Though Biden regrets his Anita Hill role, he hasn't contacted her to say so

Story highlights

  • "I wish I could've protected her from the attacks that came at her, but I didn't know any way to do that," Biden said
  • Hill said last year that Biden hadn't taken "ownership of his role in what happened"

Washington (CNN)Former Vice President Joe Biden, while continuing to express regret about Anita Hill's 1991 experience testifying that Supreme Court then-nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her, has not contacted Hill to apologize.

Biden has said recently that he regrets the way the infamous Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing went, which he chaired as a Democratic senator from Delaware, and the way people treated Hill. He went as far as saying in an interview published last month that he owes Hill an apology.
However, in an interview Thursday on PBS "NewsHour," Biden said he had not contacted her.
    "No, I haven't contacted Anita Hill. I hadn't planned on it. I'm always happy to see her," Biden said.
    Hill had come forward to make public an accusation of sexual harassment against Thomas, which the nominee denied and many of his' supporters attacked her for. Thomas' nomination subsequently was confirmed.
    Biden said Thursday that he did not know how to protect Hill from the witnesses and senators who had attacked her, although he noted he had gotten into "shouting matches" with some witnesses.
    He also said he felt bad about "the inability" to silence Republicans on the committee who he said were harassing Hill during the hearing.
    "What people wanted me to do was to gavel down other senators who were harassing her," Biden said. "I wish I had the power or a way to communicate."
    But Hill has pointed out the specific wording of Biden's regret, saying his earlier apology was not really addressing the thrust of what his critics were after.
    When asked about Biden's comments last year, Hill told The Washington Post, "He said, 'I am sorry if she felt she didn't get a fair hearing.' That's sort of an 'I'm sorry if you were offended.' "
    Biden has faced criticism over the years for how he handled the issue, including from Hill.
    She told the Post last year: "I still don't think it takes ownership of his role in what happened. And he also doesn't understand that it wasn't just that I felt it was not fair."