CNN editor: Booker's 'groping incident' 'different' from Kavanaugh allegation

CNN editor: Booker's 'groping incident' 'different' from Kavanaugh allegation
© Anna Moneymaker

CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza defended New Jersey Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerDemocrats criticize FBI's handling of tip line in Kavanaugh investigation Biden: Republicans who say Democrats want to defund the police are lying For true American prosperity, make the child tax credit permanent MORE (D) from attacks by the right-wing news site The Daily Caller on Friday over Booker's admission of a past "groping incident."

In a column posted on CNN.com Friday, Cillizza argued Booker's admission in the early 1990s of the incident, which he says occurred during a romantic session when he was a teenager, differs from the allegation facing Brett Kavanaugh for several reasons.

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Chiefly, Cillizza argues Booker's free admission of groping a female friend, which Booker said was a "wake-up call" about women and consent, differs from Kavanaugh's denial of an accusation from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor who says Kavanaugh groped her while forcibly holding her down at a high school party.

Kavanaugh has strongly denied the accusation, which surfaced in a Washington Post interview on Sunday, and has vowed to testify in his own defense at a special session of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.

Booker's statements about the allegations were jumped on by The Daily Caller in a piece titled "Booker facing criticism for Kavanaugh reaction after admitting to groping friend in high school," which cited an op-ed from a conservative New Jersey columnist as evidence of the "criticism" the senator faces.

Cillizza also wrote that Booker's status as an elected official, first as mayor of Newark, then as senator, differs from Kavanaugh's status since Kavanaugh faces only a confirmation hearing in front of the Republican-controlled Senate and cannot be removed by voters.

"What Booker did as a teenager wasn't right. And he has been and will be judged by voters on them," Cillizza writes in the piece.

"But to turn Booker into a political missile to prove hypocrisy misses the mark. This isn't about Booker. This is about Ford, Kavanaugh, and how we, together, figure out the right way forward," he continues.

Booker admitted to the incident, which he says occurred during the 1980s when he was 15, in writings while attending Stanford University in the 1990s.

Ford has yet to confirm whether she will testify at Monday's hearing, but a letter from her attorneys Thursday to the committee members expressed concerns with plans for Kavanaugh to testify in the same room and at the same time as his alleged victim.

Aides for the committee's chairman, Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyEx-Rep. Abby Finkenauer running for Senate in Iowa Six takeaways: What the FEC reports tell us about the midterm elections Senate committee to hold hearing following FBI watchdog's report on Nassar case MORE (R-Iowa), said Thursday that discussions about Ford's potential testimony are ongoing.