October 24th, 2012
01:15 PM ET
10 years ago

GOP Senate candidate accuses Dems of distorting his rape comments

(CNN) - U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said Wednesday that he is sorry if he offended anyone by saying that pregnancies from rape are "something that God intended to happen" but accused Democrats of distorting his comments for political gain.

"For those who want to kind of twist the comments and use them for partisan, political gain, I think that's what's wrong with Washington these days," the Indiana candidate said. "I spoke from my heart; I spoke with my principle; I spoke from my faith. And if others want to somehow turn those words and use them against me, again, that's what's wrong with Washington today.

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"It is win at any costs. Let's make up issues when we can't find real ones. Let's twist, let's distort, let's deceive. And I think that's a sad process."

His initial comments came during a debate Tuesday with Democratic congressman Joe Donnelly, and they prompted outrage among liberals who accuse the GOP of seeking to undermine women's rights.

"Mr. Mourdock's lack of compassion for rape survivors is callous, insulting and completely out of touch," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Mourdock became the Republican Senate nominee after toppling longtime incumbent Richard Lugar in a bitter primary fight. The Louisville (Kentucky) Courier-Journal, which had endorsed Lugar, announced Wednesday that it was endorsing Donnelly in part because of Mourdock's pregnancy comment.

The newspaper, which has readers in southern Indiana, wrote that Mourdock's statement "exceeded extreme" and that Donnelly represented "the only rational choice for voters."

The flap erupted after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney endorsed Mourdock in a television commercial this week. In a statement issued Wednesday, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said the presidential hopeful "disagrees with Richard Mourdock, and Mr. Mourdock's comments do not reflect Gov. Romney's views" - but Romney still supports him, she said.

The head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, stood behind Mourdock as well.

"Richard and I, along with millions of Americans - including even Joe Donnelly - believe that life is a gift from God," Cornyn said in a written statement. "To try and construe his words as anything other than a restatement of that belief is irresponsible and ridiculous. In fact, rather than condemning him for his position, as some in his party have when it's come to Republicans, I commend Congressman Donnelly for his support of life."

Donnelly has said he opposes abortion but would allow exceptions for rape and incest and when the life of the mother is endangered.

The controversy comes two months after Rep. Todd Akin, the GOP Senate nominee in Missouri, touched off a firestorm over the same issue when he said "legitimate rape" rarely results in pregnancy. Akin faced a backlash from most of his own party as well as Democrats but defied calls to step aside from numerous GOP leaders, including Romney.

A senior GOP strategist said Mourdock may not face as much pushback from Republican leaders, given the limited time remaining before Election Day and the importance of holding the Indiana seat. But Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, canceled plans to campaign with Mourdock on Wednesday.

Ayotte spokesman Jeff Grappone said in a statement, "She disagrees with Treasurer Mourdock's comments, which do not represent her views." And the GOP candidate for governor in Indiana, Rep. Mike Pence, said in a statement issued Wednesday, "I strongly disagree with the statement made by Richard Mourdock during last night's Senate debate. I urge him to apologize."

And Democrats swiftly pounced on the remark. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued a statement describing the comment as "outrageous and demeaning to women" and called on Romney to take down his ad. Democratic groups and their allies put out web videos Wednesday morning to highlight Mourdock's comments.

"As Mourdock's most prominent booster and star of Mourdock's current campaign ads, Mitt Romney should denounce these comments more strongly than he has," DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse said. "He should go further and demand that the ad featuring him speaking directly to the camera on Mourdock's behalf be taken off the air, and Mitt Romney should withdraw his endorsement of Mourdock immediately."

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.

Seeking to clarify his comments, Mourdock said Wednesday that "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.

"So many people mistook, twisted, came to misunderstand the points that I was trying to make. ... If they came away with any impression other than that, I truly regret it."

CNN's Kevin Liptak, Dana Bash, Paul Steinhauser, Rachel Streitfeld and Ted Barrett contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Indiana • Richard Mourdock • Senate
soundoff (2,701 Responses)
  1. Mikemo

    Yes, how dare people attack you for your horrible views! They're great views if you believe in them, right? Surely you wouldn't denounce Hitler (GODWIN ALERT) if Hitler was speaking from his heart.

    October 24, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  2. Facts are Facts

    Um, there are stars and galaxies in the sky, not God, I thought we were past this god thing, there is no God, only dark matter and science to great for us to understand. First they said God was in the sky (heavens) um last time i checked, i see blackness and space.

    October 24, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  3. scarf

    How is this clown's statement any different from some Muslin radical saying, " I will rape this woman and she will become pregnanat, God willing?"

    October 24, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  4. John Geheran

    either his english is a little rusty or his Christianity is the wrong brand. either way it was a very wrongheaded remark.

    October 24, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. keeeleee

    Rape is a tragedy, but killing an innocent unborn baby will only make that tragedy even worse.

    October 24, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  6. Lime

    I wonder how he would feel if a family member got raped.

