Former Vice President Joe Biden joked about allegations that he touched eight women inappropriately during a speech to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Conference at the Washington Hilton in Washington D.C. (more video below)
Biden joked about hugging Lonnie Stephenson, president of IBEW, who introduced him:
I just want you to know I had permission to hug Lonnie.
CNN host John King noted how the joking appeared to be “tone deaf”:
The former vice president at the top of his speech made what he thought to be a joke. He embraced a union president, a man, walked over to the microphone and said, ‘”I asked permission beforehand.It seemed really off tone, tone deaf, I’m being kind when I say that.
The Daily Beast’s Washington bureau chief Jackie Kucinich added her take:
It’s the discipline question, it’s a question of this political tone deafness. Yeah, that’s a Joe Biden who would probably do very well on the campaign trail. It’s just whether he can he help himself from these other Bidenisms.
POLITICO reporter Eliana Johnson shared her analysis:
He was joking around on stage, but it just wasn’t funny. It didn’t land the way he intended. If coming out and talking to reporters is one of his strengths, why did he wait a week to do it?
Buzzfeed News journalist Tarini Parti added to the discussion:
Even when he’s trying to apologize, he’s still defending himself and some of his actions. I think that balance, as he’s addressing that issue more and more, could get frustrating for some people if he keeps saying, “oh but there were hundreds who do like it when I hug them.”
(Sources: CNN, ABC News/Twitter)