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#MeToo upheaval compels presidential candidates to express regrets about sexual misconduct cases

Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

Sarah Slamen, who worked for his campaign in Texas, said that comment gave her no confidence that Sanders cares enough about sexual harassment to keep it from recurring. She suggested another Democrat would be a more effective champion of his agenda.

"I don't think that Sen. Sanders has changed much of his mindset," she said.

In a second apology days later at a news conference, Sanders was more forceful in denouncing the discrimination against women who worked on his campaign.

"What they experienced was absolutely unacceptable and certainly not what a progressive campaign or any campaign should be about," he said.

Sanders and some of his top aides later met privately with some of the women to hear their accounts of mistreatment.

"We were trying to identify some concrete strategies and action steps for any future Sanders campaign," said Jenny R. Yang, a sexual harassment expert who joined the meeting.

 

Toni Van Pelt, president of the National Organization for Women, called sexual misconduct on the Sanders campaign "a very big deal." She, too, cast doubt on whether any adjustments he might make to prevent harassment in the campaign ahead reflect a better understanding of the damage it causes.

"I think he'll do it because it's part of the political equation," she said.

In Biden's case, the former vice president has been struggling for nearly three decades to overcome the fallout from his leadership of the all-male Senate Judiciary Committee when Anita Hill accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.

Witnesses were blocked from testifying on Hill's behalf at the confirmation hearing, and senators pelted Hill with aggressive and embarrassing questions.

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