CNN analyst Rick Santorum called on Republicans to recognize Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman to come forward with sexual misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, as a "pawn" being played by Democrats.

"If I was a member sitting there, I would be looking at Dr. Ford as someone who is, I hate to say this but a pawn in a bigger chess game," Santorum, a former GOP senator from Pennsylvania, said Thursday morning before Ford began her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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"And I'd be sympathetic, frankly," he added, saying Senate Republicans should not be too "tough" on Ford. "Because this is someone who came forward...didn't want their information disclosed, got outed, and has now been thrust into the limelight."

"It's not something she sought, and I think you have to recognize that there's truth behind that," said Santorum, who has also run for president.

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin asserted on air that Santorum was still calling Ford a liar.

"She's not lying," Santorum responded. "I think she does believe that it was him. But sometimes, as we all know, our memories are wrong."

Ford alleges that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her a party in 1982 when both of them were high school students. Kavanaugh has denied the accusation, as well as those from other women who have come forward with similar allegations in recent days.

The White House has maintained support for Kavanaugh amid the accusations.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote Friday on whether to advance his nomination to the full Senate for a confirmation vote.