Former VP Joe Biden. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Former Vice President Joe Biden is defending himself against accusations he acted inappropriately toward women over the years—and local politicians are reacting.
Lucy Flores, the former Democratic nominee for Nevada Lieutenant Governor, said Biden kissed her on the back of the head at a campaign rally in 2014. Biden said it was never his intention to make Flores feel uneasy.
Now, a second woman, Amy Lappos of Connecticut, said Biden crossed the line when he invaded her personal space during a campaign stop in Greenwich in 2009. She said she decided to go public with her story because it's "just not okay."
"He walked up to me and wrapped his hands around my face and pulled me in, and started rubbing noses with me, and it wasn't you know, like, an eskimo kiss and stop, it was for a good 15 seconds, and I remember thinking, 'Is he going to kiss me?'" Lappos told CBS Radio.
WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe spoke to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker Monday, before Lappos' accusations were public.
Biden says he's offered countless hugs and expressions of affection over the years on the campaign trail and in public life. Mayor Walsh said he's seen that first hand with Biden after the Marathon bombings in 2013.
"First and foremost, it's important that we all understand and respect women and respect everyone's rights," Walsh said. "And with Vice President Biden, he's a very emotional person. I witnessed it myself during the marathon, he's an emotional person."
Rep. Moulton Reacts To Claims Joe Biden Acted Inappropriately
Mayor Walsh said he believes Biden when he says he's just an emotional guy.
"I think the Vice President has been clear on his statement that he respects everybody and he respects women," he said. "I don't know exactly what happened in that particular case that is alleged."
At a candidate forum in Iowa over the weekend, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who unlike Biden has actually officially launched her campaign in the 2020 presidential race, commented on the accusations, saying she believed Flores. She added it was up to Biden whether or not to run.
"I read the op-ed last night," Warren said. "I believe Lucy Flores, and Joe Biden needs to give an answer."
Republican Gov. Charlie Baker says that, no matter what side of the aisle you're on, public officials have to be mindful of not invading anyone's personal space.
"For anybody, the whole issue of personal space is an important one," he said. "It's been part of the public discussion for a few years and that discussion in the long run is a good thing."
When asked if he thinks Biden should not run for president in 2020 because of Flores' accusation, Baker said that was up to Biden.
"Decisions about running or not running, and I've said this many times, are very personal," he said. "I would never speak for anybody else."
WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports