On Friday, former Nevada state legislator Lucy Flores accused former Vice President Joe Biden of inappropriate contact at a 2014 campaign event, alleging that Biden came up behind her, smelled her hair, and planted "a big slow kiss” on the back of her head as she was waiting to give a speech.
Biden says he's definitely an affectionate person at political events, a fact that's more than confirmed by photos—including this widely shared image. (Although the woman in that photo, Stephanie Carter, says she saw Biden's actions as a welcome expression of support from a man she describes as "a close friend helping someone get through a big day.")
As for Flores, Biden says that while he supports women coming forward with stories such as hers, “not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately.” Also, Biden's advisers are saying that none of this will stop him from entering the presidential race later this month or early next.
If Biden gets in, he'll be doing it without Stacey Abrams as his running mate. Rumors had suggested Biden might announce Abrams as his VP choice early to generate excitement for a candidacy that's having problems before it even gets off the ground. But Abrams made clear last week she's not interested.
If any other stories like the one shared by Flores emerge, Biden will also be running a campaign haunted by The Franken Standard.
Franken was forced to resign from the Senate in 2017 after multiple women came forward with accusations of inappropriate touching. He apologized and said his actions were taken in ways he didn't intend, but Franken's response didn't work for Democrats, particularly in light of this photo.
At this point, Biden is offering a response broadly similar to the one Franken offered: he doesn't remember the incident the same way his accuser does.
Biden's accuser has made clear that she will "of course" support Biden over Trump in a general election fight, if it comes to that. Which illuminates what you could call The Trump Standard: no matter what the revelation or allegation, Trump's party and base will stand behind him.
But in the Democratic presidential primaries, it's The Franken Standard that Biden will most likely be held to. That means a lot depends on whether anyone else has a story similar to the one just shared by Flores.