Just as Joe Biden was beginning his first public campaign in Nevada on Tuesday, a woman in the audience shouted out 'You can hug and kiss me anytime, Joe'.

The woman, who identified herself afterwards to NBC News as Libby Peterson, shouted the provocative words at the former vice president from just feet away from his podium in the audience.

Biden reportedly appeared momentarily rattled, before laughing it off, eventually crossing himself, and saying:

That's very nice. Thank you.

Biden has faced criticism from both Republicans and Democrats after several women alleged that he inappropriately touched them while he was vice president.

The moment occurred just miles from where in 2014, Lucy Flores, who was running for Nevada lieutenant governor at the time, introduced Biden at a campaign rally for the Democratic ticket, reports NBC News.

Before Biden announced his candidacy for president last month, Flores became the first woman to accuse Biden of inappropriate touching which left her feeling 'embarrassed', 'shocked' and 'confused'.

In response to the allegations, Biden released a video in which he acknowledged changing social norms, and said he'd be more mindful of people's personal space, albeit without apologising reports The Hill.

In the video, he said:

Social norms have begun to change, they’ve shifted, and the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset, and I get it.

I hear what they’re saying. I understand it. I’ll be much more mindful. That’s my responsibility, and I’ll meet it.

Biden's wife Jill Biden responded to the controversy on Tuesday morning. Speaking on NBC's Today show, she said:

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?

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.

Flores isn't the only woman to accuse Biden of innapropraite touching. He was caught on camera embracing a female reporter from behind and gripping her above the waist, below the bust. He's also whispered into many women's ears, and touched their faces and necks during photo opportunities, reports Vox.

Of course, he isn't the only man of high office in the United States to have been accused of inappropriate behaviour towards women. President Donald Trump was caught bragging on tape about using fame to get women, saying:

When you’re a star they let you do it.

You can do anything. 

HT NBC News

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