October 24th, 2012
01:15 PM ET
1 year ago

GOP Senate candidate accuses Dems of distorting his rape comments

(CNN) - U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said Wednesday that he is sorry if he offended anyone by saying that pregnancies from rape are "something that God intended to happen" but accused Democrats of distorting his comments for political gain.

"For those who want to kind of twist the comments and use them for partisan, political gain, I think that's what's wrong with Washington these days," the Indiana candidate said. "I spoke from my heart; I spoke with my principle; I spoke from my faith. And if others want to somehow turn those words and use them against me, again, that's what's wrong with Washington today.

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"It is win at any costs. Let's make up issues when we can't find real ones. Let's twist, let's distort, let's deceive. And I think that's a sad process."

His initial comments came during a debate Tuesday with Democratic congressman Joe Donnelly, and they prompted outrage among liberals who accuse the GOP of seeking to undermine women's rights.

"Mr. Mourdock's lack of compassion for rape survivors is callous, insulting and completely out of touch," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Mourdock became the Republican Senate nominee after toppling longtime incumbent Richard Lugar in a bitter primary fight. The Louisville (Kentucky) Courier-Journal, which had endorsed Lugar, announced Wednesday that it was endorsing Donnelly in part because of Mourdock's pregnancy comment.

The newspaper, which has readers in southern Indiana, wrote that Mourdock's statement "exceeded extreme" and that Donnelly represented "the only rational choice for voters."

The flap erupted after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney endorsed Mourdock in a television commercial this week. In a statement issued Wednesday, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said the presidential hopeful "disagrees with Richard Mourdock, and Mr. Mourdock's comments do not reflect Gov. Romney's views" - but Romney still supports him, she said.

The head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, stood behind Mourdock as well.

"Richard and I, along with millions of Americans - including even Joe Donnelly - believe that life is a gift from God," Cornyn said in a written statement. "To try and construe his words as anything other than a restatement of that belief is irresponsible and ridiculous. In fact, rather than condemning him for his position, as some in his party have when it's come to Republicans, I commend Congressman Donnelly for his support of life."

Donnelly has said he opposes abortion but would allow exceptions for rape and incest and when the life of the mother is endangered.

The controversy comes two months after Rep. Todd Akin, the GOP Senate nominee in Missouri, touched off a firestorm over the same issue when he said "legitimate rape" rarely results in pregnancy. Akin faced a backlash from most of his own party as well as Democrats but defied calls to step aside from numerous GOP leaders, including Romney.

A senior GOP strategist said Mourdock may not face as much pushback from Republican leaders, given the limited time remaining before Election Day and the importance of holding the Indiana seat. But Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, canceled plans to campaign with Mourdock on Wednesday.

Ayotte spokesman Jeff Grappone said in a statement, "She disagrees with Treasurer Mourdock's comments, which do not represent her views." And the GOP candidate for governor in Indiana, Rep. Mike Pence, said in a statement issued Wednesday, "I strongly disagree with the statement made by Richard Mourdock during last night's Senate debate. I urge him to apologize."

And Democrats swiftly pounced on the remark. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued a statement describing the comment as "outrageous and demeaning to women" and called on Romney to take down his ad. Democratic groups and their allies put out web videos Wednesday morning to highlight Mourdock's comments.

"As Mourdock's most prominent booster and star of Mourdock's current campaign ads, Mitt Romney should denounce these comments more strongly than he has," DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse said. "He should go further and demand that the ad featuring him speaking directly to the camera on Mourdock's behalf be taken off the air, and Mitt Romney should withdraw his endorsement of Mourdock immediately."

Mourdock was explaining his opposition to abortion in cases of rape or incest when he made his remark.

"I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is a gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen," said Mourdock, the Indiana state treasurer. He added that he would allow for exceptions to an abortion ban when a mother's life was in danger.

Seeking to clarify his comments, Mourdock said Wednesday that "I absolutely abhor violence. I absolutely abhor any kind of sexual violence. I abhor rape, and I am absolutely confident that, as I stand here, the God that I worship abhors violence, abhors sexual violence and abhors rape. The God that I worship would never, ever want to see evil done.

"So many people mistook, twisted, came to misunderstand the points that I was trying to make. ... If they came away with any impression other than that, I truly regret it."

CNN's Kevin Liptak, Dana Bash, Paul Steinhauser, Rachel Streitfeld and Ted Barrett contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Indiana • Richard Mourdock • Senate
soundoff (2,702 Responses)
  1. krstevenson

    This might be an oversimplified opinion regarding the statements of this politician plus the previous statements of Akin and other pro-lifer's, but, why are these idiotic, generalized, and backwards views about rape and any resulting pregnancy being "legitimate ", "not "legitimate ", or God's "will" coming from MALES? If Mourdock's (or Akin's) wife or loved one was said victim, I would believe there would have been a "struggle" to make sense of the attack, but that line of thinking has nothing to do with "gifts from God" or his "will"...rape (& resulting pregnancy) is MAN'S WILL. Not anymore than infertility has a thing to do with what God wants. To suggest otherwise, means that either God wants to punish specific people with rape or make them struggle with infertility...what happened to their God and his Grace???

    October 24, 2012 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  2. Smoothshocker

    People like this guy are absolutely disgusting and should be put down. Oh and btw buddy hate to fill you in, but there is no god you diluted, ignorant POS, so let me guess...would it be ok if somebody raped your wife or daughter you would be ok with that? If so lets all take a number and get down with that.

