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"We have not come very far at all": Correspondent Rita Braver on Christine Blasey Ford testimony

Comparing Ford's testimony to Anita Hill

There was reluctant testimony from a woman accusing a Supreme Court nominee of sexual misconduct, followed by a fierce and emotional response from the nominee. It was just days before a scheduled vote on the nomination.

That was 1991. The accuser was Anita Hill, who came forward to accuse Judge Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.

CBS News' Rita Braver said on CBSN's "Red & Blue" that 27 years later, as she watched Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testify, she still sees a "'he said, she said' kind of atmosphere" on Capitol Hill.

Braver is now a national correspondent for CBS "Sunday Morning." In October 1991, she covered the Anita Hill testimony as a law correspondent for CBS News.

Thomas was confirmed soon after Hill's testimony. The outrage following  his confirmation led a year later to a wave of first-time female candidates being elected in the 1992 midterms in what was called the "Year of the Woman."

Christine Blasey Ford, Brett Kavanaugh swear they're telling the truth

More than 25 years after that "Year of the Woman," the #MeToo movement empowered women to speak out against men in positions of power.

On Thursday, Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy praised Ford.

"Bravery is contagious," Leahy said, adding that more women would feel safe coming forward with stories of sexual misconduct.

But Braver noted that progress has been slow, even since 1991: "The fact that she is still, 27 years later, afraid to make an accusation that she really believes is just exactly the way that Anita Hill was," Braver said. "The fact that the two sides are lining up the same way, to me shows we have not come very far at all."

Thursday's hearing was also another window into the rise of partisanship over the past 27 years, Braver said.

In October 1991, Thomas had visible support from Democrats when accusations were made against him. He was confirmed by the Democratic-controlled Senate, with 11 Democrats voting to confirm. 

While an exact vote count for Kavanaugh is still unclear, it's possible he could get no Democratic votes.

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