Barack Obama Doing 'Exact Right Thing' Not Defending Joe Biden, Says Bush's White House Press Secretary

Former President Barack Obama's keeping silent over the allegations of inappropriate touching agsinst his former vice president, Joe Biden, was the right thing to do, a former White House press secretary said.

Biden, weighing a 2020 run for the presidency, a race in which polls indicate he'd be a favorite among voters, has been accused by several women of making them feel uncomfortable by touching them and encroaching on their personal space.

In a video Biden, 76, acknowledged the issue, explained why he was sometimes tactile with people, and promised to be more respectful of people's personal space in future.

Some Democrats and Republicans have spoken out to defend Biden, and while noting that he should be more mindful of others' feelings, they did not say these accusations disqualified him from running for president. But so far, Obama has not been among his defenders.

Dana Perino, who was White House press secretary under President George W. Bush, from 2007 to 2009, told Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Thursday that Obama was doing the right thing by not commenting.

"I think he has only one chance to weigh in either as the kingmaker in his primary, or to step in at the last moment, if there's a real nasty primary at the end, he only has one shot to do that," Perino said.

"Biden has to prove that he can win this on his own. Imagine if Obama had to come out and save him now. Hundreds of more women could come out and say they have similar experiences with Joe Biden. He's been hugging people his whole life, is what he says."

Perino also noted that Biden had not yet formally entered the Democratic race for 2020.

Biden was a longtime senator from Delaware (from 1973 to 2009) before he entered the White House with Obama. Popular among much of the electorate, he has a reputation for making gaffes.

Last Friday, Lucy Flores, a former Nevada state legislator, accused Biden of smelling her hair and kissing her at a campaign event for her 2014 campaign for lieutenant governor in an essay she wrote for New York Magazine's The Cut.

She said the experience, which occurred right before she was to speak on stage, made her feel uncomfortable.

"I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified," Flores wrote.

"I thought to myself, 'I didn't wash my hair today and the vice-president of the United States is smelling it. And also, what in the actual fuck? Why is the vice president of the United States smelling my hair?'

"He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head. My brain couldn't process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused. There is a Spanish saying, 'tragame tierra,' it means, 'earth, swallow me whole.'

"I couldn't move and I couldn't say anything. I wanted nothing more than to get Biden away from me. My name was called and I was never happier to get on stage in front of an audience."

Following the essay's publication, more women came forward with their own stories of Biden making them feel uncomfortable.

Joe Biden Obama touching
Former US Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the First State Democratic Dinner in Dover, Delaware, on March 16, 2019. Biden is accused by multiple women of inappropriate touching. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Barack Obama Doing 'Exact Right Thing' Not Defending Joe Biden, Says Bush's White House Press Secretary | U.S.