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. Disappointed American

    "Senator McCain was traveling yesterday in Florida...." Why is this useless war monger traveling in Florida instead of being at work in D.C., where there is a long "to do list?"

    McCain and a bunch of others need to GO! Enough already!

    October 25, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. Lisa

    Now, John, how about an apology for inflicting Sarah Palin on us? You've never apologized for that, and she's still pretending she's relevant.

    October 25, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  3. midwest3

    Mourdock and any number of other Republicans have proven over and over again that putting any of them in office would be total insanity? If enough of these non-thinking, science re-writing ding-bats get elected, our collective thinking abilities as a nation will go down faster than you can say 2016! After all, we will exist in a country that recognizes that there is "illegitimate rape"; a woman will lose her life if she has pregnancy complications (because medicine supposedly is advanced enough that a woman's life would never REALLY be in danger while pregnant); our children will be taught that evolution is a lie and that the earth is only several thousand years old; when companies make more money they will create more jobs and share the wealth with their employees (here in the US); and on and on and on. These people are totally stuck on stooooooooopid!

    October 25, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. Too Many Bozos

    Poor John McCain. He so wants to be a man of principle, but obviously somebody took him to the woodshed to get him back in lockstep with the machine. He did have a conscience at one point, but it seems so long ago now.

    October 25, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Of course the honorable Senator from Arizona supports Murdock.
    Mr.Mcain has always been a good soldier.

    "Romney campaign stands by Mourdock".

    Women.. For Goodness sake.. WAKE UP..

    If ever there WAS a sign from God, this would be one of them.. These 'men' who are completely uneducated and ignorant about a woman's body, want to be in charge of the laws that Govern YOUR body. There is no other way to put it. Welcome to the year 1642 where science and medicine take a back seat. Don't even dare mention the earth revolves around the sun.

    The Governor has said if he wins the Presidency that he would sign legislation if presented, that bans abortion. And you have GOP senators and Congressmen who have now said that women who get raped have no medical worries as they can't get pregnant if they are 'really' raped, and now with Mourdoch, it is 'God's Gift'.

    Seriously..

    Vote like YOUR life, your daughter's life and health depends on it.. It's not playtime anymore, they are playing for keeps and total control.Have no doubt, this is 'the big grab'.

    October 25, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
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