Woman tells Biden at rally: 'You can hug and kiss me anytime, Joe'

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By Mike Memoli  with NBC News Politics
Image: Joe Biden Holds Campaign Event In South Carolina
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden addresses a crowd on May 4, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina.   -   Copyright  Sean Rayford Getty Images

HENDERSON, Nevada — Joe Biden was just beginning his first public campaign rally in Nevada on Tuesday when one voter made a provocative invitation.

"You can hug and kiss me anytime, Joe," a woman, who identified herself to NBC News as Libby Peterson, shouted to the former vice president from just feet away in the audience.

Biden laughed nervously as the crowd roared in approval, before making the sign of the cross to suggest a prayer of forgiveness.

"That's very nice, thank you," Biden eventually responded.

The moment happened just miles from where in 2014, Nevada lieutenant governor candidate Lucy Flores introduced Biden at a campaign rally for the Democratic ticket. Before Biden announced his candidacy last month, Flores came forward to describe what she considered inappropriate physical contact as both prepared to take the stage, which left her "embarrassed," "shocked" and "confused."

Biden later released a video acknowledging what he said were changing social norms and promising to be more mindful of how he interacts with voters.

Biden's wife, Jill, discussed that episode Tuesday in an interview with NBC's Savannah Guthrie.

"There used to be a time when it was acceptable for people to, I don't know, connect with one another with a touch on the arm. But now things have changed, you know?" Jill Biden said. "Joe heard what she said. I thought it was very courageous that she came out, spoke out, and like I said before, that has happened to me."