On the off chance that Vice President Joe Biden enters the 2016 presidential race, Politico
reports that allies and supporters of Hillary Clinton say Anita Hill, an attorney and victim of sexual harassment, is the only person that will make a difference as he seeks backing from women and African-Americans.
Almost 24 years ago, while Joe Biden was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Anita Hill accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas
, her supervisor at the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, of sexual harassment.
The veracity of Hill's accusations were in question, and according to Politico, the testimony "spurred intense public conversations about sex, harassment and the nominee's charge of being subjected to a 'high-tech lynching for uppity blacks.'"
Biden, who since the hearing authorized the landmark Violence Against Women Act, is blamed for not doing enough to stop the attacks on Hill when choosing not to call on three other witnesses who would have echoed Hill's charges of sexual harassment.
In an interview with The Huffington Post
, Hill said that "Biden did a disservice to me, disservice more importantly, to the public" and that he could have "helped the public to understand sexual harassment. He failed to do that."
"I was shocked and dismayed that Joe Biden was asking questions that didn't seem appropriate and was not in her corner as a Democrat," said Charle Ogletree, Hill's attorney, according to Politico. "The point is that he's supposed to be neutral, but his questions to Anita Hill were as piercing as anyone's."
If Biden decides to run, issues of sex, race and gender will be hot-button topics and his campaign strategy will hinge on the South Carolina primary, where African-Americans make up enough of the Democratic electorate to decide the winner, Politico reports.
While Biden has expressed regrets about the hearing, Politico notes that the vice president has yet to apologize for what was seen as Biden subjecting an African-American woman to public humiliation and abuse.
Despite weariness to enter the race, if Biden becomes the next Democratic candidate, he will need to capture a significant share of the black vote and seek support among women.
However, recently he has been receiving a fair share of backlash from Anita Hill supporters.
"Certainly the vice president as a senator was very good on certain aspects of things that might be termed women's rights — the Violence Against Women Act, he was pro-choice — but sexual harassment is something that affects women across race, religion, socio-economic status," said Deborah Glick, a member of the New York State Assembly from Manhattan.
"He should have had an expert panel, and he didn't and that created a very hostile environment yet again."
Glick added on Twitter:
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