Gayle King, the soon to be incumbent host and power broker at CBS This Morning has a soft spot for Joe Biden. Talking to Jill Biden, King on Tuesday wondered just how all those women accusing the 2020 candidate have “misinterpreted” her husband's unwanted touching. Though there were a few questions that could be described as non-softballs, the majority focused on strategy and how the Democrat will navigate the race.
King sympathetically asked, “Were you surprised he was even accused of [the touching]? Because people who know Joe say, ‘Listen, he's a very handsy guy. He’s a very affectionate guy.’” She then added this friendly interpretation: “Were you surprised that his actions could have been misinterpreted?”
On April 3, 2019, King made her affinity for Biden — and dismissal of the women accusing him — well known. She offered a bizarre defense, saying the claims “make my teeth hurt.”
But the whole conversation, I have to say... makes me uncomfortable and actually makes my teeth hurt. Have we gotten to the point that we can’t have any physical contact with someone that we are trying to be friendly with, that we are trying to be sympathetic with?
The Media Research Center’s Geoffrey Dickens on April 25 looked at the launch coverage of Biden 2020 and found that, over three days, less than two minutes focused on Biden’s touching.
Co-host John Dickerson on Tuesday offered another try at the question, wondering only what her husband has “learned”:
You write in the book that your husband comes from a family of huggers. So that's gotten him into trouble here early in the campaign. What's he learned from that experience?
An optimistic King even speculated on the Democrat’s vice presidential choice: “But have you given him suggestions on who he should choose as running mate?”
A transcript of the questions can be found below. Click “expand” to read more.
CBS This Morning
8:14 AM ET
JILL BIDEN [Clip]: My husband announced he was running for president of the United States. And what did I do to celebrate? The same thing that all of you probably did. I went to work.
JOHN DICKERSON: Jill Biden went right back to her job as a professor after her husband, former Vice President Joe Biden, announced his presidential bid. The 2020 race is her 14th time campaigning for her husband, Joe, or late son Beau. She writes about some of the races and becoming a Biden in her new book Where the Light Enters, Building a Family, Discovering Myself." Jill Biden, good morning.
BIDEN: Thank you. Thank you for having me here.
DICKERSON: 14 campaigns. Oh, my gosh.
BIDEN: A lot. Now I'm a veteran at it.
DICKERSON: Yeah. So will 2020 be exactly like the previous ones or why will it be different?
DICKERSON: You know, people say you gotta run, you gotta run. One of the things you have to do as a politician and check yourself and say “Wait a minute, running is hard and it’s brutal.”
BIDEN: Oh, it is.
DICKERSON: And President Trump has shown he likes to get involved in a fist fight. Are you on for that? Are you ready for a full campaign of that?
NORAH O’DONNELL: I spoke to you in 2016 for 60 Minutes when you decided then not to run and Beau had just passed. And the Vice President said he didn’t think he could win. That's why he didn't run. What's changed?
GAYLE KING: Your husband will be 77 on election day. Some people are using the a-word for age. Should age be a factor in this particular race when it comes to him?
DICKERSON: You write in the book that your husband comes from a family of huggers. So that's gotten him into trouble here early in the campaign. What's he learned from that experience?
KING: Were you surprised he was even accused of that? Because people who know Joe say “Listen, he's a very handsy guy. He’s a very affectionate guy.” Were you surprised that his actions could have been misinterpreted?
BIDEN: Well, not in these times. Not in these times. I think maybe ten years ago, people were just more accepting of, you know, connections or putting your hand on someone's arm, but now no. It's different.
O’DONNELL: Well, it's a beautiful book.
BIDEN: Thank you.
O’DONNELL: I can't believe you were a rebellious teenager.
O’DONNELL: Who teaches English as a second language. There's lots of details about you as a teenager I couldn't believe.
KING: But, before you go, there’s more to come I know. But have you given him suggestions on who he should choose as running mate?
BIDEN: We have just gotten into this, Gayle! Let's see what you come up with.
KING: Oh, I don't have anything.
DICKERSON: Yes, apparently, the test is yours today.