Dr. Jill Biden on Joe's controversies: "He's learned he needs to give people their space"

Jill Biden on Joe's 2020 race

Dr. Jill Biden says that after several women accused her husband of touching them inappropriately on the campaign trail and at Democratic party events, she said he's since learned that he "needs to give people their space." In her new book, "Where the Light Enters", Biden defended the former vice president as coming from a "family of huggers," but said the women who have come forward were "courageous" in doing so. 

"I have been in a similar situation, it happened years and years ago and at that time I didn't say anything because women never used to say anything. Now they speak up, now they have the courage to come forward and I think that's a good thing, I think that's a good change and Joe has heard that message," said Biden. 

The 2020 Democratic hopeful has since expressed contrition over the accusations against him in a video posted to Twitter last month, saying that he would be more "respectful and mindful" of personal space without directly apologizing. 

"Social norms have become to change, they've shifted. And the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset. And I get it," said Biden in the video. "I hear what they're saying. I understand it. And I'll be much more mindful. That's my responsibility. My responsibility, and I'll meet it." 

While he still considers politics to be about personal connection, he said he "will be more mindful and respectful of people's personal space."

Dr. Biden meanwhile said that the country right now is "really divided" and that the Trump White House is "partly" to blame. 

"I think the White House that has said 'it's us and them' and Joe is a convener, he brings people together and that's who he is and I that that's what this country really desperately needs," she said.

Dr. Biden, a veteran of 14 campaigns alongside her husband and late son Beau collectively, said 2020 will be different.

"So many people have come to us and said 'Joe has got to run' and so we just decided maybe this was his time and I think we need to bring the country together, unite people and I think that's Joe's strength and that's why America needs Joe Biden." 

Biden said the family consulted their brood of children and grandchildren for advice on making a final decision on running in the already packed 2020 field. The former vice president had previously put his political future on hold in the wake of the death of his son Beau. 

"We called all the grandkids, all five of them came, we sat in the library and said 'what do you think, pop's thinking about this', and to a child, they said 'pop has to run, he has to do this' and they were really positive about it," she said. 

While the former vice president would be 77 on election day, Dr. Biden said age is a factor for the American people to decide. 

"He has more energy than anybody I know," said Biden of her husband. "He's going to be out there, he's campaigning and they'll see him, they'll see the energy, the passion and his enthusiasm." 

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital