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. rs

    ANOTHER GOP psychopath. Hang 'em around Mr. Romney's neck. These are the people YOU support when you think about voting for Romney/Ryan. Liars and the deranged.

    October 24, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  2. batjones

    Since Mr. Mourdock is so well versed in the will of God, I am sure he is also an expert in the ways of Satan. I am sure Mr. Mourdock defines rapists within the class of the devil and satan. Would Mr. Mourdock force a woman to bear the child of Satan's seed? This talk of God's will is foolishness. We live on earth and do earthly things. I believe that God is quite capable of intervenig into the hearts of a woman to prevent an abortion. The Virgin Mary is a case in point. It seems apparent that God periodically intervenes into the hearts of women to permit abortion.

    October 24, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  3. shmogyim

    Burn him alive, along with all the rapists and any offspring so we can cut out future ones from the gene pool and evolution.

    October 24, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  4. ritmocojo

    Hang with Todd Akins much?

    October 24, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  5. Darron R. Brown, M.D.

    This abhorant statement is beneath the dignity of a Senate candidate. Why he is the GOP's candidate, rather than the statesman Richard Lugar is truly puzzling and dismaying. Are my fellow Hoosiers really so ignorant of Lugar's accomplishments and of Mourdock's radical views on women's rights? Hopefully, the Democratic candidate will prevail, and Hoosiers will be represented by someone who cares about all of us in Indiana.

    October 24, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  6. GvilleT

    Get over it!!! There's nothing he said that is wrong. It was from the heart and he was by no means disrespectful. I get so tired of survivors of heinous crimes claiming they feel disrespect for this comment, disrespected for that comment, when 9 times out of 10 the person didn't mean anything by saying what was said. He meant NO disrespect nor did he say it with any disrespect. With that being said, this Christian mother of 2 has to disagree with his stand on abortion. I don't agree with it in most cases, but the government needs to stay out of my business if for any reason I should find myself pregnant and NEED to have an abortion for my well being whatever my reaon may be.

    October 24, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  7. musings

    He can believe all the delusional things that he wants, but he cannot determine how the sane people live in this country.

    If we have been pouring gasoline on the fires of sectarian differences in the middle east, between one form of Islam and another form, then I hope this kind of thing does not catch on here in the US. We'd be finished.

    October 24, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  8. Richard

    Really?This guy is a certified clown.There is a big difference between GODS will an what he allows to happen.GODS will is that everyone would be saved n repent n turn from there wicked ways but he allows you to make your own choice.Ask yourself why is this man trying to cause confusion by mixing lies with the truth.GODS word stands on its own.

    October 24, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  9. JayJ7

    This is the result of a belief in God. Once you accept that despite all logic and evidence that there are all powerful invisible beings, you will logically come to conclusions like this. The Taliban are religious heroes just like this person. If your whole life is based on utter fantasies this is the life you get.

    October 24, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  10. barbarabarham

    Actually, I think this type of statement is horrible but at least he is not a hypocrite like Romney. If you truly believe that abortion is murder and that life begins at conception then it really shouldn't matter how it is conceived.

    October 24, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  11. Foreverwar

    He sounds pretty much like any other candidate in the new GOP/ Taliban.

    October 24, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  12. carolusa

    If a Republican party gets into the Presidency, then the Supreme Court will be very different very soon. What will our society be like in another 10-15 years if Aiken, Mourdock and their ilk get into power? Don't assume that we will always have a say in these matters once a new Supreme Court and a republican congress gets into power. This is dangerous!

    October 24, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  13. Anon

    What makes this especially disturbing is that he was not misspeaking (as Aiken claimed after his rape remark), but this is Mourdock's considered opinion after due reflection.

    October 24, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  14. dussil

    All rapists should be executeid, along with this sicko politician, and any offspring resulting from these abominable attacks should be euthanized as well so they are removed from the gene pool and rewarded by evolution.

    October 24, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  15. RichardSRussell

    This is the guy that Indiana Republicans kicked Dick Lugar out for, eh?
     
    Well, for those who did it for Biblical reasons, look up the part about sowing and reaping.

    October 24, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  16. Tim

    When crazy and ignorant shack up inside one persons brain, this is what happens. Only someone without ovaries would believe something so stupid. What kind of sadistic, psychopathic god do you have to believe in to say something like this?

    October 24, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  17. xyx25

    God can never Sin and God can never initiate Sin.

    Jam 1:13-15 "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."

    But he might use the sinful intentions and actions of man for good of His chosen, like he did with Joseph.Just because good came out of the sinful action, doesn't mean, man is not responsible for his sin.

    Gen 45:4-8 "And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. 5Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. 6For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. 7And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt."

    October 24, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  18. Lar5

    Where is the world in the real GOP. The sane republican party is no where to be found. Where did it go? Any woman who votes for this bunch has no trace of self esteem. Do republican women really want to be 2nd. class citizens?

    October 24, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  19. Jack Sonberg

    These political comments about God's will are puzzling, since they ignore the Devil. Has the great promoter of evil disappeared from the Christian world? Why is allowing a rapist to succeed in fathering a child not viewed as a triumph of the Devil over God's will?

    October 24, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  20. xyx25

    God can never Sin and God can never initiate Sin.

    Jam 1:13-15 "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."

    October 24, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  21. lweba

    And so if fertilization takes place in a test tube it is also 'God's will'.

    October 24, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  22. Barb

    Liberals get upset when a terrorist is water-boarded but they aggressively defend the violent dismemberment of a living child. In the fog of their immorality they've convinced themselves a baby conceived in love or rape is as important as used Kleenex. Sick.

    October 24, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  23. SDG66

    We might expect this kind of ignorance and insanity from a Taliban spokesman in eastern Afghanistan, but not from a politician in 21st century America. This kind of garbage is what will ultimately sink the Republican party into a well-deserved state of disgrace. It may take more time but it will happen.

    October 24, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  24. Jeff

    Anyone else not give a crap about abortion either way? The way the campaigning is going, it would seem that picking the right side on abortion will magically fix all of the countries problems.....

    October 24, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  25. barbarabarham

    Actually, if you truly believe that abortion is murder and that life begins at conception then why should it matter how it is conceived? At least this guy isn't a hypocrite like the flip flopping Mitt Romney.

    October 24, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
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