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April 05, 2019

Joe Biden visits Scranton, makes jokes about having permission to hug people

The former vice president visited his childhood home, but his status in the 2020 election remains uncertain

Former vice president and potential 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden returned to his Pennsylvania hometown of Scranton this week amid controversy surrounding his past interactions with women, and uncertainty swirling about his political future.

Biden, 76, began his appearance in front of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers by joking about the accusations that his oft-noted hugging and other physical touching of women was often unwelcome.

When Biden walked on to the stage, he hugged International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers President Lonnie R. Stephenson. 

After the applause died down, he delivered this line:

“I just want you to know, I had permission to hug Lonnie. (crowd cheers). I don’t know, man.”

You can watch the beginning of his remarks here:

According to the New York Times, he later joked again about receiving permission to touch someone, this time after he wrapped his arm around a young boy on stage.

Biden went on to tell reporters Friday that he was sorry he “didn’t understand more” about his unwanted physical contacts with women in the past, but that he is “not sorry for anything that I have ever done”.

Biden was spotted Thursday visiting his childhood home in Scranton, reportedly filming something that many speculated could be an announcement video ahead of a run for the Democratic nomination for president in the 2020 election:

Last month, it was reported that Biden was eyeing Philadelphia as a potential landing spot for a campaign headquarters. Biden was also reportedly considering Delaware, where he served as a senator for 36 years.

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