Joe Biden’s nascent presidential campaign and allied advisers are growing more convinced that stories of the former vice president inappropriately touching women are being pushed by opposing Democratic campaigns—and it’s caused them to pivot into campaign mode earlier than planned.

That assessment has created a sense of resentment and resolve inside the Biden camp, where there appears to be little appetite to reconsider going forward on a presidential bid. And it portends a potentially sharp-elbowed rollout for Biden should he firmly decide to enter the race.

One top Democratic source said that the suspicion within the Biden universe was that stories of women being made physically uncomfortable by the former VP were “all coming out of Bernie world.”

The insinuation was that Lucy Flores, a former Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor of Nevada in 2014, came forward at the behest of Senator Sanders to allege that Biden had given her an unwanted kiss. Flores supported Sanders during the 2016 election and was on the board of his group Our Revolution. She also appeared at a rally for former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) and has consistently maintained that she wrote her first-person essay detailing her encounter with Biden because she felt that coverage of the former VP was failing to note images and instances similar to hers. Flores has not endorsed anyone in the race as of yet.

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