Joe Biden 'failed' with response to accusations: Democratic strategist

The "This Week" Powerhouse Roundtable debates the week in politics, including the allegations facing former Vice President Joe Biden as he mulls a 2020 run.
9:04 | 04/07/19

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Transcript for Joe Biden 'failed' with response to accusations: Democratic strategist
��� we take care of home ��� I just want you to know I had permission to hug Lonny. We had permission. By the way, he gave me permission to touch him. It wasn't my intent to make light of anyone's discomfort. I realize my responsibility is to not invade the space of anyone who is uncomfortable. But there are some women that want to hear directly, I am sorry. I'm sorry I didn't understand more. I'm not sorry for any of my I'm not sorry for anything that I have ever done. Vice president Biden on Friday. Been dealing with this issue all week long. Women coming forward to say he touched them in ways that were not sexual but also was not welcome. We're going to talk about this with Matthew dowd. Cokie Roberts. Lanhee Chen. Former policy director for the Romney 2012 campaign. And Yvette Simpson, CEO of democracy for America. Cokie, let me begin with you. Clearly, the vice president struggled to deal with this all week long. It seems like the whole political culture is trying to figure out what to make of this. How to handle this. If he runs for president, it will break his heart. He's not going to be able to be Joe Biden. That is the thing that is most appealing about him. How genuine he is. What a regular guy he is. But, every time he tries to be himself, he's getting himself in more trouble. And it really is a generational problem. Because a lot of young women think this is just creepy and don't like it a bit. And then when he tries to laugh about it, which is, of course, the way those of us of a certain age have gotten through life, you know. We have all had big tragedies in our lives. We get through it by humor. That is true of Joe Biden. But if he's not allowed to do that, it will make his life absolutely miserable. And perhaps make him a less authentic candidate. Matt, addressing that question. Clearly, the women who came forward feel very strongly. Right. About all this. It's hard for us to figure out how to put it all in perspective. What kind of proportion to put it in. I think that is a huge part of the problem in the course of this. Because I think what happens is, is there's no nuance in any of this. Unwelcomed invasions of space, and then sexual harassment. Or assault. Which, I find it exceedingly ironic that the president wants to weigh in on this. We have this inability to measure this across the spectrum. And what punishment should apply politically. All the same thing, shouldn't be applied the same punishment. The other part of this is it's incumbent in this time to allow the vice president, who knows what he's done in the past, he's not in the frame that meets the moment right now, he says he understands what he did. He says he will change. But we don't allow anyone to pause or think about it. And I think the test for Joe Biden, and go back to the moment. I think the test for him, if he gets in this race and this is one of those tests, is the measurement he'll be judged on is the metric of, can he meet this moment? This is a politician that was born before -- I mean, that started serving before technology. Before the fax machine. Before cable news. And can he meet this moment? Is this generational? You know, no. I want to take it a slightly different direction. Life is 10% of what you do and 90% how you respond. He failed the response part. He couldn't control the first part, right? Because he didn't expect it. But the idea women would come forward and say, you made me feel uncomfortable. I think most would have liked to have seen was for him to say, I'm sorry I made you uncomfortable. Even if it wasn't his intention. In today's day and age, it's about owning up to the fact that you offended someone. He could have been a model here to say, you know what? I did grow up in a different generation. It's not okay. We're in a new model now. I'll show you the way. I was looking for that from him. Because you know him to be sincere. The fact that he made light of it only made it worse. Yeah, the question, I think, to cokie's point is, you have a 20th century candidate running in what will be a 21st century cycle. Can he make the transition? But more importantly, if you look at the response. The way his team handled the response, I question the campaign they're going to run. Because he comes out. He says, I'm sorry. I'll do a video. Then I'll make a joke. The joke wasn't well received. I'll come out again. Apologize again. The whole thing seems rather ham-handed to me. How is Joe Biden going to perform as a candidate? How is his team going to perform? And this all reminds you of his age. It all adds up to the fact that he's 76 years old. That is a huge problem for him. Because -- the polling is slight. But the polling that's been done, basically says that voters are more concerned about a candidate being old than a candidate being very young. And there are some very young democratic candidates. The other thing this revealed, Matthew dowd, Democrats and Republicans dealing with these sorts of I use it as a very wide umbrella here. In very, very different ways. The president's tweet inserting himself in the issue. We have seen that Republicans have closed ranks after allegations have come forward. Democrats have looked to push people out. Except in Virginia. This is -- I think this is -- I think one of the incredible contrasts, I think. This behavior crosses all political bounds and all that. We should condemn any of this. I think we should also look at things and what level of punishment and what that condemnation is based upon. The spectrum of this. One of the things this has revealed is that the Democrats are willing to hold their tribe accountable for behavior. Instead of saying, we'll point a finger, point a finger, point a finger at the other side. They're willing to hold -- they've done it on any number of issues. Strength or weakness, though? At the end of the day, strength. Trump has offended nearly every demographic. Has been horrible on women. And has the nerve to challenge Joe Biden. The Democrats are not asking for perfection at all. We're saying, when you make a mistake, own up to it, and pledge to change. It's a different democratic party than when Joe Biden ran for vice president with Barack Obama in 2008. Certainly a different democratic party than when Joe Biden served in the United States senate. That reality is going to catch up to him. Are Republicans closing off a whole generation of women here? I do worry. Not just women, by the way. I think there's a lot of other demographics that Republicans are struggling with. Absolutely. The challenge for Republicans going forward is how do they prosecute the case, potentially against Joe Biden, given some of the challenges they're seeing. That they have to deal with. There are more guys named Greg and Mike in the Republican caucus than there are women. That's a problem. It's a fact. It's a fact. I think in this time, we have all talked about the polarization and the tribalization. The community that exists within a tribe, and we're a tribal country. We have been one for 240 years. You have to be able to confront the people in your own tribe. Change only happens from within the community. Republicans, it's not just on women and not just on minorities. It's on any number of issues. They close ranks. They're unwilling to confront the people in their own tribe. That means, to me, the Republican party is not going to fundaction MX entally change until leaders in their own party confront people in their own party. Meantime, this week, we saw president trump saying he wants to nominate Herman Cain, whose campaign collapsed after sexual harassment allegations with the fed. The 999 Herman Cain? It's challenging. It's added to the file of Donald Trump appointing people that don't have the right skills for the position. He's thinking about the future. Rather than the integrity of an important department in our country. I was shocked but not surprised unfortunately about that appointment. I think at this time, it's more important to make sure that appointments are validated. Herman Cain? I just want to leave it there. Herman Cain? For federal reserve. Makes no sense for me. I worked for a candidate that ran in a primary against Herman Cain. The question is not in my mind Herman Cain's qualifications. He actually has been at a federal reserve bank. He understands the issues. The question is around the Independence of the federal reserve. Do we want the president to say, hey, fed, you gotta juice the economy a little bit. That's the challenge. And presidents have been frustrated with the fed forever. It's hardly new for a president to be frustrated. They don't generally respond in this fashion. Well, the combination of the potential nomination of Stephen Moore and Herman Cain. Lanhee would have freshman students in an economics class more qualified to be in those positions.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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