October 24th, 2012
08:09 PM ET
2 years 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. Larry L

    Evangelical Christianity produces people like Santorum, Bachman, Akin, and Mourdock. Nobody with the slightest shred of commonsense would worship the god they describe with their actions and comments. Their god is hateful, intolerant and bigoted. He (and I mean "he") is petty, childish, cruel and completely opposite of the Jesus Christ who could have given the Sermon on the Mount. Will Republicans vote for people who turn Christianity into a cult? Looks like the answer is yes!

    October 24, 2012 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  2. LEE

    That is just why I am scared to vote for any Republican. They will pander to the lunatic fringe every time, given the chance.

    October 24, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  3. Lionel Boncy

    It has nothing to do with 'gotcha politics' and Santorum knows it. As every "family value people" he is just smoke and mirror. And that Mourdock charactrer is probably going to suggest legalize rape when he becomes sanator. Like all the other so call pro-life, he really only pro-birth and he does not give a damn about you after you give birth ( simply taliban philosophy )

    October 24, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  4. Ron L- Mich

    Once again Erin drops the ball. She had a chance to show how Mr. Santorium wants to tell everybody else how to live their life but turn the question on him and he attempts to distract by bringing up the court system. How pathetic on his part, and how unfortunate that Erin didn't have the BACKBONE to press the issue.

    October 24, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  5. Bobpitt

    The pope Santrum is going along with the party line is 'gotcha politics' easy way out of explaining voters the real agenda

    October 24, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  6. zipx

    Really? mourdoch is more important a story than libya?

    October 24, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  7. D A Alexander

    Oh please! God does not watch the sparrow fall from the tree, nor watch every embyro in vitro. Rape is rape, and NO WOMAN should have to carry a child that is a result she did not want from the most horrific experience of her life. If you truly believe that life is so precious, vote against the death penalty in your state, and refuse to go to war against another country that just dissed us and did not present a credible threat. Please, we execute lots of questionable men, and kill thousands of innocent civilians. Get it straight–Afghani civiians are okay to kill, but children of rape aren't? Please, where are you moral values?

    October 24, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  8. 2012liberal

    There is nothing gotcha about it. It's words out of his very own mouth. God is above the law and my God is going 2 b yr God period. That is what was said.

    October 24, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  9. 2012liberal

    There is nothing gotcha about it. It's words out of his very own mouth. My God is above the law and my God is going 2 b yr God period. That is what was said.

    October 24, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  10. 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 politics"?!?

    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 |
  11. Jack

    Live with it, you in the religious right and tea partier's have been doing that to the president since he was elected.

    I voted for McCain, and Obama was voted in as our president and none of have shown him any respect. Mitt Romney has, but he supported by religious and tea partier's.

    This is why this christian conservative won't vote for any republicans this time around.

    October 24, 2012 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  12. Drachenx

    So when Republicans take snippits from the presidents speech and air them in a way that twist the meaning, thats ok. But when democrats air the whole speech and let it stand on its own merit, thats wrong? Politics are crazy

    October 24, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    "Richard Mourdock, the Republican Senate nominee from Illinois"? It's Indiana!

    October 24, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  14. To the undecided..

    Do you really want men making decisions about women's health? C'mon, really? Romney really cannot control these male, extreme right-wing, politicians.

    October 24, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  15. Randy, San Francisco

    Santorum's explanation is no more satisfactory than Mourdock's despicable declaration. The conservative extremist wing of the GOP/Tea Party will continue to drive away women voters in the foreseeable future.

    October 24, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  16. Optical Weenie

    Santorum and Mourdock need to get raped, violently, and discover that after all the physical and mental abuse that they have suffered is that the end result is that they are pregnant. And according to their own beliefs they have to go throught the nurturing of the child in their wombs, the birth process, and the responsibility of a lifetime of caring for and providing financial resources for a child they did not plan for.

    The local police generally fail to find who was responsible for the crime, because both of these republican politicians have refused to fund efforts to increase law enforcements budgets regarding rape.

    Santorum's nickname in Pennsylvania was Sanitorium for a reason.

    October 24, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  17. The Blind leading the Deaf

    Yup, that's a gotcha when you're quoted for what you said. Gingrich expressed it best. "If anyone quotes me, they're lying."

    October 24, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  18. Dan

    Give me a break. This is not gotcha politics.

    Look at many of these states and their male dominated politicians who endorse state laws giving a man who commits rape parenting rights. Over 30 states have these disgusting laws.

    Look at the legislative efforts regarding rape that have been proposed since 2010 when Republicans dominated the elections and gained power in almost all states.

    October 25, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  19. Barbara

    What about the rape victim's life? That counts less than the'life'of an embryo that cannot survive outside her womb?

    October 25, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  20. J.V.Hodgson

    No =one forced Mourdock to say it so the gotcha bit is nonsense. the point is is was a foregone conclusion what Santorum would say. He's had a consistent policy on this matter. Life begins at conception and may not be terminated. but when the reality is tht 83 or 88% of people say abortion for protection of the mothers life and rape or incest should be allowed its time for people who are supposed to do the best for the nation as a whole to stop raising this nonsense as far ad the law is concerned re banning abortion, or planned parenthood.
    The decision about that rape pregnancy is the woman who was the victim of the rape and husband If she has one, with 85% of the decision with the woman and no one else especially not laws, or laws which make it difficult to get an abortion.
    Regards,
    Hodgson

    October 25, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  21. Mosesthejew

    Since the Republicians have stated if it's legitimate (legitimate meaning legal or lawful) and that it's GOD's Will, and we need not be concerned about the child, young lady or women who was ordained by God to RECIEVE this gift. The male population is home free with the booty!

    October 25, 2012 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  22. Sam

    "gotcha" is getting SOOOOO OLD. But then I don't think Sanitorium was much on anything new...

    October 25, 2012 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  23. Cathy in AZ

    So my question is: What if this pregnancy results in a pregnancy that is riddled with difficulty and the embryo is determined to have severe deformations Are you willing Mr. Santorini to say that I will help my daughter support this child through all the difficult years? Or do you think it's acceptable to relinquish the child with all of it's medical issues to the state system for healthcare? Also are you willing to raise this child as your own or are you thiniking to relinquish to adopetion?

    October 25, 2012 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  24. Rogue351

    Romney stands by a guy that is advocating rape and says it is gods will ? And there are people willing to over look this and vote for Romney anyway ? Really.......... I knew the IQ of the Republicans was low but this is ridiculous. No wonder Coulter if so comfortable with the language she uses.

    October 25, 2012 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  25. Kr55

    Yeah, we gotcha saying what rick santorum thinks. Sad world when santorum ideas can be found in more than 1 mind.

    October 25, 2012 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
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