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. Jyothi, St.Louis, MO

    If Mourdock has said this from his heart, women also choose abortion from their own heart, because of their own faith and principles. Faith is not something that can be imposed on anyone. It should be developed by every human being from their own heart.

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

    This issue really depends on if the woman was raped legitimately or not.

    October 24, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  3. Jim

    This guys a lunatic and seriously doesn't reflect Romney's position. I'm certain the republican's could find a far left lunatic to use as an identifier but chose not to.

    October 24, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  4. womenvote

    This Woman is voting for Obama.

    October 24, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  5. icharliem

    It's no wonder we've fallen behind other countries in science when our own representatives hold opinions so adverse to even logic. I was a person of faith until I realized the rationalization of heinous crimes against individuals. By Mr. Mourdock's beliefs, genocide, mass starvation and the like are God's will as well. What utter drivel.

    October 24, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  6. BLKMANinAmerica

    ""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."............................SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO clearly since that is the game repuks are playing WHY on earth blame someone else who doesn't believe in what you saying is true? GROW up repuks and stop your double standards. Don't HATE on the players HATE the game or get the heck outta of it alredady, your NOT going to have it both ways stupid!

    October 24, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  7. georgie

    This dudes comment makes the one made by Akin (from Missouri) a couple of months ago seem intelligent.

    October 24, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  8. jp

    Mr. Mourdock says that people "twisting" his words to instigate partisan attacks is exactly what is wrong with Washington. I disagree, people are not twisting his words – he said what he meant and further reiterated it. In this istance what is more wrong with Washington are nut jobs like Mr. Mourdock legislating their disgusting faith based beliefs onto the rest of us.

    October 24, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  9. ari

    it is scary that many people in our nation agree with him. we have not left the dark ages.

    October 24, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  10. MB

    It doesn't matter what he says, if the pregnancy is gods plan...how can the rape not be gods plan then? The baby needs to get the somehow. The consequence can't be god’s plan, while the antecedent is not.

    If god made the plan for everyone in their life, how can when bad things happen to people according to the plan...it's not gods fault? Unless the person has a mental difficentcy itcannot happen that way.

    October 24, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  11. Tommy

    If Senator Richard Murdoch raped a staffer and impregnated her, would you call that a gift from God? If the logic is God's responsible for all that happens, then the responsibility for all evil that happens should be laid at God's door. The Senator's statement is going to be encouragement for all rapists........whats to stop them from calling the rape itself a "gift of God" if it leads to pregnancy? And now Senator Murdoch wants to blame others for twisting his statement??

    October 24, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. resawven

    word association

    voter fraud
    voter supression
    voter intimidation
    rape pregnancies

    If you answered GOP to all of these you are a sane and rational human being who will vote Obama in November.

    October 24, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. Page


    October 24, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  14. y22nxdf2

    "If you Vote GOP you get ALL three, guns anywhere, anytime with large capacity magazines with no regulation or training required at the federal level , loss of separation of church and state in ALL national issue and an open door to mulitinationals and the top earners in America having a different set of economic rules to live by than the average citizen"

    Agree. You will also get a new variety of rapists who feel they are following the will of God.

    October 24, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  15. Andrew

    If you believe in God, then, while God may not cause all things to happen, He does allow them to happen. But...He allows these things to happen for a reason, and while the bad does occur; let's not forget that good that happens as well. I would not blame the act of a sick, evil, rapist as the Will of God. The rapist is the one that commited the crime, let us make that clear. We have the right to choose, which means we have the capability to choose evil.

    October 24, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  16. Naota

    If a woman has been raped, why would you want to punish the baby?

    That's just sick.

    Wouldn't it be better to punish the rapist?

    October 24, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  17. OdysseusV

    The Apostle James clearly states with evil things God can not be tried nor does He himself try anyone! That clearly shows God is not to blame nor does He sanction Rape which is a form of evil! Nor is it part of His divine plan that one of His children hurt another of His children. This only happens because humans have chosen to live outside God's laws and God is allowing a time period to prove exactly how foolish that course is. So when so called Christians blame God they are obviously doing the work of His Archenemy Satan!

    October 24, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  18. AverageMike

    GOP confirms that women are walking wombs. Nothing more.

    October 24, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  19. N. Shapiro

    one method, the "Cup" is prohibited, nothing else. These, anti-abortion and anti-birth cntrol issues are phony issues, made up to avoid discussion of real issues, they a re based o a PAGAN idea of the existence of "souls", in pagan terms.
    This candidate , if he had a stroke, would want a Doctor, not submit to his diatorted view of the "will of God".
    His agument is BS, and actually blasphemous!!.

    October 24, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  20. Ferret out the BS

    It is unfortunate that politics brings out the real wackos and we put our trust in them to represent us, all of us. This gy sounds like he needs some serious therapy and medications.

    October 24, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. Mark

    Hi Richard. I'm Ann Coulter. You're a retard.

    October 24, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  22. Phyllis G Williams

    Pregnancies from rape cannot be God's will, but He is Almighty and can turn all evil into good as He did for Ruth, the Moabitess.

    October 24, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  23. sourshoes

    He is insane. He has the 1,000 stare. So if a woman is raped and does not get pregnant then God didnt want it, but if she gets pregnant then it was ok with the big man upstairs?

    October 24, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  24. pistoff2

    We have gay parades all over the country which believe it or not, a lot of us are offended by. The media is all for it. A man speaks of what his faith entails, and the media is all over it.

    October 24, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  25. Zobby

    Stuff like this is why the GOP's base has been progressively declining. People get tired of hearing moronic garbage like this come from their mouths.

    October 24, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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