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Accuser says Joe Biden should quit White House race

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(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 18, 2019, former US Vice President Joe Biden greets supporters during the kick off of his presidential election campaign in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Biden on Mat 1, 2020, emphatically denied sexually assaulting a former staffer, saying the incident she claims occurred in 1993 “never happened.” “They aren’t true. This never happened,” Biden said of the accusations made by Tara Reade, a former staffer in his US Senate office. Dominick Reuter / AFP

The woman who accused Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993 called on him to drop out of the US presidential race, saying Thursday she’d take a polygraph about the alleged encounter if he would.

Tara Reade said in March that Biden, the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, sexually assaulted her in a Capitol Hill corridor 27 years ago when she was a 29-year-old aide in the then-senator’s office.

The accusation is the biggest imbroglio of Biden’s presidential campaign. The candidate has denied wrongdoing.

“Joe Biden, please step forward and be held accountable. You should not be running on character for the president of the United States,” Reade told journalist Megyn Kelly in a clip released Thursday.

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“You want him to withdraw?” Kelly asks.

“I wish he would, but he won’t,” she said, adding that “I think it’s a little late” for an apology.

It was Reade’s first on-camera interview since Biden, 77, released a statement Friday saying the incident “never happened.”

Reade, now 56, alleged in March that Biden pinned her against a wall, put his hands “down my skirt” and violated her.

Reade’s public account evolved over time. In early 2019 she was among multiple women who accused Biden not of assault, but of touching them inappropriately, or in ways that made them feel uncomfortable.

She has since presented a more serious claim of assault, and filed an incident report with Washington police in early April in which she did not name Biden.

Reade “absolutely” would testify under oath about what happened, she said. Asked if she would take a polygraph test, she said Biden should be asked to do so.

“What kind of precedent does that set for survivors of violence? Does that mean we’re presumed guilty, and we all have to present polygraphs?” she asked.

“I will take one if Joe Biden takes one,” Reade added. “But I am not a criminal.”

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On Friday Biden went on MSNBC to refute her allegations, while stressing that accusers should be heard.

“I don’t know why after 27 years all of this gets raised,” Biden added. “But I’m not going to question her motive. I’m not going to attack her.”

Reade in the past has publicly expressed support for Bernie Sanders, the progressive candidate who quit the Democratic nomination race in April and quickly endorsed Biden.

American voters are divided on the alleged assault.

According to a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday, 37 percent said the accusation is probably true, 32 percent said it’s probably not true, and 31 percent were undecided.

The same poll shows support for Biden for president inching up from 48 percent in March to 50 percent today.

Support for President Donald Trump, Biden’s rival in November’s election, slid from 45 percent in March to 41 percent now, likely due to his response to the coronavirus crisis.

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