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. Paul from Texas

    As a Christian, this statement offends me. If you use pure logic then if the effect of rape, a pregnancy, is God's will then the cause , the rape, also has to be God's will because if she weren't raped she wouldn't be pregnant at that time.

    It's a good thing that he believes in God because I sure that God does not believe in him.

    This kind of statement makes Christians look bad.

    October 24, 2012 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  2. jpip

    If he's such a proponent of "God's Plan", then why grant an abortion in instances where the mother's life is in danger? Obviously, it's "God's Plan" that the baby live and the mother die. Can't mess with "God's Plan". Come on man, if you're going to ride the stupid train, ride it to the end of the line, don't jump off early.

    October 24, 2012 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  3. Dan Barr

    LUKE ?..LOL.. sorry Luke I ment to say LUCK.............

    October 24, 2012 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  4. acheptler

    Just good common American sense.

    October 24, 2012 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  5. Sunyata

    That's what I love about religion – it completely messes with your mind.

    October 24, 2012 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  6. rick1948

    He'll be OK with that right up until it's his 11 year old daughter who got raped. Of course, this is your standard Republican thinking, so why should anybody be surprised.

    October 24, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  7. Jude

    THIS kind of crap is what Americans can look forward to if the Republicans are elected!!! The attack on women's rights will be vicious, swift and complete. Take your shoes off, girls, because you will be barefoot and pregnant and dragged around by the hair by these rednecks!!!!!

    October 24, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  8. Penelope Evans

    Soaccording to him, young girls who are tape victims must be forced to carry a child. I hope he has a financial plan to support the mother and child . A. GOP fund to support all these children born in through rape and incest. Also a fund to support all the children who for some reason will need are all their lives.

    October 24, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  9. mark

    This a=@# ought to be kicked out . .

    October 24, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  10. reader

    He was talking about others wives and daughters, not his.

    October 24, 2012 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  11. topconservative

    I wonder if his comments would be any different if he was a muslim. You christians don't realize how much you have in common with them.

    October 24, 2012 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  12. TomInRochNY

    So many religious contradictions, so little time to point them out. What is a sane person to do? Believe in God, but not religion. The two have nothing to do with each other.

    October 24, 2012 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  13. Boyamidumb

    Why I love religious fanatics.

    October 24, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  14. Vote for Seamus, elect Kolob's next dog catcher

    Voting for Bishop Romney for POTUS is voting for this Republican way of life.

    Voting for Romney is an endorsement for the wingnuts.

    Having dinner last night I was asked what country I would move to if Romney lost, causing a riots and the collapse of the United States, so I must escape. I told them Republistan is the RIGHT place for this exodus, Newt can be emperor king, the Coulter-Palin-Bachman medusa can be erd queen, Romney as bishop of course, santorum as gallant knight, trump as castle, Cain-akin-geogiaMDwingnut-theAboveNutcase and the cast of millions as pawns. If Romney looses I will guard my home I Texas with tactical nukes.

    October 24, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  15. Peter

    First Todd Aiken, now this guy.

    Have certain members of the GOP lost their minds allowing people like this to run as representatives of their party?

    This is crazy.

    October 24, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  16. Chris

    What a fool!

    October 24, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  17. OIFvet

    I'm surprised this knuckle-dragger can even tie his shoes, much less run for Senate. You Sir, are a national embarrassment.

    October 24, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  18. Chuck Hunt

    I am not anti abortion ; yet , mr Walsh's comment is accurate.

    October 24, 2012 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  19. david shoup

    This can only mean God endorses rape and rape is a gift? Is this man sane? Is there something deeper in these candidates' messages. Maybe a plan to r- America

    October 24, 2012 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  20. Anonymous

    people that believe in God probably believe that the world is still flat..... because that's what the people believed at the time their books were written..... move on people.

    October 24, 2012 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  21. antoinette

    Put these stupid candidates through at least 10 hours of laborpains, maybe they'll get the idea what a woman has to go through when she puts a child into this world. There are muscle contractors that mimick these pains. Would'nt it be wonderful if men subject themselves to that test before they subject women to laws that take away their right to choose? God also gives women a Choice to have children or not, just as he gives men the choice to rape or not.
    To even consider voting for this guy is preposterous especially when you are a woman!!!!

    October 24, 2012 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  22. Khaine

    So when I kill you, I can say it was gods will and then cite all the religious rhetoric and go free?

    I find it funny religious people need religion to be good people so they get a reward after death. Thats pretty selfish from an objectivists point of view.

    Just be a good person. Most non-evangelicals follow the teachings of your bible better than most Christians.

    October 24, 2012 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  23. Sandra

    This is sick. If my 12,13 or 14 year old daughter is raped and becomes pregnant, then it is god's will? Why would god want a child to be raped and/or beaten? Why would god want to rush a child into being a woman when it will change who she is and could become as an adult? Anyone who feels this way is just plain stupid. 90% of religious people preach their religion but DO NOT live by it. 90% hypocrites. Take these religious hypocrites, build a 40 foot wall and make them all live together in a community. We'll see then how great their "religion" works when they have rape, incest, molesting, no women' rights or strong religious gov't to help them. All the medicine that's been created through modern times will be kept on the other side of the wall, where the smart people who DO believe in god but choose, smartly, to read between the lines of the HUMAN-written bible, will keep our wonderful medicines to ourselves. Plan B pill? I'll keep that.... and they can tell their pregnant-through-rape 12yr old daughter that god would send her to hell if she swallowed it. I think she'd choose to climb the wall.

    October 24, 2012 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  24. Chuck Hunt

    As to mr Mourdock statement, some opinions should be kept to ourselves, wheather they're true or not.

    October 24, 2012 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  25. Luetta Beninghaus

    Where do these idiots come from? All these quotes about God,wonder whose God they are talking about? It seems that science is "doomed" with people like this in our government.

    October 24, 2012 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
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