Biden opens speech with joke about hugging

WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden has opened his first public speech since facing criticism from several women for unwanted touching with a joke about the controversy.

Biden spoke Friday to an electrical workers union conference in Washington, D.C., and said he got “permission to hug” union president Lonnie Stephenson, who introduced him. The comment by the Democratic former vice president was met with cheers from the overwhelmingly male crowd.