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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended Joe Biden on Thursday against allegations of sexual assault by former Senate staffer Tara Reade, saying she's "satisfied" with how he has responded to the controversy and that she believes his denial.

Why it matters: While Biden's campaign has issued a statement saying that the alleged assault "absolutely did not happen," Biden has not personally addressed the allegations. Pelosi, along with a number of prominent Democrats who have endorsed Biden, has not directly addressed an on-the-record account from a former neighbor of Reade who says she told her about the alleged assault in 1995 or 1996.

The exchange:

PELOSI: "I have great sympathy for any women who bring forth an allegation. I'm a big strong supporter of the #MeToo movement. I think it has been a great -- made a great contribution to our country. And I do support Joe Biden. I'm satisfied with how he has responded. I know him, I was proud to endorse him on Monday, very proud to endorse him. And so I'm satisfied with that."
CNN's CAMEROTA: "I mean, he hasn't, to be clear, he hasn't addressed it, his campaign has addressed it, but he has not directly addressed it. Should he directly publicly address it?"
PELOSI: "You know, it is a matter that he has to deal with. But I am impressed with the people who work for him at the time saying that absolutely never heard one iota of information about this, nobody ever brought forth a claim or had anybody else tell them about such a claim. But, again, we have an important election at hand, one that is, I think, one of the most important ones we had."

Go deeper ... Timeline: Tara Reade's sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden

Go deeper

Updated Sep 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Axios-NewsWhip 2020 attention tracker: We're numb to the coronavirus

Data: Newswhip; Chart: Axios Visuals

We're over COVID even if it isn't over us.

Why it matters: Six months into the pandemic, online engagement around coronavirus stories has dropped off markedly and continues to reach new lows even as the pandemic continues, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Cleanup on aisle Biden

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

After two gaffes and a low blow from President Trump questioning his faith, Joe Biden spent Thursday evening off his own message — clarifying comments and responding to attacks.

Why it matters: Biden’s responses reflect what we could see a lot more of in the next few months — cringeworthy comments and Trump smears, smacking into each other and pulling the Democrat off course.

“You blew it”: GOP activist turns on corporations over vaccine mandates

The chairman of the American Conservative Union said on "Axios on HBO" he accepts "Joe Biden is my president, and I want him to succeed," but predicted Republicans retake the House and Senate in 2022 — with greater than 50% odds Donald Trump runs in 2024.

The big picture: In a joint interview with his wife, Mercedes, Matt Schlapp also refused to share their vaccination status. And he told corporate America "you blew it" by embracing vaccine mandates and liberal social stances that have alienated GOP voters and politicians.