October 24th, 2012
10:36 PM ET
1 year ago

After apology, McCain does support Mourdock, spokesman clarifies

(CNN) - Sen. John McCain's spokesman said Thursday the Arizona Republican is "glad" that U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock of Indiana apologized for his remark that pregnancies caused by rape are intended by God - an apology Mourdock made Wednesday afternoon but that McCain was not aware of in a Wednesday interview on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360."

"Senator McCain was traveling yesterday in Florida and did not have an opportunity to see Mr. Mourdock's full press conference before he taped his CNN interview," McCain's communications director, Brian Rogers, said in a statement. "Senator McCain is glad that Mr. Mourdock apologized to the people of Indiana and clarified his previous statement. Senator McCain hopes the people of Indiana will elect Mr. Mourdock to the U.S. Senate."

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McCain, both a supporter of Mourdock and a high-profile surrogate for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, said in his CNN interview on Wednesday that his support for the candidate and state treasurer was dependent on an apology.

"It depends on what he does," McCain said on "Anderson Cooper 360." He was answering a question about whether he still considered himself in Mourdock's corner after the comments on rape and pregnancy, which came at a debate Tuesday.

"If he apologizes and says he misspoke and he was wrong and asks the people to forgive him, I would be the first," the 2008 presidential nominee said, adding that he had made mistakes and asked for people's forgiveness after owning up to his transgressions.

During the Tuesday debate, 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.

Mourdock did say he was sorry that people had misinterpreted his comments at a news conference earlier Wednesday, but stuck by the crux of his argument that abortions should not be allowed in cases or rape or incest.

"I'm a much more humble person this morning because so many people mistook, twisted, came to misunderstand the points that I was trying to make," Mourdock said.

"I'm confident God abhors violence and rape, if they came away with any impression other than that, I truly regret it," Mourdock continued. "I apologize if they came away, and I have certainly been humbled by the fact that so many people think that that somehow was an interpretation."

McCain was the highest-profile Republican at the time to distance himself from Mourdock's comments by threatening to withdraw his endorsement. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who recently appeared in a television ad endorsing Mourdock, said through a campaign spokeswoman that he did not agree with the Indiana candidate but that he had not asked for a television ad he recorded for Mourdock be pulled.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Rep. Mike Pence, the Republican running for governor of Indiana, attempted to put space between themselves and Mourdock by repudiating the remarks.

Ayotte was to campaign with Mourdock on Wednesday, but canceled those plans. Her spokesman, Jeff Grappone, issued a statement saying, "She disagrees with Treasurer Mourdock's comments, which do not represent her views."

Pence, in a statement issued Wednesday, said, "I strongly disagree with the statement made by Richard Mourdock during last night's Senate debate. I urge him to apologize."

Others, such as Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, came out in support of Mourdock. Cornyn is chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

"Richard and I, along with millions of Americans - including even Joe Donnelly - believe that life is a gift from God. To try and construe his words as anything other than a restatement of that belief is irresponsible and ridiculous," Cornyn said in a written statement. Donnelly is Mourdock's Democratic opponent for the Senate seat from Indiana.

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Filed under: Abortion • John McCain • Richard Mourdock
soundoff (255 Responses)
  1. 333maxwell

    As long as Governor Romney continues to support a Senator who says.. nay;; 'demands' that women getting raped, pregnant and then having that baby is a GIFT from 'God'...

    Well.. I think that speaks volumes.

    Governor Romney has said he would sign anti abortion legislation should he become President and it comes across his desk.. I would take him VERY seriously.

    Women, this election really is about you.. and your kids.. and their health.. Mentally and physically..

    There is an extremist mindset of uneducated and ignorant men who think that women can't get pregnant if they are 'legitimately' raped, and that even 'forcible' rape is a GIFT from God.. And they want you to elect them so they can create legislation to get rid of YOUR rights. SERIOUSLY.. ASK THEM as Mr Mourdock was asked.

    No matter how you try to justify such nonsense, this is dangerous talk.. if you are a woman or have a daughter or a wife, or a family of ANY kind, consider the consequences of 'politicians' deciding the country shall have no more abortions.. if you get Pregnant, deal with it.. Even if raped it's GODS GIFT..

    Wow.. just wow.. I can think of NOTHING more repulsive or ignorant to suggest, to think the man is running for high office and is supported by the Presidential candidate Governor Romney is ASTOUNDING.. and quite telling GET A HINT.

    Governor Romney is a very dangerous man, I am convinced., Vote like your life and health depend on it, this is 'the big grab', have no doubt.

    October 24, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  2. naksuthin

    A fetus is a human being and a woman has no right to take away it's right to live. That life within her is NOT HERS. It's is a separate human being

    Regardless of how the fetus was conceived...the fact remains that it is a human life and any woman that tries to end the life of a fetus, even if it was conceived without her permission from a rape or from from an abhorrent act like incest or from a husband who has abandoned the mother and child....is a MURDERER.

    The penalty for a woman who aborts her fetus should be the same as the penalty for the murder of a baby child.