    October 24, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  7. TheTeacher

    His words are already twisted.

    October 24, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. Boo

    How can you destort something when THERE'S VIDEO OF HIM SAYING IT????????????????

    October 24, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  9. sharon

    How vulgar for someone s t]o support rape. These people oblivious belong to the devil.

    October 24, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. Gerry Daley

    Distorting???? I would think that what he said is utterly offensive enough. But then, women can always fall back on his buddy Aiken's observation that real rape hardly ever results in pregnancy. Isn't it lovely to have our very own Taliban...the Republiban....in the US? Elect Romney for more of this!!!

    October 24, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  11. Seth Colton

    Folks, how scary is it to know that you have and entire group, not just this one guy, who holds beliefs such as this, running our country??? Were all of these individuals home-schooled at GOP High? Pathetic!

    October 24, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  12. revgaryd26


    I am recommeninding an article by Maureen Dowd in the New York Times this morning called "My Mitt Fantasy." Please read and understand that calling the republican standard bearer a "SHAPE SHIFTING CHUCKLEHEAD" is the nicest thing you can say about a serial liar who has changed his views so oftenit is literally painful to watch.


    October 24, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  13. L. Wingate

    This is a statement that only a stupid man would make.

    October 24, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  14. Derek

    Hey REG, nice blip about an attack in Libya that cost 4 American lives... That a talking point for you, or just regurgitation of rhetoric you've been listening to from hate speaking loud mouth Rush and the propaganda machine known as Faux News??

    Where were you when BUSH Administration had FULL KNOWLEDGE of an impending attack on AMERICAN SOIL well before 9/11 ever happened?!?! Where was your interest and conviction in the matter of intelligence failing than!?!? .. ... .. 2,996 CITIZENS lost their lives on 9/11, that's 2,992 MORE than who died in Libya, not even including the 4,486 American Soldiers who gave heir lives to a War and cause that was SOLD TO THE PEOPLE WITH PROPAGANDA when the country they were INVADING had NOTHING to do with 9/11, but contained oil to which Haliburton (Cheny's ex company and ex CEO of the company) could get rich from. You are so dumb and blind.. . Almost every top Republican filled their damn boots off the Iraq War with investments in company's involved given no-bid contracts ALL at the expense of American blood.

    Where are your tears??? Where was he outcry for those 7,500 souls?? You are so full of crap. Wake up Goldfish, try having more than a 2 day memory. Ill informed people like you disgust me, it saddens me that you still get to vote being so dumb.

    October 24, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  15. John Paul Chartrand

    Wow. Does GOD want the rape victim to marry the rapest. Cant have out of wedlock children can we?

    October 24, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. y22nxdf2

    This is what happens when you are talking to God, and discover in horror the telephone cable is off the wall plug.

    October 24, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  17. ohio

    Akin, Murdoch, men like these men disgust me. The republican party
    has been taken over by extremists–and until they act humanly decent
    i will not be voting republican.

    October 24, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  18. Robert

    Most people are looking at this as if God were a mere man. Theologians have an old saying, "the finite cannot contain the infinite." That implies that we are exceedingly arrogant to think that we can understand Gods ways. For the Psalmist wrote, "as high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are Gods ways above our ways."

    The truth here is that God hates all sin and is never the author of sin. Yet, he is sovereign over all things. Joseph once said to his brothers, who sold him into salvery in Egypt, that you meant it for evil but God meant it for good. Joseph spent 13 years as a slave and prisoner in Egypt, but God raised him up to be the ruler of Egypt under only Pharaoh so that he might implement his plan to prepare for a world wide famine and save many people alive. (Go to Genesis to read this amazing story.)

    October 24, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  19. Mike

    Politicians should leave the translating of God's word to those who actually have studied it. There has never been a stronger need for the seperation of church and state as there is now.

    October 24, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  20. Pope Benedict

    This issue really depends on if the rape was legitimate or not.

    October 24, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  21. georgie

    Is this guy the definition of a complete and total moron or what? If things like this are "gods will" then we have been wasting a lot of money on police and jails. Where do we find people such as this?

    October 24, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  22. SDG66

    So let me get this straight – a woman is raped and becomes pregnant. Then, because abortion is not legal in the case of rape, the woman becomes a criminal and possibly gets incarcerated if she decides to abort rather than give birth to the child?

    October 24, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  23. mistamista

    @Robert (October 24, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm )

    Nothing that you said is factually accurate. Nothing that you said is the truth. Nothing that you said makes any sense. And most importantly, THERE IS NO GOD!

    October 24, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  24. Sivick

    One of many reasons the republican party is doomed.

    October 24, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  25. Alice

    This guy is a Christian- so he believes that, if he really wants a life, God can impregnate a woman with the sheer power of the Holy Spirit. How is that belief reconciled with the opinion that, sometimes when God wants a life to start, he uses rape?

    October 24, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
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