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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

"My one regret is that I wasn't able to tone down the attacks on her by some of my Republican friends," Biden told Teen Vogue in late 2017. "I mean, they really went after her."

Biden, who co-sponsored the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, said he wished he'd been able to do more for Hill. "I owe her an apology," he said.

If Biden joins the race for president, as expected, he will inevitably be called to account again for Hill's treatment in the 1991 hearing.

"It's hard for me to forgive him," Van Pelt said. "He's done a lot of good with the Violence Against Women Act, there's no question of that. But I just think maybe it's time for new thinking."

As for Bullock, his admission that he fell short in preventing sexual harassment has made for an awkward introduction to a national audience as he prepares his likely announcement that he's running for president.

When he was chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, Bullock dismissed his longtime Montana aide Kevin O'Brien for sexual harassment. He said he "felt sick and heartbroken" when he recently learned O'Brien had gone on to sexually harass two women at his next job. De Blasio has attacked the governors association for failing to alert him to O'Brien's history.

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Nan Whaley, a longtime Democratic Party activist who is mayor of Dayton, Ohio, said the #MeToo movement has changed the rules in politics, elevating the importance of troubles like Bullock's.

"I think what has been acceptable in the past is not going to be acceptable in this cycle," she said. "And you're seeing that bear out."

(c)2019 Los Angeles Times

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