The Note: #MeToo realities have Biden looking backward

PHOTO: Former US vice president Joe Biden speaks during the First State Democratic Dinner in Dover, Del., March 16, 2019. PlaySaul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images, FILE
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The month that will almost certainly bring a final decision from former Vice President Joe Biden on a White House run starts in a most uncomfortable way.

Lucy Flores' account of her interactions with Biden at a 2014 campaign rally was sobering in its frankness and its lack of apparent political motivation.

"All I can ask for is that if he does run, that this is just a part of his entire history and his record -- of his positions, his behaviors, his statements, et cetera," Flores told ABC News over the weekend.

Perhaps just as striking has been the reaction from candidates who have responded so far. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro uttered identical statements in Iowa on Saturday: "I believe Lucy Flores."

"I have no reason not to believe her," Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on "This Week" Sunday.

PHOTO: Former US vice president Joe Biden speaks during the First State Democratic Dinner in Dover, Del., March 16, 2019. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images, FILE
Former US vice president Joe Biden speaks during the First State Democratic Dinner in Dover, Del., March 16, 2019.

Biden himself put out a statement that actually wasn't all that dissimilar. On Sunday, he said his recollections don't match Flores' -- but applauded her right to be heard.

"We have arrived at an important time when women feel they can and should relate their experiences, and men should pay attention," Biden said. "And I will."

These are issues that the former vice president, and those around him, always knew they would have to confront. But being forced to deal with them now, and not on his own terms, has him looking backward at a time Democrats want to be looking forward.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

President Donald Trump on Friday said that due to immigration and increased border crossings, the U.S. would cut off federal aid to three economically impoverished countries in Latin America: Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

The CIA describes Honduras as one of the poorest countries in Latin America and notes high rates of murder, infant mortality and AIDS.

"More than half of the population lives in poverty, and per capita income is one of the lowest in the region," according to the U.S. government.

PHOTO: Central American migrants are seen inside an enclosure where they are being held by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), after crossing the border between Mexico and the United States, in El Paso, Texas, March 27, 2019. Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters
Central American migrants are seen inside an enclosure where they are being held by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), after crossing the border between Mexico and the United States, in El Paso, Texas, March 27, 2019.

Remittances sent to El Salvador from family members living abroad account for close to 20% of that country's GDP, "and have helped reduce poverty," according to the CIA's public profile of that country. The U.S. government page explains that immigration increased again in the 2000s, as a result of "deteriorating" economic conditions and natural disasters.

And in Guatemala more than 59% of the population lives below the poverty line.

Critics continue to argue that the move may be entirely counterproductive. For example, Democratic Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., tweeted that cutting aid would be "more likely to deteriorate conditions that push people into the kind of poverty and despair that exacerbates migration."

The TIP with John Verhovek

While 2018 was the year Democrats swept back into power in the House in decisive fashion, it was also the year that a new, insurgent and younger generation within the party gained a powerful foothold and scored decisive primary wins over entrenched incumbents. But now that same generation is sounding the alarm on a new policy from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that the party will not award contracts to political firms that support primary challengers to sitting incumbents, setting up an intra-party fight that's likely to rage throughout the 2020 election cycle.

"The @DCCC's new rule to blacklist+boycott anyone who does business w/ primary challengers is extremely divisive & harmful to the party," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., wrote on Twitter over the weekend. She unseated an incumbent last year who many thought was next in line for House Speaker.

PHOTO: House Oversight and Reform Committee member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., listens to Republican arguments against compelling Trump administration officials to turn over documents on family separations, on Capitol Hill, Feb. 26, 2019. J. Scott Applewhite/AP
House Oversight and Reform Committee member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., listens to Republican arguments against compelling Trump administration officials to turn over documents on family separations, on Capitol Hill, Feb. 26, 2019.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., who unseated an incumbent who had been in Congress for two decades, wrote on Twitter Saturday, "If the DCCC enacts this policy to blacklist vendors who work with challengers, we risk undermining an entire universe of potential candidates and vendors -- especially women and people of color -- whose ideas, energy, and innovation need a place in our party."

Look for groups like the Justice Democrats -- the same one that helped boost the likes of Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley to victory in 2018 -- to not take the new policy lying down. And with such high-profile defenders in Congress now, they'll likely have the money and manpower to put up a substantial fight against the DCCC.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Monday's episode features ABC News Chief National Affairs Correspondent Tom Llamas, who tells us why President Donald Trump is again threatening to close the southern border with Mexico. Then, ABC News' Molly Nagle details the accusations of inappropriate touching made against former Vice President Joe Biden. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at 11:45 a.m. and then eat lunch with Vice President Mike Pence. Trump also will join a summit on prison reforms beginning at 5:30 p.m.
  • Six Democratic presidential hopefuls will participate in the "We the People" membership summit, which runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Washington. Participants include: Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro of Texas.
  • Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., will address state union leaders, workers and activists in Sacramento, California, at 6:30 p.m. local time.

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