician, has never indulged in hand shaking, back patting, and a meaningless kiss or two on her way to becoming part of the US Congress.

      • Surely you are aware of the vast difference between rape and simply stealing a kiss. My sentiments on this applies toward Judge Kavanaugh as well as Donald Trump….both men are known to be guilty of rape and run…and each should act like a man and take the heat for their misconduct.

        • When did Kavanaugh go to prison for rape? I’m asking because when I Google when Kavanaugh was convicted of rape no date is given. I’m sure you know, right?

          • Read more closely. I said Kavanaugh was guilty. Being guilty
            does not mean being charged or convicted. But if you googled Kavanaugh, then you had the opportunity to read exactly what I did.
            A fellow Yale student, Deborah Ramirez, told The New Yorker that Kavanaugh drank excessively in college at Yale University and exposed himself to her at a parties in which she and other students were present. Julie Swetnick made the same charge that Kavanaugh drank heavily and along with some fellow students exposed themselves at college parties. Of course, President Trump, who also knows about such things first hand, came to Kavanaugh’s rescue. Kavanaugh now sits in a position to make final judgement on the actions of others.

            • Your definition of guilty has nothing to do with the law. Your definition of guilty is what you believe, and the women believe, happened. There is no proof that anything happened.

              It is a fact that Bill Clinton exposed himself. There is no proof that Kavanaugh exposed himself. In fact women that clerked for him say he wasn’t that type of person.

            • Your definition of guilty has nothing to do with the law. Your definition of guilty is what you believe, and the women believe, happened. There is no proof that anything happened.

              It is a fact that Bill Clinton exposed himself. There is no proof that Kavanaugh exposed himself. In fact women that clerked for him say he wasn’t that type of person.

            • Well, if we are going to talk law, then let me remind you that Bill Clinton was found “not guilty” in the Lewinski affair trial.

              Lest you forgot, in October 2016, a studio tape was released in which Trump was recorded boasting about grabbing women’s genitals. Some of these women made their stories public months before the tape’s release, and still others came forward as recently as December. Which simply means that Trump, like an old hunting dog who gets the scent, just keeps on hunting. That also brings up the name of Stormy Daniels and her easy money collection from Trump. As for me, I am not deeply interested in a president’s personal misconduct. That is for his wife and family to deal with as they see fit. I admire the way the present Mrs Donald Trump smiles and turns a deaf ear because she knows that we know about her husband’s extra marital conduct.

              As for Kananaugh, he is just another individual who feels it is necessary to hide and deny the sexual indiscretions of youth. He cried on the witness stand when questioned by members of the Senate about them. And now this cry baby sits on the US Supreme Court bench.

    • I actually thought Biden did pretty well in response. First, he said that he didn’t think anything he did was inappropriate. But it would have been more effective if they had shown him getting “handsy” with men, too. But the second point was that times have changed. What used to be normal is not, now. His most effective point, though was delineating the difference between harassment and invading space. People persons are more likely to want to involve another person, and thereby step over the line, such as when W tried to give Angela Merkel a shoulder massage. It was clearly not meant to be sexual, but instead, friendly. But, as Biden said, you need permission these days.

      Never-the-less, my guess is that Biden is toast. Democrats will want to run against the guy who bragged that he liked being able to “grab them by the p-ssy.” Dems will want to make that contrast as great as possible. But Carter can’t run again. ;-).

  2. It’s begun. The Democrats are going to RIP each other apart and I for one can’t wait. I suppose if we had to believe Christine Blasey-Ford when she testified against Brett Kavanaugh over an incident 4 decades prior we need to believe this woman. After all it only happened 5 years ago. The fact the she is a Sanders supporter and it will only benefit him if Biden doesn’t run is of little consequence. We after all have to believe the woman, after all that is what the Democrats kept on harping about when a conservative was accused.?

    • Still I’d say “Let Joe Run.” But the Dems, Sparty, started this touchy feely Kavanaugh thing. Now they MUST abide by it.

      Sorry Joe. It’s over. He didn’t want to run anyway.

        • I read your post. My question is the same. Which conservative are you referring to? And what was the accusation you speak of? Unable to answer until I know who and what you are writing about.

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