Kavanaugh did admit to drinking to excess.
The exchange was a freakish turn in a hearing full of surprises and Kavanaugh, seemingly aware that he had crossed a line with his responses, apologized after the committee took a short break. In fact, he was never legal in high school because the state's drinking age increased to 21 at the end of his junior year, while he was still 17.
Asked if Kavanaugh had ever suffered memory loss during a time that he had been drinking, Kavanaugh said no, but still defended beer drinking.
Binge-drinking - which was at a 40-year high in the early 1980s - is fast becoming a central focus of the high-profile, he said/she said testimony of Kavanaugh and accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. "We drank beer, I like beer", Kavanaugh said. In last year's Monitoring the Future Study, 56 percent of high school seniors reported drinking, down from 87 percent when Kavanaugh was in his last year at Georgetown Prep. It would have been legal for him to buy and consume beer in D.C., which did not raise its drinking age from 18 to 21 until 1986, for most of his senior year, but it sounds like the parties to which he refers generally happened in Maryland. "I liked beer. I still like beer", he said.
After a recess, Kavanaugh offered an apology for questioning Klobuchar's drinking habits in a heated exchange.
Flake, Coons on Kavanaugh's "angry" testimony on Capitol Hill
Kavanaugh, in testimony that alternated between anger and tears, denied ever doing such a thing to Ford or anyone else. Democrats have been calling for such a probe, though Republicans and the White House have insisted it was unnecessary.
Jennifer Rubin, a conservative commentator for the Washington Post and a prominent critic of President Trump and the GOP, wrote a column later in the evening calling the exchange the "most telling moment" of a hearing in which a yelling, angry Kavanaugh appeared unable or unwilling to get out of attack mode.
"There is a bright line between drinking beer, which I gladly do, and which I fully embrace, and sexually assaulting someone, which is a violent crime". "My friends and I, the boys and girls".
But bizarrely, a refrain of Kavanaugh's defense became repeated iterations of some version of "I like beer". "I don't know if you do".
"Most people have done some drinking in high school and college, and many people even struggle with alcoholism and binge drinking", Klobuchar said to Kavanaugh". And the drinking age was 18. "No, I've gone to sleep, but I've never blacked out", he said. Do you like beer, senator, or not? I drank a lot in college, too much on more than a few occasions, but never found myself in a situation where I could not remember what had happened the night before or needed other people's help to piece it together. Kavanaugh forcefully denied the incident ever happened. "We drink beer. We liked beer", he said. "And in your written testimony, you said sometimes you had too many drinks".