Presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden on Friday addressed several controversies plaguing the start of his campaign, including accusations of uncomfortable contact with women and his treatment of Anita Hill during Justice Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearing.
The former vice president said he has to be “cognizant” of how his interactions come off to people.
“I have to be, and everybody has to be, much more aware of the private space of men and women. I am much more cognizant of that,” Mr. Biden said on ABC’s “The View,” in his first TV interview following his campaign announcement.
He described the kind of real-time processing he has tried to engage in recently — including whether he should have hugged the show’s hosts on Friday.
“I actually thought in my head when I walked out here,” Mr. Biden said. “I mean, do I? We’re friends. But I have to be aware of it. I have to be more cognizant. … I should be able to read it better.”
When pressed about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wanting him to say “I’m sorry I invade your space,” he immediately repeated the phrase and said, “I’m sorry I invaded your space. I’m not sorry in a way that I did anything that was intentionally wrong.”
He added he doesn’t think his behavior is “old-fashioned.”
“Everybody should be doing that, but I have to be more careful,” Mr. Biden said.
He also commented on Ms. Hill’s Senate hearing, saying, “I don’t think I treated her badly.” Mr. Biden was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time.
“I did everything in my power to do what I thought was within the rules. … I’m sorry she was treated the way she was treated. There were a lot of mistakes that were made across the board and for those I apologize,” Mr. Biden said.
He didn’t personally apologize for Ms. Hill’s treatment.
The former vice president also discussed taking his time getting into the race, Charlottesville and not “recreating” former President Barack Obama’s White House, instead “moving to the future.”