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Then-Vice President Joe Biden and Stephanie Carter in the viral image. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden, facing scrutiny for his public displays of affection with women after an allegation of inappropriate conduct, was defended Sunday by a woman whose image with him went viral.

In a Medium post titled "'The #MeToo Story That Wasn’t Me," Stephanie Carter said the image of Biden's embrace of her from behind as she watched her husband, Ash Carter, being sworn in as then-President Barack Obama's defense secretary in 2015 was "misleadingly extracted from what was a longer moment between close friends."

Details: Referring to the image that went viral again this week in her post as "that picture," Carter wrote, " The Joe Biden in my picture is a close friend helping someone get through a big day, for which I will always be grateful." She explained she had slipped on snow that day and was feeling nervous at the swearing-in ceremony:

By the time then-Vice President Biden had arrived, he could sense I was uncharacteristically nervous- and quickly gave me a hug. After the swearing in, as Ash was giving remarks, he leaned in to tell me “thank you for letting him do this” and kept his hands on my shoulders as a means of offering his support. But a still shot taken from a video — misleadingly extracted from what was a longer moment between close friends — sent out in a snarky tweet — came to be the lasting image of that day.

The backdrop: Nevada Democrat Lucy Flores alleged that Biden leaned in to smell her hair at a campaign event and kissed her on the head at a campaign event in 2014. Biden said in response he did not believe he had acted inappropriately.

The latest: Flores said in an interview on MSNBC with host Kasie Hunt was not alleging Biden sexually assaulted her. "It is an invasion of my personal space," Flores said. "It is a clear a clear invasion of my bodily autonomy to not be touched, unless I give you permission to touch it."

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper: Joe Biden addresses inappropriate touching allegations

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' billionaires tax explained

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There is now legislative language behind the push to tax American billionaires on unrealized capital gains, as Sen. Ron Wyden last night released his 107-page plan.

Why it matters: This would be a sea change in U.S. tax policy, which has only applied to realized gains (otherwise known as income).

4 hours ago - World

Scoop: Blinken protests Israel settlements approval in "tense" phone call

Benny Gantz (L) and Tony Blinken. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AFP via Getty

Secretary of State Tony Blinken protested the decision to approve 3,000 new housing units in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank during a tense phone call on Tuesday with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, three Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is the first time new construction in the settlements has been approved since President Biden assumed office, and the Biden administration had been privately pressing the Israeli government not to proceed.

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.