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. sarge

    This is sick and deserves immediate condemnation by the GOP. Mitt should withdraw his endorsement!

    October 24, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. Irish

    OMG is this man for real? I really have nothing to say other than wow! And he is suppose to be eudcated? Using religion to diminish the result of rape. OMG

    October 24, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  3. Name

    The Repubicans don.t even know at this point their own policies anymore, if they are for or against, if romney is their candidate or not, from what I've seen in romney he himself is not sure, vote Obama and get it over with romney.

    October 24, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  4. pjb

    If there was a God, then life caused by rape surely would not be a supernatural being's intent. Since there is NO God, we get contorted statements like this, ugh. Life created by non-mutual consent, rape, is clearly grounds for abortion...an individual's choice,not a politician's or a clergy...

    October 24, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  5. biglio

    So the Gopers of Indiana sacked Lugar (one of the few republicans you could talk inttelligently with) for this nutcase?
    And those people risk running the nation?
    Un freaking believable.....

    October 24, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  6. Les

    Such mindlessness speaks for itself, there's really nothing more to add....

    October 24, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  7. joe

    Everything that happens is god's will? Huh? Your dog poops in the house. God's will? Every little fender bender. God's will? Huh?

    October 24, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  8. trigun

    Brothers and sisters, if you call yourselves Christians then you must agree to the fact that abortion is murder in all sense of it. God has a plan for each child that is born and had a plan for those that were killed. Abortion is an abomination in the eyes of God and although the act of rape is sinister and wrong in all regards, killing the baby isn't right either. We as a people are so removed from Christ and his word that I wouldn't doubt it being illegal to profess christianity in the future. God bless you all.

    October 24, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  9. JG WG

    Another great comment comment coming from the same guy who said on TV "To Me, The Highlight Of Politics Frankly Is To Inflict My Opinion On Someone Else.” His views on bipartisanship are also..."bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view."

    October 24, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  10. eric stanway

    "There is no Devil; just God when he's drunk." - Tom Waits

    October 24, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  11. Ozzie

    Who is this MORRON, How he would feel if something like that happen to a menber of his family? Tell that to a victim of rape you MORRON. Nobody should vote for this Idiot.

    October 24, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  12. momknows123

    I keep hearing this guy saying people are twisting his words. His words need no twisting,they speak loud and clear. This man is sick in the head. Anyone who agrees with his words is sick in the head. God should have nothing to do with these decisions, only women, who know better than any man or god what is best for them.

    October 24, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  13. C.G.

    Men, taking charge of woman's body's, laying claim to their womb's and offspring ... hmmm, hasn't that been what men do who want to take another man's property? They have "re-branded" this practice, now its' called "right to life", all in the name of God. God make's life they claim, well, metaphorically, their claiming that THEY are God then. Men rape woman, steal from them the safety, trust, belief woman have built ,and leave fear, rage, destruction of safety, PLUS, the fruit of the violence, a new-born, perhaps UN-wanted, UN-loved, reminder of the violence inflicted, the life STOLEN. Now, that seems like a recipe for happy ever after, doesn't it? Only to men who pretend to BE God, that way keeping alive the lie for another generation! Job done, .... or "mission accomplished"!

    October 24, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  14. SoSad

    Why do you woman voters, continue to vote for a Republican candidate that fails you. Remember what Romney says, on day 1, I will repeal Obamacare, I will repeal funding for Planned Parenthood, I will seek and destroy Roe vs. Wade and more. So my point is, its your body, why do you let old white men dictate to YOU!

    October 24, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  15. TRH

    It is beyond my comprehension how any thinking human being (let alone enough to support the massive fundraising efforts required to run for office these days) could not immediately dismiss someone like this as a wacko.

    I'm a Christian. I take a LOT of things on "faith" that cannot be proven. But this kind of sick twisted erroneous thinking is so unbelievably messed up. Our society needs to put an end to people like this in ANY elected office.

    October 24, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |

    Wow, Wow, Wow,Rapists of the World God gave you permission to go and go and go..... and Rape any woman you want and you will be blessed by God, according with Richard Mourdock, running for U.S. Senate in Indiana in his own words he said " I struggled with it myself for a long time, and I realized that life is a gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of Rape, that it is something God intended to happen," Mourdock said ".
    This is the most aberrant and Horrible stament I ever heard in my life come out from the mouth of an American Zitizen running for a gobernment position and by the way, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney
    has also appeared in a television ad for Mourdock.

    October 24, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  17. Anonymous

    Somebody Please give this man some Jim Jone's Juice to take him out of his misery.

    October 24, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  18. Tony

    This is what you get when you pander to special interests to gain votes. The Republican Party accepted the religious right into their midst gain extra votes, this is the result. They accepted the Tea Party into their ranks, now we have gridlock to the point that disagreement over minor issues (debt ceiling) results in an embarassing episode for the entire county.

    We have really got to spend more time focusing on our elected officials in this country. Turn of the TV and invest a more of your time in something that actually makes a difference in your life.

    October 24, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  19. Brenda Denw

    Richard Mourdocd & Romney should be judged with the Rapist. When was the last time they were raped or fought for their life. Rape or unwanted pregnant is not a gift from God. We all will be judged by GOD, not stupid minded men.

    October 24, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  20. SoSad

    LAR5, excellent point. Republican woman are the Stepford Wives of the 21st Century!

    October 24, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  21. Sam

    You'll loose your senate race big time. Consider it God's will.

    October 24, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  22. LC

    Hmm...so if a 12 year old is raped repeatedly a family member or neighbor, and she becomes pregnant...that's a gift from God? It's God's will? God doesn't want us to suffer, he doesn't want people to be raped, and he doesn't want a rape to result in pregnancy. It's not a joyous event. It's devestating. Any rape is devestating. So sick of male political figures sticking their noses where they don't belong. They've got no place commenting on a woman's or a CHILD's..... reproductive rights.

    October 24, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  23. Vader

    And there you go... theocracy at its "finest".

    October 24, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  24. skeptik2

    Mourdock's problem is that he's believing in a supreme being who allows rape, and loving, caring gods aren't supposed to allow that. And how do you reconcile believing in a loving god who allows rape that doesn't result in a child, especially the rape of young boys by priests inside of His church. No wonder Mourdock's conflicted.

    October 24, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  25. GB

    Repubs need to realize that their views of morals in society should not affect the areas they're serving. They should make choices for what's best for America, not for what they think America should be based on their religious views. Maybe they should go practice politics in the Middle East, where theocracy is the way of politics. Leave church out of State. No theocracy for America.

    October 24, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
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