October 24th, 2012
10:36 PM ET
2 years 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. UncleBenny

    Too late for apologies. The cat's out of the bag. Mourdock didn't "misspeak," he spoke his mind, revealing beyond doubt what an antediluvian moron he is. An apology simply says "I'm sorry I let you know how I really feel, tipping the voters off to my total disregard for women."

    October 25, 2012 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  2. Jean

    "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.

    Is that clear enough for you Sen. McCain? Trying listening to what Mr. Mourdock said instead of fall for the media spin.

    October 25, 2012 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  3. cw

    Too late for an apology, John. This jerk has to go.

    October 25, 2012 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  4. LakeRat1

    Although I strongly disagree with the way Mourdock feels about rape and pregnancies, etc, the discussion on this issue misses the most important point. That women should have the right to choose what to do about it, Its not Mourdock's beliefs that matter here, its the beliefs of the woman. It's amazing that this never seems to enter into the discussion. These religious zeolots scream bloody murder when someone wants to interfere with their religion, but they have no reservations at all about interfering with the rights, relating to the religious beliefs of others.

    October 25, 2012 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  5. mommytwice

    just one more example of how extreme the Republican Party has become. They are so far to the right now, how can anyone vote for them??

    October 25, 2012 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  6. alfuso

    so Mourdock apologizes. He will still believe it and act on it in Congress.

    October 25, 2012 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  7. Joan

    What good is an apology if he believes what he believes!!!!

    October 25, 2012 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  8. Josh

    There has to come a time that an apology does not cut it...the republicans slip up all the time and reveal their true agenda and then they say whoops and hide behind an apology...they are not apologizing for what they said just that they made the mistake of saying it

    October 25, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  9. Doyle Wiley, MI

    Mourdock if you truly believe in God you would also believe that the sole is immortal. So, if a embryo is aborted the sole is unharmed.

    By the way, God gave humans free will. So God doesn't determine who will or will not have a child. So, the so called gift of life (in human form) is a gift from the parents. The gift of life should be the result of an act of love. An act of love that would receive the blessing of God.

    October 25, 2012 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  10. Kari

    So saying "I misspoke" makes everything OK. Got it.

    October 25, 2012 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  11. Marry

    Wow, McCain sure was fast on his feet with this one! :-( It is an insult to women denying them to make their own decisions that affect their and their family’s life! The laws the GOP wants to pursue will send women again into back allies in their desperation. That so many GOP-TP candidates who do not believe in the separation of "church and state" have ANY supporters is outrages!
    I am sure the Lord is neutral on this – but surely is amused watching the little lams willfully misrepresent HIM for political gain. He might have a word with these lams later...
    For now, he smiles and lets the sun shine on good and bad!
    In this election HE relays on the brain and character HE gave us (granted some a little more, some a little less) and will watch how WE handle it. So, please do not bother God with this – go out and VOTE for some reason and responsibly and if you want HIM to smile, vote a strait “D” ticket!

    October 25, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  12. LiLa

    Mourdock can apologize all he wants because "we misunderstood him" but that doesn't change his core beliefs. I hope that women are beginning to see how quickly and absolutely our hard fought rights can be taken away and vote for candidates who will protect them.

    October 25, 2012 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  13. RobK

    Good for him for honestly explaining his beliefs before the election. Unlike Obama and same-sex marriage.

    October 25, 2012 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  14. n, tx

    you are running for Senate seat, plus u Are a man, we men do not know what women goes through when she is raped, u are disgrace to America and I hope u lose big on election day. Shame on you. Women wake up and vote against him. Plus Romney endorse him for Senate seat, women vote against Republican, if Republican take over the house and presidency this is What u will get.

    October 25, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  15. WayneKilmer

    If God intended for a life to begin as a consequence of rape, then would it not logically follow that the rape was intended? And if does not logically follow, then could not one conclude that there is no logical to God's actions? How could one conclude a direct effect is intended, while the cause was not? An intended consequence of an unintended act? Makes no sense, on any level.

    October 25, 2012 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  16. Wire Palladin, S. F

    McCain will endorse him because Mourdock represents the true republican party.

    October 25, 2012 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  17. Wire Palladin, S. F

    You cannot be a real republican without attacking women's rights, workers, seniors, veterans, college students, minorities, gays, poor people and the middle class. Of course McCain will endorse Mourdock and Akin.

    October 25, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  18. UBS, WILLARD & THE 4000+ AMNESTY DEAL

    Republicans are so radical now that they've replaced a respectable senator in Dick Lugar with this nut. McCain is doing the right thing by not endorsing this guy. It's not going to help Willard though. In other news, Colin Powell is endorsing the President.

    BOMBSHELL DAY FOR ROMNEY CAMPAIGN/LIFT THE GAG ORDER

    October 25, 2012 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    What makes these remarks even more offensive is that Mourdock is claiming he knows what God wants: what an incredibly arrogant thing to say. Anyone who claims to know God's mind on anything is a conceited fool, and should be treated with the contempt he has displayed towards anyone who disagrees with him.

    October 25, 2012 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  20. D

    Apologizing means nothing in this situation. Publicly apologizing doesn't change the man's views, nor will it change the way he approaches public policy if elected in the future. All it means is he will hide his agenda more carefully until he is in a position to put it into action. A person with these views, in my opinion, simply has no place in today's government.

    October 25, 2012 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  21. crzybb2002

    This is STUPID! Why in the world should hehave to apologize?? His words were totally twisted. He believes that life is a gift from God. So do I. What's your view? That babies conceived by rape are satans spawn and SHOULD be mrdered?!? I'm sure there are many many adult children conceived by rape that are happy, healthy productive members of society and are loved more than anything by their familes. Ask them! I'm sure they'll tell you they beleive their life is worth something! McCain and everyone who turns their back on this guy is a political puppet.

    October 25, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  22. plain&simple

    Only a crazy person would say God "intended" for a rape to happen! So if he's not crazy he must mean the child is innocent of the act.

    October 25, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  23. SCOTO

    McCain can sure pick em. No doubt his endorsement of Palin as his VP was contingemt upon her obtaining a new brain

    October 25, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  24. T'sah From Virginia

    ►"If he apologizes and says he misspoke and he was wrong and asks the people to forgive him, I would be the first," ◄

    Because he said it means he MEANT it and that would be enough for me – Mourdock should be AKIN now and that pain will go beyond him losing the election.

    Obama/Biden 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!

    October 25, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  25. n, tx

    you are running for Senate seat, plus u Are a man, we men do not know what women goes through when she is raped, u are a disgrace to America and I hope u lose big on election day. Shame on you. Women wake up and vote against him. Plus Romney endorse him for Senate seat, women vote against Republican, if Republican take over the house and presidency this is What u will get.

    October 25, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
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