He Hugged Me Too

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October 28, 2016.

I’d flown to St. Louis to interview Joe Biden on the campaign trail in the waning days of the Trump-Clinton race.

Several things were memorable.

The then-VP had just made news saying that if he and Trump were in high school, he’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.

And the FBI had just announced new Clinton server evidence found while investigating Anthony Weiner for sexting a fifteen-year-old. Biden made news by sighing “I’m not a fan” when I asked him about Weiner.

Something else that stands out - when we first saw one another, before the cameras rolled, we embraced.

I don’t know which of us initiated it; probably him because I’m the not usually the “huggy type.”

Even so, it seemed natural despite that I’m not particularly close to Joe Biden.

Our paths have crossed several times over the years. And even though he’s from Delaware and I’m from Pennsylvania, I’ve always thought of him as a Philly guy. Of course, that doesn’t mean I haven’t criticized him when I thought appropriate.

I know what some of you are thinking: “Yeah, but you’re a man.”

That’s true, and I don’t seek to minimize the feelings of women who believe he was too close for their comfort.

If they think it, then he was.

I only wish to suggest that this is how he is with men and women.

And with Biden, there’s nothing hidden nor prurient about it. In his half century of public service, he’s touched literally tens of thousands of men and women. In all that time, there’s been not a whiff of personal scandal about him.

Joe Biden’s deficiencies don’t include the lack of moral compass.

Take a look at this picture:

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It’s not staged.

My producer took it on an iPhone when we were in the midst of conversation.

Close talking. Knee to knee. Like a barroom dialogue.

That’s the way he is.

When the interview ended, I returned my producer’s favor.

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That’s her with him. Note the same closeness.

Look, there are reasons not to support Joe Biden for President.

But his tactile nature isn’t one of them.