    October 24, 2012 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  3. Smoothshocker

    There is no god you tool!!

    October 24, 2012 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  4. Adolf Hitler

    That's right... I was a rape baby and turned out fine!

    October 24, 2012 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  5. Nic

    Dear Mr. Mourdock, I cannot wait for the rapture to happen, so that you and all the other "religious" nutcases will disappear in a blink of an eye. What a glorious day it will be!

    October 24, 2012 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  6. DrJStrangepork

    You know you have an untenable position on an issue when your argument is "God's will be done." Why are these GOP candidates putting themselves in this quagmire with these comments?

    October 24, 2012 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  7. Shay

    Oh God, not another one! Where do they get these guys from? I guess that's the thing here: it's always a man making an ignorant pronouncement like this. Back to the stone age we will go....

    October 24, 2012 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  8. Carol Dempsey

    MItt Romney is appearing in a television ad for Mourdock this week. What's with the Republican party endorsing people with these extreme views against women? No woman should vote Republican after this. Didn't Romney check this guy out before endorsing him, or was his endorsement just another blatant act of political pandering? Oh, I forgot. Mitt Romney will do and say anything to be elected.

    October 24, 2012 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  9. Diojisdad

    Does this mean rapist can go free because they are doing "God's Work"?
    Where do you draw the line?

    October 24, 2012 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  10. voxx

    So that is what a fool looks like...

    October 24, 2012 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  11. sdowst

    This guy is another looney-tunes. How could any rational, thinking person possibly vote for someone with crackpot ideas?

    October 24, 2012 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  12. Person

    This makes me ashamed to be a Hoosier. This is the exact sort of backward, nonsensical thinking that is pulling America under.

    October 24, 2012 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  13. murph

    It's true. Just like AIDS, ALS and small pox is a gift from god! Thanks jebus!

    October 24, 2012 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  14. sick of republican phonies

    Every time one of these religious candidates (or anyone) tries to use logic to explain their absurd beliefs they show what a joke their beliefs are. An all-powerful, God, one who supposedly intercedes to cure disease, etc. (see current crop of catholic saints), didn't want the rape, but as long as it did happen, he wants the baby? What an absurdity.

    October 24, 2012 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  15. Marie MD

    If go really existed you wouldn't be on Earth! What a completely stupid remark but then again . . . . those teapublikkklns and their "understanding" of women and rape.
    As far as walsh, did he ever pay the child support he owed his children? Yes, you are unreasonable because you want to control women's reproductive rights while pretending the President is telling us what to do with healthcare.
    Obamacare vs teapublikkklans? I'll take the President FORWARD!!!

    October 24, 2012 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  16. davidrwcan

    These guys are complete nut-cases whose ridiculous stances are molded by ultra-zealous, right-wing, religio-fanatics. Anybody, especially any woman, who votes for one of these wing-nuts, needs to go to see a psychiatrist.

    October 24, 2012 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  17. reasonTheVoiceOf

    That is logic I can live with if it is implied to it's logical conclusion. If pregnancies from rape are God's will then loss of a child by abortion is also his will.

    October 24, 2012 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  18. Matt

    That guy losing the election is "god's will".

    October 24, 2012 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  19. scars

    By that logic, wouldn't it also be God's will if the mother died because of the pregnancy? In fact, why do we bother with modern medicine at all? Wouldn't cancer, heart attacks, etc. all be part of God's plan? We should just submit and not try to fight death. I would bet this guy would feel differently if his wife or daughter got pregnant because of rape - especially if the rapist wasn't white.

    October 24, 2012 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  20. ol cranky

    This religious extremism, that used to be the fringe, is now what the GOP stands for. The republican party is now, officially, the party that routinely elects officials that want to enact orthodox Christian biblical law (while, quite ironically, claiming to protect us from Sharia law) that it plans to impose on the working class serfs while the rich and "well-connected" will live as they please while passing themselves off as superior just like they did in the good old days.

    Republicans who are not religious zealots (and not part of the new aristocracy) need to wake up and realize those regressionist extremists control the party. The only way to loosen the grip of the religious extremists is for republicans who do not wish to live under the fundamentalist Christian interpretation biblical law (or any biblical law) to vote against the GOP until the extremists are driven back to the fringe where they belong

    October 24, 2012 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  21. Bob R., Maryland

    Thus Mourdock suggests it would be God's will for anybody to rape his wife, his mother, any female, or even his grandmother. This dude is nuts!

    October 24, 2012 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  22. RunfortheHills

    Pregnancies by rape are intended by the Devil, not God. Rape is a sinful act resulting from temptation by Satan. Children born from rape are Satan's children and should be aborted before they can have a chance to do evil in this world! That is the way God would have it.

    October 24, 2012 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  23. Dan Barr

    WOW... If you get elected I will be the most surprized person in the world... Good luke !....

    October 24, 2012 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  24. NameGretchen

    I'm speechless ~ how can one even begin to debate with mutants who have no brain? They dint even share one!

    October 24, 2012 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  25. David Crandall

    "This is an issue that opponents of life throw out". We are not opponents of life. We are opponents of religious idiots like you who want to take away our freedoms of choice. A baby is not a baby until it is born. Go back to church and read your biblical fairy tales, the Taliban want to recruit you.

    October 24, 2012 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
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