    October 24, 2012 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  3. Larry L

    McCain went from "Maverick" to "Party Lap-Dog" over the last 4-8 years. He now just enjoys the time he has left in the limelight – regardless of what principles he must compromise and how far he must sell-out his values. He rejected Romney but now thinks he's a good choice? Not as good as Sarah Palin but good for America? Sure... you betcha... (wink)

    He once was a war hero but became just another politician...

    October 24, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  4. zanny

    Gutless!!!!! He already said he what he meant again today. He said he was misunderstood no he was not and you do not have the guts to call him on it.

    October 24, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    What's with every time a Repub speaks his true beliefs, only to get push back from people who ACTUALLY KNOW HOW TO THINK AND LIVE IN THE 21ST CENTURY, that Repub suddenly claims he/she "misspoke" and are "victims" of "gotcha media"?!?

    Not only are these Repub yahoos – and their supporters – fools, they are spineless whiners!

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    October 24, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  6. 2012liberal

    Lies and decept is all gop is gd 4.

    October 24, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  7. John Cram

    I had a crazy idea, what if the women that was involved was allowed to make the decision? How weird would that be, you think women are ready to handle such responsibility? Or maybe we should continue to vote Republican so that these smart white men can make it for them?

    Obama-2012
    romeny – 1950

    October 24, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  8. bp

    Mourdock did apologize – for saying something that other people were so stupid or evil as to misinterpret. Isn't it enough that he admitted other people are to blame?

    October 24, 2012 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  9. OBAMA

    Wow, Republicans never change...

    October 24, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  10. ArthurP

    " I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,"

    Now just how can that statement be misinterpreted. It is direct and to the point.

    October 24, 2012 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  11. Randy, San Francisco

    Mourdock cannot apologize for what is really in his heart, no matter how dark and repugnant.

    October 24, 2012 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  12. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Another blow up from the reactionary right that don't mind imposing their religious views on everyone else. That isn't what this country stands for. I don't think that McCain or anyone else should continue this guy or Atkin in MO.

    October 24, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  13. Socathy1

    It is obvious this man has never met a 12 year old GIRL carrying her father's baby. I have. What an idiot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 24, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  14. The Blind leading the Deaf

    Ryan, Mourdock, Atkin... just more of the peas in the Romney pod.

    "Yes, we favor smaller government in every way – except when it comes to womens' bodies."

    October 24, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  15. Socathy1

    Thank you senator Mc Cain for standing for common decency. Mourdock's remarks were indecent.

    October 24, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  16. Zwei Stein

    Thank you Sen. John McCain for displaying some sensibility from your side of the aisle. Too bad there aren't too many more people like yourself left in the Party. Romney doesn't even have the stomach to stand behind his stated position.

    October 24, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  17. keith

    I can't let this go, I just read Mourdocks apology, are you kidding. Mourdock, rape is a violent forceful sexual act against another person usually a woman without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. Mourdock stated; "I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that 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. When a child a precious little girl is violently raped and gets pregnant that life is a gift from God and God intended for that precious child to get pregnant. I am thoroughly disgusted. Women of Indiana stand up and VOTE NO to this clown.

    October 24, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  18. eprobono

    I don't understand the demand that he apologize.

    Mourdock has repeatedly reaffirmed that he believes pregnancy resulting from rape is sacred (i.e. "god's will"). So just what would he apologize for .... being stupid? ... being forthright? ....being honest? ....being out of touch?

    His apology doesn't change the fact of his belief, does it?

    October 24, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  19. greyhackles

    Mourdock sure opened up one heck of a can of worms for the right with this gem. Fun!

    October 25, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  20. Valar Morghulis

    The creep is just trying to have it both ways. Sooth those he offended and keep the pro-lifers happy at all costs.

    Why is this even a political issue? The government should not be involved period. This is a personal decision which one has to make based on each person's values and circumstances.

    October 25, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  21. Valar Morghulis

    The 2008 Republican loser thinks he has any clout with voters? Too funny!

    October 25, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  22. blake

    Who cares what McCain wants? Why is this RINO dinosaur still in the Senate?

    October 25, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  23. Adriaan N Roggeveen

    Frankly I do not believe that Mr. Mourdock would be sincere even if he did apologize. Anyone who would assume to know God's Will concerning anything like this is not only ludicrous, it negates the very obvious Biblical Facts. Do not believe that everything that happens to us is of any more importance to the Creator than anything else. To suggest He purposes "divine approval" or any henious act, even in jest; is beyond my comprehension...especially in a public venue. I believe he actually believes what he said, just like others who have suggested rape is anything else but "Assault."

    October 25, 2012 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  24. Erik N

    McCain may be slightly senile, but he's still one of the last sane members of the Republican party.

    October 25, 2012 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  25. Jamar

    If Romney is president what happens to the teenage girl who plans to go to college and gets pregnant does she quit school only not to work because Romney has taken away child care if welfare doesn't exist and she can't get medical coverage where does she turn should one night of bad judgement ruin her life Romneys 5 point plan says yes

    October 25, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
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