And that won’t go unnoticed. Joe Biden’s handsy approach to people — especially women and girls — made a brief comeback at a campaign rally, Ryan Saavedra noted yesterday. In another era, and without the context of Biden’s chronically strange behavior, this would look fairly innocent. As it is, though …

A few years ago, only Biden’s opponents would have thought to point this out. In 2019, though, the red flags are going up elsewhere, too. Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez tweeted out a different video of the same moment, one that has a better angle. This starts in minute forty-three (via Twitchy):

Politico also included this in its report on Biden’s speech on education policy. They don’t mention any of the context, which makes its inclusion in the report almost as odd as Biden’s behavior:

While taking questions from the crowd, Biden said he’s for free community college and against for-profit charter schools, saying “it siphons off money for our public schools, which are already in enough trouble.”

When a 10-year-old girl asked him about divisions in this country, he said addressing that is part of the reason he’s running for president and then told her: “I’ll bet you’re as bright as you are good-looking.” She told him her favorite subject is journalism so he led her to the back to meet the press corps.

“The reason we are who we are is called a free press,” he said, standing behind the girl while putting his hands on her shoulders. “Continuing to denigrate it is dangerous.”

It’s a strange interlude in Politico’s story, the only question from the audience given this much detail in the report. It’s just dropped into the story in between policy issues. Did reporter Nicole Gaudiano want to call attention to Biden’s defense of a free press, or point out a recurrence of Biden’s handsiness despite his promises to “get it” and alter his behavior?

Sonmez herself appears focused on the latter, tweeting out this excerpt as confirmation of “the odd Biden exchange,” even though Gaudiano never mentions its oddness. Sonmez tried to get a response from Team Biden, but they weren’t biting:

If it wasn’t for Biden’s long history of putting his hands on women in public situations, and/or for #MeToo moment, this would be relatively unremarkable. Biden’s team might still argue that it’s unremarkable, no more than a cute moment with a student into which too much is being read, and in isolation that argument would make sense. At this point, however, and with hours of video showing Biden’s creepy behavior around women and girls presenting the campaign with acknowledged difficulties, that argument won’t fly. By now, one would expect that Biden would have implemented the Georgia Satellites rule for his comportment: Don’t hand me no lines, and keep your hands to yourself.

This episode might be among the lesser of Biden’s offenses, but it shows that old dogs can be slow to learn new tricks, even when they pledge to learn them immediately. Maybe the campaign should keep a rolled-up newspaper on hand. At least in this instance, the free press that Biden extolled provided a figurative whack on the nose. Biden might need to get used to that potential consequence … in the primaries, anyway.