Joe Biden’s proclivity for being handsy with and nuzzling women in creepy ways has been well known for years.

He didn’t hide it, he did it in front of the cameras, and Democrats just wrote it off as Creepy Uncle Joe being Creepy Uncle Joe again.

If that public record were all there were, it likely would not cause Biden major campaign problems as he contemplates running for president. After all, if Democrats like Chris Coons and Ashton Carter just stood there and smiled as Biden took liberties with their women, how can they complain now?

But now an accusation has been unleashed by a liberal Democrat activist and one-time candidate that presents a much bigger problem for Biden. That alleged conduct was not in front of the cameras and nto previously known to the public, Joe Biden has a #MeToo problem – Liberal activist claims 2014 non-consensual “big slow kiss”.

The women in question is Lucy Flores. She’s a Bernie supporter, so there might be reason to suspect this is a hit job, except that what she accuses Biden of doing in private is precisely what we have seen him do in public. In Flores’ words:

As I was taking deep breaths and preparing myself to make my case to the crowd, I felt two hands on my shoulders. I froze. “Why is the vice-president of the United States touching me?”

I felt him get closer to me from behind. 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 fuck? 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.

Flores is standing by her story in an interview today.

Flores herself says Biden’s conduct should be disqualifying:

“That in and of itself might not sound like a very serious thing,” she told CNN after describing the alleged incident. “I fully recognize that this behavior — never do I claim that this was — that rises to the level of a sexual assault or anything of that nature. What I am saying is that it’s completely inappropriate, that it does not belong in any kind of a professional setting, much less in politics. And that is something that we should consider when we are talking about the background of a person who is considering running for president.”

She added that she believes the alleged behavior is “disqualifying” for Biden’s potential presidential bid.

Maybe she made it up because she is aware of Biden’s public conduct, but Biden is not denying it so far. Biden’s spokesman’s statement wasn’t an admission, but it also wasn’t a denial:

Vice President Biden was pleased to support Lucy Flores’s candidacy for Lieutenant Governor of Nevada in 2014 and to speak on her behalf at a well-attended public event.

Neither then, nor in the years since, did he or the staff with him at the time have an inkling that Ms. Flores had been at any time uncomfortable, nor do they recall what she describes.

But Vice President Biden believes that Ms. Flores has every right to share her own recollection and reflections, and that it is a change for better in our society that she has the opportunity to do so.

He respects Ms. Flores as a strong and independent voice in our politics and wishes her only the best.

Biden himself issued a statement this morning, after the accusation had festered for two days, which again is not an unequivocal denial:

Former Vice President Joe Biden responded for the first time on Sunday to allegations that he made a Nevada politician feel “uneasy” in 2014 when he kissed her on the back of her head, saying that he never believed he 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 in a statement. “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.” ….

In his statement on Sunday, Biden said, “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. And I will.”

Flores rejects Biden’s statement:

Biden not only has not issued an unequivocal denial, he has no base of defenders. To the contrary, his primary opponents are starting to swoop in to deliver a coup de grâce to Biden’s nascent campaign.

Leading the pack, of course, is Elizabeth Warren:

Democrats running for president weighed in on allegations that former vice president Joe Biden inappropriately touched a woman in 2014, saying Saturday at a candidate event in Storm Lake, Iowa that they believe the woman.

“I believe Lucy Flores,” said Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. “And Joe Biden needs to give an answer.” ….

Asked whether Biden should choose not to run for president, given the allegation, Warren said, “That’s for Joe Biden to decide.” ….

Warren made the remarks to reporters following her appearance Saturday at a forum in Storm Lake. Other candidates in attendance also responded to reporters’ questions about Biden.

“I believe Lucy Flores. I believe that the vice president put a statement out today on that,” former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro told reporters. “And we need to live in a nation where people can hear her truth.”

“Do you think it disqualifies him for the presidency?” a reporter asked.

“He’s going to decide whether he’s going to run or not and then the American people, if he does, will decide whether they support him or not,” Castro said.

Will Biden be Al Franken, who was thrown under the bus by Democrats because of the #MeToo movement? Or will he be Brett Kavanaugh, who survived more serious accusations as Republicans rallied around him?

This is not a Kavanaugh situation. Kavanaugh immediately and unequivocally denied the 40-year-old allegations lodged against him by Christine Blasey Ford and then others. The evidence supported Kavanaugh as to Ford, and the accusations by others either were revealed to be outright hoaxes or had no credibility (such as the claim by Julie Swetnick, represented by Michael Avenatti, that Kavanaugh ran gang-rape parties in high school).

Kanavaugh had the advantage not only of the facts and evidence being on his side, he had a base of support who saw the accusations as part of an attempted Borking. By contrast, there are few Democrats who have an incentive to go to bat for Biden, certainly not given the public record of creepy handsy and nuzzling behavior.

How can Democrats back Biden as a presidential candidate when they jettisoned Al Franken as a Senator?

 
 
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