October 24th, 2012
08:09 PM ET
1 year ago

Santorum: Mourdock criticism 'gotcha politics'

(CNN) - Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said on CNN Wednesday a U.S. Senate candidate's comment that pregnancies resulting from rape are "something that God intended to happen" has been misunderstood in a game of "gotcha politics."

Richard Mourdock, the Republican Senate nominee from Indiana, said at debate Tuesday he struggled with his position on abortion in cases of rape or incest.

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"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," he said, adding he would support exceptions for cases in which the mother's life was in danger.

Democrats pounced on the comments, and some Republicans sought varying degrees of distance from Mourdock.

In an interview on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront" Wednesday, Santorum said the controversy which followed the comments was a misunderstanding.

"What the Senate candidate said is the child is a gift from God, whether it's conceived from rape or not, it's still - the gift of human life is a gift from God," Santorum said. "He didn't say rape was a gift from God. You'd have to contort words beyond meaning to get that understanding of it."

Leveling the "gotcha politics" charge, he said Mourdock was "talking about the baby in the womb as something that is precious," even though it was conceived through "horrible circumstances."

"That child didn't do anything wrong, that baby didn't do anything illegal," Santorum said. "Here's the sad part. The United States Supreme Court said that that person who commits that rape can not be executed. You're not allowed to execute people who commit rape, but that same Supreme Court says you can execute the child who is the innocent victim of the rape."

"That's a court that has its morals upside down in my opinion," he said, adding he did not support execution in either instance.

– CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report

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Filed under: 2012 • Richard Mourdock • Rick Santorum
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Debbie

    No Mr. Santorum these were words right out of his mouth. No one set him up. What this is Mr. Santorum is blasphemy. A sacrilege!

    October 25, 2012 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  2. Jason

    So the seed of a rapist is "precious"? Are we doing the world or that embryo a favor by bringing it into the world as a child of rape? With a mother who sees her rapist every time she looks into that child's eyes? How would you feel about your life if you discovered you were born of a rape? Isn't the world congested enough with single mothers and poverty? Do you know what the suicide rate, and poverty rate is for children conceived from rape? Not all life is sacred.

    October 25, 2012 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  3. Ben

    He is a senate candidate from Indiana, not Illinois.

    October 25, 2012 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  4. fernace

    There is no way to miscontrue Mourdocks statement, which is based on his personal beliefs! He said that a pregnancy concieved during r.ape or incest is a "gift from God"! Now, he did not say that a woman is obligated to continue that pregnancy, but his statement implies as much! Basically he is against any abortions, except for the life of the woman! Akin & Walsh, however, don't belive in such "trite"! These men must not have any sayso in such legislation, because it will result in many more deaths of women trying to bear children! Ever heard of ectopic pregnancies, pre-eclampsia, pregnancy previa, cancer discovered though pregnancy, etc!? Women Are mysterious creatures, but we hold the gift of life & we take that responibility seriously! Y'all need to take our contributions seriously & realize that there are 7 billion humans on this planet! What are you doing to feed the starving kids here, right now? In this nation? Anwer that 1st!! Forward, please-Obama 12!!

    October 25, 2012 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  5. IndependentRN

    I keep hearing these right wing extremists say that the unborn child is the innocent victim of the rape. It makes my skin crawl. What about the actual rape victim, the WOMAN? Is she not the innocent victim? Do they realize that rape is a traumatic experience and forcing a woman to give birth to living, daily reminder of the rape is more traumatic?

    October 25, 2012 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  6. Justin

    Lets make this clear "GOTCHA POLITICS" would be telling a candidate they are doing a PR photo op with 2nd graders and when they walk in the room it is full of reporters shouting questions, or if the interview was supposed to be a fluff piece on the candidates favorite pet or food but then takes a major turn into high level policy questions. Statements form a candidates own mouth when they can choose to speak or remain silent are not "gotcha" moments, they are unscripted looks at their thought processes... "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," does not say God approves of rape, but the inference is that God's plan for that child to be born must have made the rape necessary. The candidate may not believe that, but that is what he conveyed.

    October 25, 2012 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  7. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    The unhinged GOBP tea potty cleaning up behind their candidates again. The video tape didn't lie. Time to sweep them out of the government that they hate so much.

    October 25, 2012 05:32 am at 5:32 am |
  8. Frank Burns

    By this reasoning, if scientists make stem cells into a heart for someone, that heart would also be God's gift, because it is alive and God made it happen. Since that is God's will, why is the GOP against stem cell research? Their positions are flagrantly inconsistent.

    October 25, 2012 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  9. Don

    Yeah Ricky. He gotcha ya himself. He just said out lout what all of you extremeists think but are to gutless to say.

    October 25, 2012 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  10. Marie MD

    sanatorium, my name for you really fits you.
    It's not gotcha politics just like like the akin comment and his akin/ryan anti woman bill is not gotcha politics.
    If you think your god really thinks a rape child is one of his acts of goodwill maybe you should step back and try another god. There are plenty to go around.

    October 25, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  11. Frank - FL

    Proof #2,200,345,345,550 that CNN is the Obama Re-election cable station

    October 25, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
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