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BREAKING NEWS

Biden doesn't recall alleged close encounter with former Nevada assemblywoman

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Image: Joe Biden Campaigns For Nevada Democrats
Lucy Flores and former Vice President Joe Biden in 2014 in Nevada. She accused him Friday of placing his hands on her shoulders and kissing the back of her head five years ago when she ran for lieutenant governor. -
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Ethan Miller Getty Images file
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Former Vice President Joe Biden said Friday that he had no recollection of an alleged close encounter in 2014 with a state legislator running at the time for lieutenant governor of Nevada.

Lucy Flores wrote of the meeting for New York Magazine's the Cut blog Friday, saying Biden had placed his hands on her shoulders and then kissed the back of her head as the two awaited their turn together on stage during a rally for Democrats vying for office.

Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor and current Nevada Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, D-Las Vegas, from left, introduces Vice President Joe Biden at a get-out-the-vote rally at a union hall in Las Vegas, Nevada on Nov. 1, 2014.
Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor and current Nevada Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, D-Las Vegas, from left, introduces Vice President Joe Biden at a get-out-the-vote rally at a union hall in Las Vegas, Nevada on Nov. 1, 2014.Ethan Miller

"Why is the vice-president of the United States touching me?" she wrote of the situation.

"He leaned further in and inhaled my hair," Flores wrote. "I was mortified. ... 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."

Flores, who did not ascend to the lieutenant governor's post, said she brushed it off because she saw no clear path to justice.

"I felt powerless to do anything about it," wrote Flores, who has since co-founded a Latina advocacy group, Luz Collective.

"Even if his behavior wasn't violent or sexual, it was demeaning and disrespectful," she wrote.

Biden is expected to announce in coming weeks whether he will run for president in 2020.

A spokesperson for the former vice president said in a statement Friday that such allegations should be taken seriously but that Biden does not remember the incident.

Politics

"Neither then, nor in the years since, did he or the staff with him at the time have an inkling that Ms. Flores had been at any time uncomfortable, nor do they recall what she describes," the spokesperson said.

"But Vice President Biden believes that Ms. Flores has every right to share her own recollection and reflections, and that it is a change for better in our society that she has the opportunity to do so," the statement said. "He respects Ms. Flores as a strong and independent voice in our politics and wishes her only the best."