Vice President Biden just capped off one heck of a week with this doozy at a Democratic women's conference on Friday. While talking about how the Republican Party has changed, Biden brought up a couple of former colleagues who often worked across the aisle.
If you missed it, you can be forgiven. "Packwood" is former senator Bob Packwood. And for those who didn't follow politics in the 1990s, he's not really the kind of person you should be speaking well of at a women's conference.
The Oregon Republican resigned from the Senate in 1995 amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assaulting women. The Senate ethics committee had voted unanimously to recommend his expulsion.
The Washington Post first flagged allegations of Packwood's wrongdoing in 1992:
The other is a side of Packwood, 60, that few who have experienced it or heard about it want to talk about. Since Packwood's earliest days on Capitol Hill, he has made uninvited sexual advances to women who have worked for him or with him, according to former staff members and lobbyists, including 10 women who, independently of each other, have given specific accounts of Packwood's behavior toward them.
The women, including six whose names and detailed allegations were given to Packwood by The Washington Post, said his approaches were unwelcome and unreciprocated. In some cases, they said, the behavior took place when he had been drinking. Several said he was abrupt, grabbing them without warning, kissing them forcefully and persisting until they made clear that they were not interested or had pushed him away. No one said Packwood punished her for rejecting him, but several decided to leave their jobs within months. Several pointed out that Packwood was married when he approached them; he and his wife divorced last year after 27 years of marriage.
Yes, Packwood was seen as a bipartisan operator who lots of fellow senators probably liked on a personal and professional level. That's fine to think that in private.
But for a Democratic Party who has made such a big deal of the GOP's supposed "war on women," praising someone with Packwood's history is a bad idea.
This post has been updated.