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What Biden controversy could mean for a potential campaign

Although he has yet to declare whether he will launch a 2020 presidential campaign, former Vice President Joe Biden is facing a controversy that could potentially derail it. Two women have revealed past interactions with Biden in which his behavior made them uncomfortable; one of them, Lucy Flores, calls the experience “disqualifying” of Biden as a candidate. Lisa Desjardins reports.

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  • John Yang:

    Sticking with politics, and sticking with Lisa Desjardins, she'll be back in a minute with our regular Monday political roundtable.

    But, first, she reports on 2020, the Democratic primary race, and new controversy swirling around a major party figure may join the contest.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Las Vegas, 2014, then Vice President Joe Biden was campaigning for Lucy Flores, who was running to be lieutenant governor of Nevada.

    Now Flores' account of that event is dominating talk of Biden's plans for the 2020 presidential race.

  • Lucy Flores (D):

    For me, it's disqualifying. I think it's up to everybody else to make that decision.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    In "New York Magazine," Flores writes that before they walked on stage, Biden placed his hands on her shoulders, smelled her hair, then kissed her head. She says it all made her very uncomfortable, and that she had thought about speaking out before now.

    Biden responded Sunday in a statement, saying, in years of public life, he's offered countless hugs and expression of affection for support and comfort, that "Never did I believe I acted inappropriately," but that he will listen respectfully, if that is suggested.

    On Sunday, Flores suggested Biden had a troubling pattern.

  • Lucy Flores:

    To me, whether you believe me or not isn't as important as literally taking a look at the entire history of his behavior.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    And this afternoon, a different woman told The Hartford Courant that Biden put his hands around her neck and pulled her in uncomfortably in 2009, though she said he didn't try to kiss her.

    Other women are defending Biden, like Stephanie Carter. This photo of Biden with his hand on Carter's shoulders whispering in her ear generated a lot of attention. This was at her husband's swearing-in ceremony as secretary of defense in 2014.

    Posting on her blog this weekend, Carter wrote: "There was nothing uncomfortable. And Biden was a close friend helping someone get through a big day."

    All of this, of course, is getting attention on the campaign trail. From Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren in Iowa Saturday:

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.:

    I believe Lucy Flores, and Joe Biden needs to give an answer.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    To former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, also in Iowa this weekend:

  • Julian Castro (D):

    We need to live in a nation where people can hear her truth.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar spoke on ABC's "This Week" Sunday.

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.:

    I have no reason not to believe her.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Klobuchar said Biden will have to address this more if he gets into the presidential race.

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