PIERS MORGAN: If Joe ‘Hugger’ Biden, one of America’s most decent men, isn’t virtuous enough to be President – then who the hell is?

Joe Biden has a Hagar the Horrible cartoon on his office desk.
It depicts Hagar being blasted in a boat by a huge storm and shouting up at the Heavens: “Why me?”.
And God replies: “Why not?”
Biden was sent the cartoon by his father, after his first wife and baby daughter were killed in a horrific car accident 45 years ago.
It was intended to help him avoid trying to over-rationalise the tragedy and understand that bad stuff happens to all of us.
Biden was given this Hagar the Horrible cartoon strip by his father after his wife and child were killed in a car accident
Biden was given this Hagar the Horrible cartoon strip by his father after his wife and child were killed in a car accident
But few people have had stuff as bad as Joe Biden.
Three years ago, he lost another child – his brilliant, handsome, charming son Beau, to brain cancer at just 46.
It was a few days after Beau’s death that Biden rang to thank me for a column I wrote praising his son as ‘the best president America will never have.’
‘You know,’ he said, ‘there’s no worse thing in the world than losing a child. Nothing.’
I’m sure he’s right, and yet he’s had to endure this horror twice, and he’s lost a wife too.
Joe Biden with his first wife Neilia and baby daughter (top) who died in a car accident in 1972. Below Biden attends the funeral of his son Beau who died of brain cancer in 2015.
Joe Biden with his first wife Neilia and baby daughter (top) who died in a car accident in 1972. Below Biden attends the funeral of his son Beau who died of brain cancer in 2015.
So Joe Biden’s lived a long, tough, often horribly sad life.
Despite this, he’s dedicated himself to public service with, by common consent, great skill, tenacity, hard work and charm – establishing him as one of the most famous and admired politicians in America.
He ticks just about every box required to run for the highest office:
First, Biden’s incredibly experienced, having spent eight years as Barack Obama’s vice-president.
Second, he knows better than most how Washington really works and understands the vital importance of crossing the aisle to get stuff done. Some of his best friends are Republicans.
Third, what you see with Biden is what you get: he’s an honest, decent, intelligent and wise man.
Fourth, he’s ferociously loyal and commands great respect within his own party. Just ask President Obama, who repeatedly relied on his No2 to bail him out of tricky situations.
Vice President Joe Biden shares a joke with President Barack Obama at the White House in 2017
Vice President Joe Biden shares a joke with President Barack Obama at the White House in 2017
Fifth, he is a loving family man with no whiff of affairs.
No wonder then that he’s has been so widely touted as the perfect candidate for the Democrats to put up against Donald Trump in 2020.
And yet today, before he’s even declared he’s running, his whole potential campaign lies in the balance.
Biden’s been accused of being too ‘handsy’ by two women.
Neither claims he sexually assaulted them.
They just say he was a bit tactile for their liking.
One, Lucy Flores, who was running as a Democratic candidate for Nevada’s lieutenant governor in 2014 when then Vice-President Biden flew in to support her, says he smelled her hair and kissed her on the back of the head at a campaign event in 2014.
‘I’m not suggesting I felt sexually assaulted or sexually harassed,’ she said. ‘I felt invaded. I felt there was a violation of my personal space. And it’s being dismissed as if it’s just Biden being Biden. Boys will be boys. No big deal. It IS a big deal.’
Joe Biden with Lucy Flores, who is accusing him of inappropriate behavior, as the pair stump for Nevada democrats ahead of the November 2014 election
Joe Biden with Lucy Flores, who is accusing him of inappropriate behavior, as the pair stump for Nevada democrats ahead of the November 2014 election
The other, Amy Lappos, a former aide to a Democratic congressman, says Biden touched her face with both hands and rubbed noses with her at a private home fundraiser a decade ago.
She called on Biden not to run, saying: ‘Uninvited affection is not OK. Objectifying women is not OK.’
Biden responded by saying: ‘In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort. And not once – never – did I believe I acted inappropriately.’
Biden with Amy Lappos, who has also accused him of touching her inappropriately
Biden with Amy Lappos, who has also accused him of touching her inappropriately
Twitter has exploded with supposedly incriminating photos of Biden hugging women, but it's also exploded with myriad photos of him hugging men.
