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. Pete

    Ask Romney why he won't take down the endorsement ad for Muordock in Indiana because his underlying agenda is to repeal ROE VS WADE that's why,don't deny it you republicans you know its true.Romneys ultimite agenda is making abortion illegal like years ago and his way of growing the base is a population explosion just like his Mormon cult followers,the more kids the better you look in the eyes of the Lord John Smith,their creator,leader.Ryan and most tea party republican hypocrites like Bachmann think this as well,they're wealthy and having large families isn't a hinderence because they have hired help to care for them don't they..Romney if president would get rid of Ginsburg in the SCOTUS and replace her with an extreme conservative to do Romneys bidding,that's the plan this Mormon moron has in store if he wins,republicans won't deny it because if they have any sense they'd know I'm right,read up and see who is PRO LIFE ,all the new tea party representitives and women if he gets in the WH your days as free thinking women are over,you'll all be like Romneys Ann,a stepford wife!!!

    October 25, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  2. robertholt

    If he’s right – he’s right. If he’s wrong – he’s wrong. Either way, I say don’t let it bother you. He was expressing his personal views. If you don’t agree with him, if you don’t like what he said, I don’t see any reason to have a hissy fit over it. If he’s right – that settles it. If he’s wrong, that’s his problem – don’t make it yours.

    October 25, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  3. Penny Wright

    A message for women....

    Mitt Romney is for ending funding for Planned Parenthood...including cancer screenings.

    He said he would overturn Roe v Wade.

    We have Republicans trying to redefine rape....trying to force women to get invasive ultrasounds.

    If you think this election won't effect you and your life, think again.

    Vote for Barack Obama......

    October 25, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  4. Laurie in Spokane

    First of all, who would want to worship, believe in, trust in, follow, or idolize a diety that intends some poor woman to be raped and impregnated? That is so barbaric and ruthless. That aside, who would want a person who promotes that thought to be representing anyone? That person and others who believe the same need some serious help.

    October 25, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    What's the problem, McCain? This is what happens when you support the RNC party platform wanting to vowing to Personhood Rights to the fetus. Look it up. The platform hasn't changed since August. Paul Ryan voted for the personhood bill as well as the bill changing rape to mean "forcible" rape. Both bills passed the House.

    Meanwhile, I see Mitt Romney is going to give us another "economic" speech on Friday. So, which Mitt Romney will show up to speak this time? The Mitt Romney Wall Street 1%er ....or.... the Mitt Romney blue jeans and oxford 47%er?

    October 25, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  6. roro

    Come on, McCain. Grow a pair. The man meant exactly what he said, and any apology would be false, gratuitous, and meaningless. So just say that you can't back anyone who says such ridiculous things. What happened to the separation of church and state?

    October 25, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  7. ClarasBeau

    Explaining away a tragedy by saying it is God's will is really kind of sick, I think...

    October 25, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  8. NOTAGOPFAN

    Too little Too late Johnny boy. And how republican of good ol' Johnny boy to tell Mourdock what he wants him to. Way to coach him up.

    October 25, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  9. jo

    People arguing that is Pro-Life have just endorsed rape? And no, this guy is no hero for doing it. If anything, he may have just handed the Senate and the White House to the Dems. McCain isn't the only one, Luger also denounced him as well and endorsed his opponent.

    October 25, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  10. Tensai13

    We want Mourdock's resignation, not an apology. If Mourdock wants to hold public office and extremist views like this, please move to Afghanistan or some other Taliban hell-hole.

    October 25, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  11. Cam Spurgeon

    An apology isnt enough. vote this screwball down. The Republican line seems to no abortion period ie Ryan. So if they make it an excertion for rapec who makes the decision. The police,judhe. legislature,vp or pres for the approximately 75k pregnancies caused by rape each year. They are all saying them woman cant so does it?What happened to Roe Vs Wade. Why is this all being legislated. By the way I don't believe in abortion but like Biden don't feel I have any right to tell others what to do but these guys do feel they have the right..divorce, adultert. Gees sounds like the taliban to me, No an apology is not enough. Vote them down

    October 25, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  12. Thomas

    Why is McCain still in office , if he was working for GE , he would have been forced into early retirement years ago.

    Hey John , how about them Nationals ?

    Go Giants !

    October 25, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  13. Jeff in TX

    More pathetic foot-shooting by Republicans and their deal with the TEA Party. October surprise for Romney. We'll see if womn are listening.

