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Heitkamp knocks GOP challenger for 'disturbing' comments on Kavanaugh allegations

Heitkamp knocks GOP challenger for 'disturbing' comments on Kavanaugh allegations
© Greg Nash

North Dakota Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampFive takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Live coverage: Heitkamp faces Cramer in high-stakes North Dakota debate Sexual assault survivor named in Heitkamp ad: 'She definitely lost my vote' MORE (D) on Saturday blasted her GOP Senate challenger Rep. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerFive takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Live coverage: Heitkamp faces Cramer in high-stakes North Dakota debate Sexual assault survivor named in Heitkamp ad: 'She definitely lost my vote' MORE over comments he made about the sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“Congressman Cramer’s comments are disturbing and they don’t reflect the values of North Dakota,” Heitkamp said in a statement to The Hill.

Heitkamp issued the statement after Cramer appeared on a North Dakota radio station Friday and called Christine Blasey Ford's allegations against Kavanaugh “absurd” given the circumstances.

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"If to the degree there was any legitimacy to Anita Hill's claims, and she tried and didn't prevail — Clarence Thomas did and America did — this case is even more absurd because these people were teenagers when this supposed alleged incident took place," Cramer said on "The Jarrod Thomas Show," referencing Anita Hill's allegations of sexual misconduct against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991.

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“These are teenagers who evidently were drunk, according to her own statement. They were drunk. Nothing evidently happened in it all, even by her own accusation. Again, it was supposedly an attempt or something that never went anywhere,” he added. 

Cramer issued a statement to The Hill on Saturday seeking to clarify his comments from the radio interview.

“The question I was answering was how the current accusation against Brett Kavanaugh by Christine Blasey Ford compared to the Anita Hill accusation against Clarence Thomas. The point of my answer was that the current allegations were even more absurd. At the time, there was a sense of legitimacy to what Anita Hill was saying, but it is hard not to be skeptical considering the timing and history of the allegation Brett Kavanaugh is facing,” Cramer said in the statement to The Hill.

“Of course, any allegation of this nature should be taken seriously, but absent significant evidence being brought forth immediately, I feel Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation process should proceed,” he added.

Ford went public with the allegations last Sunday in an interview with The Washington Post, saying Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and tried to remove her clothes during a party in the early 1980s, when both were in high school.

Kavanaugh has flatly denied the allegations, which have roiled Senate Republicans' plans for a quick confirmation this month. The Senate Judiciary Committee seeks to speak with both individuals next week. 

"You just can't expect to defame a guy who's got a stellar record and a stellar, nearly perfect reputation, near as I can tell, character-wise, and be able to be the last word," Cramer said during the radio interview Friday. 

Heitkamp has been tight-lipped about how she intends to vote on Kavanaugh's nomination, but has called on Ford to testify. 

Heitkamp is among 10 Senate Democrats up for reelection this year in a state that President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US MORE won in 2016, taking North Dakota by 36 points.

The Cook Political Report rates her race as a “toss-up.”

Updated: 1:32 p.m.