Biden camp says creepy photos are ‘smears and forgeries’
Spokesman points to doctored shots as women accuse Biden of unwanted touching
WASHINGTON: Mr Joe Biden's 2020 campaign-in-waiting on Monday pushed back on "smears" it said he faces regarding his physical contact with women, as a new accuser emerged to say the former vice-president crossed the line into indecency.
Mr Biden's spokesman pointed to doctored or misleading photographs that have circulated on the Internet for years spotlighting what the 76-year-old Democrat himself describes as a "tactile" campaign style.
With two women in the past week going public to recount how Mr Biden inappropriately touched them years ago, scrutiny on his history of unwanted contact has surged as he considers a presidential campaign.
"These smears and forgeries have existed in the dark recesses of the Internet for a while," the spokesman, Mr Bill Russo, said in a statement, referring to images that show Mr Biden being overly familiar with women and children.
"And to this day, right-wing trolls and others continue to exploit them," he added.
The push-back comes as a Connecticut woman said Mr Biden inappropriately touched her at a 2009 political fund-raiser when he was vice-president.
"It wasn't sexual, but he did grab me by the head," Ms Amy Lappos told Connecticut's Hartford Courant newspaper.
"He put his hand around my neck and pulled me in to rub noses with me. When he was pulling me in, I thought he was going to kiss me on the mouth."
NEVER FILED COMPLAINT
Ms Lappos, 43, said she never filed a complaint because she believed it would go nowhere, but she was aware of the line of decency and respect that should have been honoured.
"Crossing that line is not grandfatherly," she said. "It is not cultural. It is not affection. It is sexism or misogyny."
Mr Biden has yet to declare his candidacy, but he is the favourite to win the Democratic nomination and challenge Mr Donald Trump in the next election.
Mr Biden was hit last week with an accusation by former Nevada state lawmaker Lucy Flores, who recalled being "mortified" when he planted a "big, slow kiss" on the back of her head at a campaign rally five years ago.
He issued a statement on Sunday saying he would respectfully listen to women who accused him of misconduct, but that in his decades of public life, "not once - never - did I believe I acted inappropriately".
Mr Biden has had a reputation for awkwardly touching the wives, mothers or daughters of senators during swearing-in ceremonies. - AFP
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