Sheldon Whitehouse, the incumbent Rhode Island Democrat Senator, has been mocked nationally for his bizarre and intense interrogation of Brett Kavanaugh over high school yearbook entries Whitehouse suggested were sexual references.

Kavanaugh pushed back, explaining that the term “boofing” meant flatulence, “ralphing” was vomiting, and “Devil’s Triangle” was a drinking game. Whitehouse refused to accept Kavanaugh’s testimony, even though high school classmates backed up Kavanaugh.

Former Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice Robert Flanders, the Republican challenger, has hit Whitehouse in a TV ad that also is going viral on social media.

The issue came up during a televised debate tonight on WPRI 12 in Rhode Island.

Flanders accused Whitehouse of “political flatulence” in his obsession with the yearbook, and of character assassination against Kavanaugh:

Whitehouse stood his ground, claiming that the yearbook entry questioning helped “give a window into the credibility of the candidate for the court.”

Here’s the key exchange:

Flanders: … unfortunately, my opponent took the other approach, his approach was one of political flatulence. He wanted to do everything he could to derail this man and to do character assassination. I think he owes an apology to Judge Kavanaugh and his family, and in fact even to his Senate committee, for the way he handled things ….

Whitehouse: … we have to work through unpleasant or difficult evidence, and I am very confident that this helped “give a window into the credibility of the candidate for the court….

Flanders: … Absolutely not, what did this questioning show about the allegations that were at issue? Nothing. There was really, as he said, sophomoric rhetoric that appears in many a yearbook. And to take his five minutes to go through a yearbook cross-examination which absolutely turned up nothing, except embarrassment for him and the committee. And this isn’t just me alone.

The nation has been ignited by this cross-examination into thinking, oh my goodness, how embarrassing for Rhode Island to have a man in the U.S. Senate who would take a judicial candidate through flatulence entries, ‘ralphing’ throwing up, the f-word. I mean, really, is that what the Senate is about?

That shows how Whitehouse still doesn’t realize how his own credibility has been hurt. There are indications the ‘boofing’ debacle has hurt Whitehouse, and he is vulnerable.

The full debate is here.


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