Monday . 18 March . 2019
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Kavanaugh Hearings on TV Offer Riveting Drama to a Captive Nation

In another call, Michelle, a 53-year-old Republican from Florida, said she was molested as a teenager by a family friend and had been too scared to say anything. Jessica, a Democrat from Chicago, described being assaulted at age 19 in college.

Not all C-Span callers were sympathetic to Dr. Blasey. “She talks like she was raped,” said Sherry, a Republican in California who said she was sexually attacked at 17. “I’m going, ‘Was she raped or not?’ I don’t understand why she’s crying now.”

Steve Scully, the stoic C-Span host who gently fielded the calls, said in an interview: “We didn’t expect this outpouring of people speaking in very powerful terms of what they have gone through.”

“It’s the emotion of the moment,” he added.

On the networks, commentators spoke of the day in historic terms. “Fifty years from now, people are going to be playing that exchange,” the CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said, singling out Dr. Blasey’s pained recollection of the boys who, she said, laughed as she was assaulted.

On Fox News — the network that President Trump was most likely to be watching — the analysts were impressed by both of the day’s speakers.

“This was extremely emotional, extremely raw, extremely credible,” Chris Wallace, the “Fox News Sunday” host, said of Dr. Blasey’s testimonial. Before lunchtime, he was calling the hearing “a disaster for the Republicans,” and Andrew Napolitano, a Fox News commentator who speaks occasionally with Mr. Trump, said, “The president cannot be happy with this.”

By evening, though, after Judge Kavanaugh’s tear-choked appearance, Mr. Wallace said the judge had delivered “exactly what a lot of people were hoping for.”

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