Prominent US political journalist apologizes after harassment claims

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Mark Halperin, the NBC and MSNBC analyst who co-authored the bestselling 2008 election postmortem "Game Change", apologized late Wednesday after five women accused him of sexual harassment, CNN reported.

"None of the women have said, though, that he ever promised anything in exchange for sex, or suggested that he would retaliate against anyone", wrote CNN's Oliver Darcy. Halperin has denied grabbing a woman's breasts and pressing his genitals against three of the women who spoke out.

Halperin acknowledged the accusations in a statement provided to CNN.

Halperin told CNN: "I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain".

"The percentage of men who will leap to this jackass's defense will be about.001", tweeted journalist Keith Olbermann, who formerly worked for MSNBC.

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Halperin, now working with NBC News and a frequent guest on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, authored "Game Change", a book about the 2008 presidential campaigns.

Another woman shared a similar account, saying she was seated in his office when he approached from behind and "pressed his body on mine, his penis, on my shoulder", she told CNN. He previously worked as the political director at ABC News and was frequently seen on MSNBC's Morning Joe as well as The Circus on Showtime.

Two other women also claimed Halperin propositioned them while they were traveling together for work.

Halperin's apology came amid an outpouring of sexual harassment allegations against powerful male figures in entertainment, fashion, and finance that followed the downfall of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who stands accused of assaulting and raping actresses.