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. charles

    Wow.. this guy makes Akin sound like a right to choose candidate.

    October 24, 2012 03:18 am at 3:18 am |
  2. Names Lucille

    So when people murder people... That's gods will? Then dang I'm scared

    October 24, 2012 03:19 am at 3:19 am |
  3. Holly

    Judges 21:10-24 NLT
    Numbers 31:7-18 NLT
    Deuteronomy 20:10-14
    Deuteronomy 22:28-29 NLT
    Deuteronomy 22:23-24 NAB
    2 Samuel 12:11-14 NAB
    Deuteronomy 21:10-14 NAB
    Judges 5:30 NAB
    Exodus 21:7-11 NLT
    Exodus 21:7-11 NLT
    Zechariah 14:1-2 NAB
    Zechariah 14:1-2 NAB

    October 24, 2012 03:24 am at 3:24 am |
  4. CarolO

    Another Tea Party radical fanatic. I wish the Republicans would take their Party back.

    October 24, 2012 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  5. Holly

    Numbers 5:11-21
    Numbers 31:17
    Hosea 13:16
    2 Kings 15:16

    October 24, 2012 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  6. ib42

    There are people who actually vote for this jerk, and his party? What the hell is going on here?

    October 24, 2012 03:31 am at 3:31 am |
  7. Anonymous

    Religion is a crutch for a weak mind... stupidest dumbest most moronic idiots will only believe in this crap... what an IDIOT!! FIRE HIM!!!!

    October 24, 2012 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  8. Name Dovid

    Like the Republican state senator inWa. State who wanted to terminate child protection laws, this is depraved. When it gets down to the lives of rre people who are on the you know what end of the stick Republicqms just do not care. This is both nihlisticqnd sociopathic.

    October 24, 2012 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  9. Vietvet

    Before Mr. Mourdock can say anything is God's will he has to say whose God he is talking about: the one he was brought up to believe in?; the one Muslims are brought up to believe in; the one Jews are brought up to believe in?;the one Buddhists are brought up to believe in?; the ones Hindus are brought up to believe in? And, if he chooses the one he was brought up to believe in how does he know he exists other than by what he has been indoctrinated to believe all his life?

    October 24, 2012 03:36 am at 3:36 am |
  10. Carolyn

    How in the world can anybody be that stupid? I am a Hoosier and republican and I will tell you this, I am not voting for him.

    October 24, 2012 03:37 am at 3:37 am |
  11. merrel

    they walk among us

    October 24, 2012 03:42 am at 3:42 am |
  12. Mr. T. Bag

    Yet, Mourdock would allow for exceptions to an abortion ban when a mother's life is in danger...
    Wait, what??

    But if a mother's life is in danger, isn't that just God's way of punishing that mother for obviously being a sinner? SO Mourdock is opposing the will of God to allow a rapist's love-child to punish a sinning trollop... Shame on Mourdock for opposing God's plan!
    [end sarcasm]

    Let's remind the Christian-Taliban to clarify their position on God’s will...

    October 24, 2012 03:43 am at 3:43 am |
  13. f4xtrafn

    And who says there's no such thing as the American Taliban. These lunatics still beleive and witches and burn then at the stake if we gave them the chance. And if you think that's not possible, a number of people accused of sourcery were executed last year in Iran. These candidates are espousing the same kind of 17th century religious exrtemism as those murderous mullah's in these backward Islamic dictatorships. And they're represented right here, disguised in three piece suits. What a disgrace.

    October 24, 2012 03:43 am at 3:43 am |
  14. gaunt

    If preganancy by rape is 'God's will' then you cannot escape from the fact that logically, the rape must also be god's will.

    October 24, 2012 03:46 am at 3:46 am |
  15. NameJW

    Do I need to say more,if it one thing,and only I'm guilty of being against is too much ignorance,and the republican,look like a party,of devil. Serving money,power,and the devil.

    October 24, 2012 03:47 am at 3:47 am |
  16. Leslie Ann Warren

    God Bless Us.. Obama & Biden 2012 In Jesus Name!!

    October 24, 2012 03:49 am at 3:49 am |
  17. postedbygeorge

    An other middleastern worship-per?.

    October 24, 2012 03:50 am at 3:50 am |
  18. john ibua

    abortion is forebinen in the sight of God, also rape is a sin againt God and man. should we be sentiment in matters.

    October 24, 2012 03:52 am at 3:52 am |
  19. MSL58

    Your loss in the senate race will be GOd's will, too.

    October 24, 2012 03:56 am at 3:56 am |
  20. Benjamin

    How can so many idiots get elected? Dear lord, folks. Regardless of what you think about when life begins, these people are outright lying or making nonsense up on the spot without one iota of remorse!

    October 24, 2012 03:56 am at 3:56 am |
  21. andy55

    This clearly is a person that cannot seperate his personal religion from his political decisions.
    He would only be able to represent people of his religion and therefor he should not represent the people.

    October 24, 2012 03:57 am at 3:57 am |
  22. Dwayne

    It is extremely sad that Richard Murdock a human with such a poor intellect is a leader in this modern world.

    October 24, 2012 04:00 am at 4:00 am |
  23. Edwardo

    Yet again, religious ideology defends an immoral act!

    October 24, 2012 04:00 am at 4:00 am |
  24. God help us!

    I am a pro life, and believe in the creative power of God. However, the issue of conception as a result of rape should be left to the discretion of the individual who was raped. If you have not been raped before, don't be quick to decide for those who have been through it. Please republicans, don't be too quick to condemn others. Deal with the skeletons in your own lives first before you try to be the morality police of others.

    October 24, 2012 04:03 am at 4:03 am |
  25. Hugh Mann

    God wants you to be RAPED,,and the GOP wants to watch...

    October 24, 2012 04:06 am at 4:06 am |
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