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Kavanaugh needs to be more 'animated' during hearing, says former Clarence Thomas advisor

The White House counsel who prepped Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's 1991 confirmation process says President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East MORE's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh needs to “get a little more animated,” and show “more passion” in his public appearances.

C. Boyden Gray, an aide to White House counsel under the George H.W. Bush administration, said Tuesday that Kavanaugh was “too subdued” in his appearance Monday night on Fox News.

“I thought he was a bit subdued — I thought it was very effective recitation of what he is going to say but I think he’s going to have to get a little more animated at the hearings themselves and show a little bit more passion,” Gray told Hill.TV's Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on “Rising” in response to a question about Kavanaugh’s Monday night interview on the network.

Kavanaugh, appearing beside his wife, again denied allegations of sexual assault that surfaced this month from two women.

Christine Blasey Ford, now a professor in Northern California, alleges that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and tried to remove her clothes while stifling her screams at a party when the two were in high school. Deborah Ramirez, told The New Yorker this week that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her without her consent when the two were students at Yale University. 

Gray also recalled Thomas's testimony before the the Senate Judiciary Committee, calling the then-nominee's television performance "extraordinary." Thomas was accused by Anita Hill of sexual misconduct during his confirmation proceedings.

Though Gray said he thinks Kavanaugh lacks the same dramatic presence Thomas displayed during his confirmation, he said he expects tensions to run high during Kavanaugh's hearings. 

"Thomas’s performance on television was really extraordinary but … Kavanaugh has a different style but it’s going to be high drama," Gray said.

Ford’s upcoming testimony on Thursday has drawn comparisons with Hill’s testimony against Thomas 27 years ago.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenElection Countdown: Dems outraise GOP in final stretch | 2018 midterms already most expensive in history | What to watch in second Cruz-O'Rourke debate | Trump raises 0M for reelection | Why Dems fear Avenatti's approach The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Pollsters: White college-educated women to decide if Dems capture House Election Countdown: Cruz, O'Rourke fight at pivotal point | Ryan hitting the trail for vulnerable Republicans | Poll shows Biden leading Dem 2020 field | Arizona Senate debate tonight MORE on Friday expressed regret his handling of the hearings he managed for Thomas's Supreme Court confirmation.

"Anita Hill was vilified, when she came forward, by a lot of my colleagues, character assassination — I wish I could have done more to prevent those questions and the way they asked them,” Biden told NBC’s "Today" show. 

— Tess Bonn