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. werescrewed2012

    I wonder how all the facist gop morons would feel if someone gave they're wife or daughter a "gift from god" I bet they would change the tune.

    October 24, 2012 05:34 am at 5:34 am |
  2. Mosesthejew


    October 24, 2012 05:35 am at 5:35 am |
  3. Here we go...

    At least this guy has the courage and integrity to say what he believes - a commodity in MUCH shorter supply in Washington than looney-tunes-nut-case stupidity. I believe he is incorrect, as I don't think there is a God that has a will, and I don't think women that have been raped should be forced to have the baby. But I give the guy high marks for standing up for what he believes (abortion is murder... it's not the baby's fault his dad is rapist) and having the courage to face the flame thrower of outrage that he is surely walking into.

    October 24, 2012 05:35 am at 5:35 am |
  4. josh rogen

    some people think everything is god's will, and as long as they don't succeed in forcing that view on those of us that don't believe in such nonsense. I don't have a problem with it. they have the right to express their opinion and argue their case same as anyone else. what i don't like is when people try to paint everyone that disagrees with them with the same broad brush. there are extremist in all parties. and I for one am tired of media stereotypes

    October 24, 2012 05:35 am at 5:35 am |
  5. Sally

    Continuously Republicans embarrass everyone by their ignorant and backwards remarks! He should be ashamed and removed from any type of public office.

    October 24, 2012 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
  6. Stunned

    Where do the GOP get these.....................creatures!?!?!?!?! This one is so psychotic I can't believe he is trying to get a job running this country!?!?!? AND HOW CAN ANY, A-N-Y, WOMAN VOTE FOR THESE LUNATICS!?!?! What is this world and this country coming to?

    October 24, 2012 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
  7. nemo0037

    Um - how is reading your words with comprehension "twisting your meaning," Mr. Murdock? You said that if a woman conceives as a result of rape, it was God's will. How could God decide to create a baby through rape without wanting the rape to happen?

    October 24, 2012 05:37 am at 5:37 am |
  8. observer

    It's frightening how people with such limited outlooks are able to make it so far in politics. America has an important decision to make in many areas, does the world continue to move forward, or will it be held back? Will free thinking and freedom become infringled upon once again? Does religion have a place in politics? These extremists can be considered, in my opinion, the American version of the Taliban. Really, it is frightening. Get out and vote everyone, and vote what you truly believe. The result will be what America deserves. The rest of the world will just have to put up with whatever the decision is. We dealt with 8 years of the GOP that left your economy devistated and forever tarnished the American image abroad. Vote wisely people.

    October 24, 2012 05:37 am at 5:37 am |
  9. Gordon

    Since God brings life, he also ends it. A church bus crash that kills a bunch of kids must be his will also. Why even bother trying to make things safe? If it's your time, it's your time. If it's not your time, God will make sure you stay safe.

    It's hard to believe that here in the 19th century, people who make laws believe tripe like this. Oh wait, it's the 21st century, not the 19th!

    October 24, 2012 05:37 am at 5:37 am |
  10. MarkinFL

    What a sick little monkey. Any god that would purposely burden a girl with her rapist's baby is worse than any devil. Anyone that love's such a god is beneath contempt.
    Anyone that votes for this man has my complete contempt.

    October 24, 2012 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  11. Doug

    There is no way a man who thinks this type of crap should be in out senate.. What is wrong with the people who vote for this freak ??? What.. What... What ?

    October 24, 2012 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  12. Chrispix

    Mourdoch, you are way-layed.......rape is evil, and this world not perfect--you would 1st have to say God caused the
    rape, so He could "cause" another life....and that's ok-thereby taking a moral choice away from the rapist-then why prosecute – etc-etc-etc......(and yes I am a Christian-I KNOW God does not approve of violence-got it ?)

    October 24, 2012 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  13. Dave

    The things that people say in the name of religion are beyond me. God does NOT want women to have a constant reminder of the horrible rape that they have endured. If there truly is a God then he would make the woman FORGET not be reminded of it every day for the rest of her life. I'll bet this yahoo also believes the world was created in 6-24 hour days, and the universe is only 10,000 years old. People use religion to explain things when they can't understand science!

    October 24, 2012 05:39 am at 5:39 am |
  14. firewall

    sick mofo

    October 24, 2012 05:39 am at 5:39 am |
  15. anne

    with the GOP trying to get in power it will put us back in the middle ages or worse.

    October 24, 2012 05:39 am at 5:39 am |
  16. DDanny1

    Also, if a hurricaine kills thousands of people than those people were wicked and deserved to die because the Tea Party God is a jealous and vengeful God who will smite down those who do not believe and follow the teachings of the Tea Party, as begat by modern day prophets who dress in white robes and hoods and burn crosses so that the heathens that God has marked with darkened skin know they are here to serve their masters.
    Darn but I miss the dark ages.

    October 24, 2012 05:40 am at 5:40 am |
  17. zolman

    This man is an embarrassment to Indiana, but he shows the true colors of conservative “Tea Party” Republicans in Indiana. A vote for Mourdock is a vote to go back to the Medieval Dark Ages. It is hard to believe the man is educated. Abortion is not the only issue that Mourdock holds radical beliefs.

    October 24, 2012 05:40 am at 5:40 am |
  18. james

    lol, I find it it funny when a Christian is honest about what an omnipotent god implies about human suffering then the rest of the christian community gets mad at them.

    October 24, 2012 05:40 am at 5:40 am |
  19. Grahame Rhodes

    Poor God Gets blamed for everything. These Republican losers/posers can never make a decision without checking with God first to see if it's OK. They are pathetic. Romney is just the same, better check with God to see if he approves. The bible was written by men...HELLO

    October 24, 2012 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  20. jungleboo

    OK, I'll take the bait and be a first responder. If that GOP line of "legitimate rape" and "legitimate pregnancy" is valid, then we can take it one simple step further: My decision to abort the pregnancy is God's will also. Who are you to tell me it is not? God?

    October 24, 2012 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  21. Doug

    Once creeps like this guy read what they have said they always seem to back peddle.. But you know bud, this is what you think.. So here's what I think, the most evil force on this planet is religion and God..

    October 24, 2012 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  22. ANon

    Well isn't god nice!

    October 24, 2012 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  23. danita

    I am so sick and tired of abortion issues... This is a personal problem and men should keep their nose out of it... Also women should pay for their abortion as this is not a tax payer issue. Otherwise we would not have so many single young mothers with kids without a job and a father to support the kids... Most women will not have an abortion in there life.

    October 24, 2012 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  24. Kanwarjeet

    Richard, millions of sperm and you are the one who made it to the egg! That is the irony not the gift.

    October 24, 2012 05:43 am at 5:43 am |
  25. Doctah

    I'm sure all of these Repubs follow all of the Christian rules and never lie, cheat, or steal, so obviously they know what's right for a woman. I like how Mourdock was "struggling" with the issue. Puh-leeze. Worry about more important things like education, economy, and how to make this country great again. If you vote republican, you are voting for a regression in society, not progression.

    October 24, 2012 05:43 am at 5:43 am |
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