He thus appears to a very enthusiastic non-gender-specific hugger.
But the big question being asked is whether Biden’s a hugger or harasser?
The answer appears to be that it depends who’s being embraced.
Some women, like his two current accusers, find this kind of thing a bit creepy.
Other women don’t.
One of Biden’s supposed ‘victims’, Stephanie Carter, was given the Biden handsy treatment while her husband Ash Carter was sworn in as defense secretary in 2015.
But yesterday, when the clip raged away online as damning evidence that he’s a touchy-feely pervert, she fiercely defended him, saying: ‘The Joe Biden in MY picture is a close friend helping someone get through a big day, for which I always be grateful.’
Joe Biden is also accused of touching Stephanie Carter in an inappropriate fashion when her husband Ash was sworn is as Defense secrtary in 2015 - but she says his gestures were not untoward and merely a sign of their friendship
Other high profile women raced to defend Biden too.
Ambassador Susan Rice said: ‘In my experience, he is warm and affectionate with women (and men). But never have I found his actions inappropriate or uncomfortable.’
Meghan McCain, daughter of the late Senator John McCain, tweeted: ‘Joe Biden is one of the truly decent and compassionate men in all of American politics. He helped me through my father’s diagnosis, treatment and ultimate passing more than anyone of my father’s friends combined. I wish there was more empathy from our politicians not less.’
Abby Huntsman, daughter of America’s ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, and McCain’s co-panellist on The View, offered a wider observation: ‘I’ve had concerns about the “Me Too’ movement from the beginning, about getting to this place where you can’t have normal interactions with each other. Are we going to get to a place where we can’t shake hands? I worry about that.’
I think a lot of people, male and female, worry about that, because nobody any more seems entirely sure of the rules of social engagement.
The problem for Biden is that most of the liberals now defending him would be ripping him to pieces if he were a Republican.
Just remember the vicious treatment meted out to Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court.
So, as with everything in US politics these days, hyper-partisanship dictates moral judgement and Republicans are gleefully returning faux outrage fire with faux outrage fire.
Biden's defenders say he is equally tactile with men as he is women, proving the gestures are in no way sexual
Biden's defenders say he is equally tactile with men as he is women, proving the gestures are in no way sexual
Of course, there’s currently a sitting president who paid off porn stars and admitted to p*ssy-grabbing.
So when it comes to a moral bar for the White House, Donald Trump has set it spectacularly low.
But whilst that should help Biden, it’s now harming him because Democrats are terrified Trump will simply use Biden’s own ‘handsy’ behaviour to nullify his own vulnerable problem with women.
My own view of Biden’s handsy crisis is that it all surely comes down to intent.
Did he intend to be a sleaze-ball?
Did he intend for these women to feel uncomfortable?
Did he intend to get any sexual gratification or power trip from his behaviour?
I believe the answer to all those questions is a resounding ‘no’.
Joe Biden’s not a predator, he’s just an overly-tactile man who thought he was being friendly.
But he's discovering now that Time’s Up for that kind of friendliness, and as a result we’ll probably never see Joe Biden hug another human being in public again.
Again, I ask three questions:
Is that a good thing?
Is that a win for women?
Is that where ‘MeToo’ wants to take everyone?
Biden’s probably looking at that Hagar the Horrible cartoon in his office today and wondering why the Gods are throwing this latest curveball at him.
But I suspect it gives him proper perspective too.
And as a result, I hope he resists the temptation to bow to this insane puritanical pressure and announces that he WILL run.
Because right now, he’s the best hope the Democrats have of beating Trump.
And frankly, if a man as inherently decent, civilised, patriotic, compassionate, loyal and empathetic as Joe Biden is deemed unfit to be President of the United States, then nobody is fit for it.
PIERS MORGAN: If Joe ‘Hugger’ Biden, one of America’s most decent men, isn’t virtuous enough to be President – then who the hell is? PIERS MORGAN: If Joe ‘Hugger’ Biden, one of America’s most decent men, isn’t virtuous enough to be President – then who the hell is? Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 09:54 Rating: 5

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