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. wackemnow

    Yes, and when someone puts a 2 x 4 up this idiot's A S S, that's god's will too. Let god's will be done.

    October 24, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  2. chill

    That's right Indiana Republicans, you have nominated a blithering idiot who claims rape is a gift from God. Maybe next he'll be nominating the rapist for sainthood. This compared to Dick Lugar. What were you thinking?

    October 24, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  3. Tom

    I guess that means the rape was God's will too, so we clearly shouldn't classify it as a crime.

    October 24, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  4. Lokka

    Oh yeah? Then murder, mass killings and bombings should also be "GOD'S WILL"! Isn’t that so you genius? Are you a Jihadist of some sort? Are you special? do you need anything?

    October 24, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  5. Ozzie

    How do these people even make it to the election? Surely the good people of Indiana, as well as Missouri, don't believe the stuff the candidates spew out.

    October 24, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  6. Patricia Hecker

    What a disgrace to Indiana.

    October 24, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  7. Sandy

    People, this is the type of people that will be in power should Romney/Ryan get elected! Ryan is one of these people who opposes abortion in ALL CASES! It doesn't matter that Romney says he is for abortion in cases of rape, incest and life of the mother, if a republican congress passes a law outlawing abortion in all cases, you bet Romney will sign it. He already admitted he would appoint judges to overturn Roe v. Wade. PLEASE DON'T LET THESE PEOPLE RUN OUR COUNTRY!! And what gives these men the right to tell women that because THEY as men don't believe in abortion in some cases, the right to tell women they have to believe what the men believe? LEAVE WOMEN ALONE!

    October 24, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  8. Mark H.

    Apparently my post was disagreeable and failed to appear

    October 24, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  9. Danny

    So if the child of a rape is god's will, then the rape also must be God's will.

    Just another 60+ yr old white man who thinks he knows what is best for all women!!!!

    October 24, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  10. The GOP need to pack up and leave

    This is proof that the GOP not only want to destroy our educational system, they don't believe in using it themselves. This idiot has NO idea how biology works. This is the type of people Americans are voting into office? Is that why the GOP want education squashed? So the uneducated people will vote for those who are this stupid?

    October 24, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  11. John Stevens

    The Catholic God has a good deal going. They say in the mass about God "from whom all good things come." So by definition, everything good comes from God and everything bad from Satan I guess. That's kind of the way Republicans view themselves in comparison to Democrats.

    October 24, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  12. mattindc

    Those Republicans just don't get it....so this cat Murdock actually beleives when a women gets raped and pregnant she should be GLAD because it was meant to be.

    Hahaha leave it to the Republicans to spin rape into a blessing!!!
    What a joke!

    October 24, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  13. Sandy

    Oh, and Romney endorsed this guy! He said he doesn't agree with his statement, but he still endorses him.

    October 24, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  14. Michael

    I am a male conservative and find this so sickening I can barely read the entire article. Mourdock does not represent me as a Republican. He and his views are embarrassing. Rape is a heinous crime regardless of the outcome that comes from it. It is not a gift on any level. I am wondering if it happened to someone in his family if he would have the same views. People with these views should in no way have any position to lead our country in any way. Plain sick and twisted. How in the hell are these old men able to stay in power. There views are archaic and not the views of most of us in the country

    October 24, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  15. Rio

    You need to post the news that ROMNEY ENDORSED this guy in a video ad like twomdays ago!

    October 24, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  16. jay

    People become foolish when they stick to the teachings of one book. They find ways to say something stupid instead of just correcting themselves.This old turd must be shown the door to oblivion.

    October 24, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  17. james pfeiffer

    The craziest and most incomprehensible thing is that human beings as stupid and dumbfounding as Mourdock exist. Not only does he exist, he is a politician...which means that he has a relative legion of neanderthals who elect him. What on earth are we becoming? Our society is like a petrie dish cultivating a new strain of dimwits, bigots, crazed evangelicals and just mean-spirited monsters.

    October 24, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  18. Timbuck2

    I would like to know what coma did these men awaken from and where in the hell were they while they were unconscious...they need medical attention immediatley! Did they find them in a cave somewhere?

    October 24, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  19. Joe The Plumber

    When this squirrel loses – I think it is something God intended to happen. These Retro Republicans desrve to lose when they put up a nut cases like Murdock and Akin. I didn't use to believe all th talk about the Riepublican War On Women but now I am hearing it for myself – these bozos have women issues. Hope their mothers smack the crab out of them.

    October 24, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  20. gmenfan54

    Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin must be buddies.

    October 24, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  21. Rick

    Way to go GOP!

    October 24, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  22. Satch99

    Maybe he would feel different if his wife and daughters were raped and forced to carry the psychological scars of knowing everytime they looked thier baby she had to relive that rape abuse and trauam.

    Your right-wing party makes make me sick. The least compassionate people forcing their idiotic, fairytale religion on everyone. Since you love to force people what do (why you cry about freedom), how about, since "turnabout is fair-play" (as the saying goes), we force all of you pro-lifers to sign a list and force you to adopt and pay for all those babies you force people to have because of your religion.... otherwise shut the eff up.

    Man I am sick of you religious people. You all would be Muslim if you were born in the Mid-East, or Hindu if India, or Budhist if born in East Asia. Your lack of the most basic understanding of even this SIMPLE logic is what is destroying this world.

    Possible News Story if your party wins: Republican/Tea Party starts forced religious schooling, wiping out the 1st Amendment. Taliban and Al Qaeda share weapons and tactics on how to KKKill non-believers.

    October 24, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  23. mattindc

    hahahaha....Good ol'Republicans spinning rape into a blessing from God. So let me get this straight: When a woman is raped and gets pregnant she should feel BLESSED & FORTUNATE?
    What a joke.

    October 24, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  24. dondondon

    So god is in favor of rape ? I guess the christian whacko's and the islamic whacko's have more in common than they think.

    October 24, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  25. Rick

    The Republicans have proven that time travel is possible. The only way to explain the stupid comments that a couple of them made this year on the campaign trail is that the party leadership travelled back in time to the 15th century and brought back politicians. How else is it possible that people actually believe that pregnancy from rape is god's will? By extension then, if a person dies from a gunshot wound to the head, that person's death is also god's will?
    Is it possible that these people REALLY believe the poison they spew? If they do then there is no place in our government for them, on the left or the right. Use some common sense people. Take your heads out of the sand and take a look around. You'll be amazed at what's been happening for the past three or four hundred years. We have horseless carriages and airplanes and some people even think we've been to the moon. Which is a lot more plausible than what you suggest.

    October 24, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
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