UPDATED with video: In his first TV sit-down since officially throwing his hat into the ring via video, Democratic White House hopeful Joe Biden walked out to The View panelist table in the most awkward way possible Friday, carefully shaking hands with some of the show’s female panelists while leaving space between them, giving Ana Navarro a quick kiss the cheek, and embracing only Meghan McCain, who everyone knows is a close personal friend.
He quickly sat down at the table and they immediately cut to commercial.
In the lead up to Thursday’s announcement, Biden faced backlash when several women accused him of making them uncomfortable with inappropriate touching and space-invading. He responded by video, noting “social norms are changing” and vowing to be “more mindful” going forward.
On Friday, he told The View panel, “Here’s the deal. I have to be much more aware of the private space of men and women,” acknowledging it was on his mind as he walked on the set. “I actually thought in my head when I walked out here. I mean, do I? We’re friends you know?” he said. “I have to be more cognizant.”
Biden clearly chose this extremely friendly venue as his first at-bat as a candidate in order to address this hot-button topic and his history with Anita Hill. McCain gave him a hero’s welcome, describing Biden as “a beloved political icon in politics for 50 years,” adding she “couldn’t be more thrilled” he chose their show as his first stop… to discuss the politics of the day.”
Except the Q&A, to which the entire broadcast was devoted, was virtually policy/platform free.
Dem White House hopeful No. 20 first got asked about his announcement video, which targeted President Donald Trump replaying footage of the Unite the Right white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, about which Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides” of the fatal riot that ensued.
“The rest of the world they look at us, like, my god…what’s going on?” Biden told The View watchers.
Joy Behar noted pundits claim the election will come down to Pennsylvania, so Biden could joke it’s a “suburb of” his home in Wilmington, DE.
Anticipating Fox News Channel reax, Biden added, “I know it’s not.”
He gave an emphatic “no” when asked whether he would promise to serve one term only if elected, as some political navel lint gazers have recommended, given that he is 76 years old. It’s up to voters to decide if he has the energy and capacity for a second term, if elected to a first, he said.
But most of the hour was devoted to the panelists asking Biden if he will apologize to women who have complained of unwelcome hugging and other invasions of space. Behar said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants him to say he’s sorry he invaded their space. He did, adding that he will “read better” situations in the future, adding “It was inappropriate that I didn’t understand, that I assumed.”
Navarro threw Biden a lifeline, noting that there are times when someone in need of encouragement and needing a hug is “happy to get that from Joe Biden.”
As it became clear he would run in 2020, Biden also faced more criticism for his treatment of Hill during the 1991 confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas. Hill testified against Thomas before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Biden chaired. This week, Hill told the New York Times she did not accept Biden’s recent private, personal apology to her. Saying “we can clean this up right now,” Behar cleared the way for Biden to apologize some more on The View.
“I don’t think I treated her badly,” he responded, which will played often on cable news TV on Friday afternoon.
“I did everything in my power to do what I thought was within the rules,” Biden insisted, adding, “There were a lot of mistakes that were made across the board, and for those I apologize.”
Switching subjects, McCain brought up Biden’s encounters with death, noting he lost his first wife and daughter in a car accident, and, more recently, his son Beau to the same form of cancer that took her father.
The last time Biden was on The View, she noted, was “an extremely emotional and dark time for me, and you gave me such comfort on air. You jokingly said ‘Forgive me father, I’m friends with Republicans’,” McCain said, calling him “the grief whisperer,” and adding, “I love you so much.”
Biden returned the compliment, saying Sen. John McCain “took care of” his son as he was battling brain cancer.
Biden got choked up as he answered McCain’s question whether “death ever gets easier.” He expressed compassion for those who have to go through such loss “and they’re alone” without the support he received.
When asked, he said he is not running for the White House because his son Beau had encouraged him to do so, but added, “I hope he’s proud of me,” then stopped speaking to collect himself and wipe away a tear.