Former Vice President Joe Biden said Friday he's working on being "more cognizant" of people's personal space but maintained his intentions are nothing to apologize for.
The ladies of ABC's The View brought up allegations of inappropriate physical contact, which he's joked about recently, and he said he needs to be careful and thoughtful going forward. Co-host Ana Navarro asked him about Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) saying he should simply apologize to the women whose space he’s invaded, and Biden downplayed it.
Recent Stories in Politics
"Nancy Pelosi wants you to say, ‘I'm sorry that I invaded your space,'" co-host Joy Behar said.
"So I invaded your space, and I'm sorry this happened, but I'm not sorry in the sense that I think I did anything that was intentionally designed to do anything wrong or be inappropriate," he said, trying to articulate himself further but trailing off.
Biden said joining the show—hosted by women who are openly his friends and supporters—was partly hampered by his newfound hesitance to touch women. Having to be cognizant of that is a new challenge, the 76-year-old politician said.
"For example, I thought in my head when I walked out here, I mean, do I—we're friends. Do I hug you?" he said.
"I know, it’s tricky," Behar said.
"But I have to be aware of it. I have to be more cognizant. We all have to be," he said.
Biden has long been known for "tactile" social engagement, which critics like President Donald Trump have called creepy but supporters describe as the work of a good "retail politician." The women who have called on Biden to apologize have not leveled sexual misconduct allegations, such as Nevada Democrat Lucy Flores, who said she felt "uneasy" but not sexually harassed.
Biden still said he needs to read situations better and not force women to tell him "no" when he’s touching them.
"I don't think anyone's ever said that I invaded their space in a way that was designed to do something—other than making them feel uncomfortable, but not anything having to do with harassment.
Biden entered the race officially Thursday after waiting for almost two dozen others to get into the Democratic primary. His launch video focused on Trump’s response to the Charlottesville alt-right rally that led to the death of a counter-protester. However, Biden has already taken criticism from the left, not just on matters related to gender but also for his economic policies. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), who is well behind Biden in the polls, accused him Thursday of siding with credit card companies over regular folks.