    October 25, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  14. NOTAGOPFAN

    Ok Robin, let's just say you or a female relative were to unfortunately get raped and became pregnant with the rapists kid. The rapist gets arrested, convicted serves his time and when he gets out would you allow that rapist to see his child? Would you agree with your familiy member if she were to allow the rapist to see his kid? What about the grandparents? Would you allow the rapists grandparents to see their grandchild? A lot of rapes happen between people that know each other. Sometimes it happens between family members.

    October 25, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  15. GI Joe

    Control of women - all aspects - is an introduction into Sharia by the Republican Taliban of the U.S. Mark my word.

    October 25, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  16. sortakinda

    Small world, McCain! I want you to apologize for all those plales you crashed and not knowing when to retire. You can also apologize for inflicting the Palin family on us and for having a robot for a wife.

    October 25, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  17. Jack

    How can Mourdock appologize? God spoke to him. God speaks to all Republicans. GOP stands for God's Own Party. A friend of mine works with the mentally ill. There is a diagnosis for mental illness when people claim God talks to them. It's called Religiosity. They usually end up hospitalized and on meds.

    October 25, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  18. Hogan's Goat

    Wait, Grampaw McCain is still alive? I thought he kicked the bucket last year. Whatever, it's God's will that Mourdock get kicked to the curb and run over.

    October 25, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  19. Jack

    Statistics show that many rapes are commited by family members (often a father). I can see why this inbred Mourdock would support preganancy by rape.

    October 25, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  20. dont apologize

    Why should he apologize if it is his real view of the issue? This is not a "mispoken" comment or a mistake, it is his firmly held belief that he came to after much reflection and prayer. If that is his opinion it is his right to have that opinion, and while I may disagree, that is my opinion. My only problem with his statement is that he is willing to impose his strongly held belief on others who don't share the same religious beliefs or the same experience as him. I can't believe that it is anyone else's decision but the woman's whether she would want to have a baby after being raped. The great thing about democracy is that you can freely share your beliefs and ideas and the voters have the ability to judge those beliefs and ideas and elect those who they agree with. The problem for the Republicans are that most of us disagree with their willingness to impose their own personal beliefs on the rest of us.

    October 25, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  21. rs

    As an Arizonan, I like it when every now and then, a little bit of the old "Maverick" McCain slips out- good for him.

    Republicans of all cloth should roundly shun Mourdock's idiocy and stupidity- unless of course they want to appear to be the same sort of shallow-thinking, Taliban-like radical Mourdock is. Bad enough Mourdock actually holds such silly, fundamentalist neanderthal notions, but after his colleague Akin's drubbing, one might think Mourdock would be bright enouh to keep his mouth shut-especially on TV..

    Remember- VP candidate Ryan holds the same opinions.These men don't deserve positions of power over American women, their bodies or their healthcare.

    October 25, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  22. Hogan's Goat

    "the mother who keeps the child grows to love that child, despite where he/she came from." What a sweet story, Phil. Is that how your mom got you? You know a lot of women who are happily raising rape-babies? Of course you don't, kid, you are just desperate to get your Mormon into the White House.

    October 25, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  23. James

    Some republicans are pro-life regardless if it was rape or not. The rape victim will likely face depression, the child will be from a broken home. They will probably be dependent on government aid. Yet, Republicans want to cut government spending. I don't get it. They care about life but they don't care how to help this life. If I'm dumb, republicans must be "dumber".

    October 25, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  24. rs

    naksuthin-
    WHAT ABOUT THE WOMAN? Do you people see women as anything but a vessel for carrying children? Cripes! The woman goes through the most traumatic event, and on top of that YOU would make her bear her rapist's child? What kind of sicko are you?
    By believing and supporting such nonsense you just turned every woman in America into a 3rd-class citizen- behind men, and a lob of cells.

    October 25, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  25. bill`

    These republican fools need to stop asserting their will for that of God's will, and though God redeems all that He allows the GOP needs to stop legislating what they think God's will should be! The reason that bad things happen is because we live in a fallen world and we are far from Glory on this side of Heaven. Ever since the Garden of Eden we have been given free choice and it is NOT that God allows bad things to happen as much as we ABUSE that free choice. We are all sinners and all fall short of the Glory of God. But, God has a purpose and will for each of His children and that is for each of us to find out, but it is NOT for these stupid republicans to legislate.

    October 25, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
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