Describing their phone call, he said: “I said privately what I’ve said publicly. I’m sorry she was treated the way she was treated. I wish we could have figured out a better way to get this done. I did everything in my power to do what I thought was within the rules to be able to stop things.”
“I don’t know why it took you so long to call her,” Ana Navarro, another host, said. “I wish it had happened earlier.”
“Since I had publicly apologized for the way she was treated,” Mr. Biden said, “I didn’t want to, quote, invade her space,” by calling her privately.
Asked if he would apologize to the women who have complained that he touched them inappropriately over the years, Mr. Biden responded, “Here’s the deal: I have to be much more aware of the private space of men and women — it’s not just women, but primarily women.”
Pressed further by the hosts, he said, “I’m really sorry if what I did in talking to them, trying to console, that in fact they took it a different way.” He then addressed the women directly, saying, “Sorry I invaded your space,” though he said he did not do anything to make anyone uncomfortable intentionally.
The interview was the first of only a handful of appearances and events that the Biden campaign has announced. He is set to deliver remarks to union members on Monday in Pittsburgh about “an inclusive middle class.” Then, for the third time, he will make his debut in first-in-the-nation Iowa as a presidential candidate.
At one point Friday, Mr. Biden wiped away a tear when he was asked whether he was running because of his son Beau, who died of cancer in 2015 at 46. “He’s not why I’m running, but I hope as I’ve — this sounds stupid,” Mr. Biden said, pausing to collect himself. “When I get up in the morning, I think about — I hope he’s proud of me. I hope he’s proud.”
Mr. Biden, whose first wife and infant daughter died in a car crash in 1972, also spoke about how grief had shaped his life. “It’s given me an incredible sense — I wish I didn’t possess it — of empathy, understanding,” he said.