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. kiwisepp

    this is an insult to God

    October 24, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. RAWoD

    Let me get this straight: he believes that every conception is the will of his master, a master he believes is all powerful, a master who cannot prevent rape. Sir, your fairy-tale outlook is making you the fool.

    October 24, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  3. JSR

    And it's also God's will that children in Africa are starving I bet. When the population hits 9 billion in 2050 and much of the world is hungry, tell me again that it's God's will. What a HORRIBLE God!

    October 24, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  4. JCMars

    The amount of hate for children and Christians from members of the so-called party of "diversity and inclusion" is amazing. The Democrats – goose-stepping to a rock beat.

    October 24, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Well people this is where we are headed in the US straight to a Theocracy. Unfortunately this guy isn't alone and these are nothing more then weather balloons being sent out to test the waters of public sediment. The GOP will not be happy until every woman, man, and child is oppressed under their moral law.

    October 24, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. Rodeo_Joe

    Ergo, ... Since God created the brain eating amoeba, it is only doing" God's will".

    People have left the Midwest in droves over the past decades. This is why, folks. It's scary.

    October 24, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  7. Mike D

    Ladies, I'm not sure what else you need to hear from the GOP other than "rape pregnancy is the will of God" to sway you. The GOP does not respect women, period. Do as you think best on Nov 6th

    October 24, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  8. laura

    This is why we need to keep faith out of politics. Faith and money have no place in politics in such a diverse country, these people should make laws based on science, objective facts, and logical, unemotional thinking for the benefit of all people. Ethics and morals are one thing, blind religious devotion is another. Your faith is not my faith Mr Mourdock and you have no right to push it on me and the laws that effect me and my health. We women have no choice but to depend on these elected officials for decisions that effect us profoundly. We are being raped by this notion that men like this have our best interests in mind and will be deciding these matters for is. We can vote, but what good is our vote when there are crazy people whose votes carry the same amount of weight? This country will turn out like the Taliban if we keep allowing these religious zealots into the White House.

    October 24, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  9. Joe Blow

    Rape is reprehensible. What no one in the media is talking about, being in polite company and all, is that religious logic, IF APPLIED CONSISTENTLY, justifies rape. If god is all powerful and all knowing he controls everything. If he controls everything and does nothing then he is at least a passive bystander and at most an active participant–in either case he is culpable.

    October 24, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  10. Rio

    It's unfair to bring this personal philosophical question in the political arena. Why would people care what God's will is when they don't believe there's a God anyway..Let it go..his personal faith and belief should not matter. And by the way it is the overall will of God yes but he is not the author of the act. He allows it to happen( and in that way it is the will of God) because all things even things intended for evil, work out for good in the overall grand scheme of God. Have a great day all ya 🙂

    October 24, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. SeemsGood

    Apparently some of you lack the ability to read.

    "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,"

    Now go learn literacy, pass your comprehension tests, and reread the statement before commenting.

    October 24, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. Goose vs Gander

    Other than all the obvious points already made, why is it when something suits the socially conservative agenda it's "God's will" and when it doesn't it's a "henious crime"? If pregnancies by rape were "intended by god" why would the logic not run that the RAPE was "intended by god"? Thereby absolving the criminal? Try finding good clipart to sell that to the average voter!

    October 24, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. Damian X

    Murdoch is a repulsive person. What if he was raped.........is that god's will too? Thought not.

    October 24, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. demsrule

    The root of GOP belief system. Their pretense in religious matters (I am a Christian by the way) tend to make their true agendas rise to the surface. Some Republicans believe that abortion should be criminal and result in the death penalty for the mother. These are the same mentalities held by religious southerners who advocated slavery and the inhumane treatment of the American Indians as lead by Andrew Jackson.

    October 24, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  15. Billy in NYC

    Get rid of all GOPs in congress and let the GOP party start over with new people who are not stupid and understand the 99% of the American people. Another proof of the deep decline of the qaulity of the elected officials and GOP candidates in this election cycle. There is no place for cave men mentailty exists in Washington.

    October 24, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  16. doodlebug2222

    I remember reading long ago – people speculated in the distant future, women would be forced to conceive > and the newborn babies would be given to the wealthy, to spare them from the process.

    I have to wonder if these notions are a segway into that...

    October 24, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. guyfromla

    The only Senate candidate Romney endorsed was RICHARD MURDOCH...

    October 24, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  18. wordlogic

    If god intended the life resulting from a rape, he/she/it then would have also intended the rape...'gods will' and all....

    October 24, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  19. Ken in MD

    Hmmm... "God does not want rape, and by no means was I suggesting that He does." By no means was he suggesting that when he said, "I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen". Yet another wingnut who backtracks on his comments when he says something most people find offensive and disgusting.

    October 24, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  20. Havildar

    It seems that the Republicans running for the Senate are 'under educated' and lack knowledge of Human reproduction. Also it shows a disdain for women whom they consider beneath them republicans feel do not deserve their respect. Of course Romney/Ryan and their Republican election Platform says the same thing. "Abortion can be avoided if contraceptives are used correctly." This is just too much for the Republican puny brain to handle.They only understand personal greed.

    October 24, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  21. S

    Ok, if God does not intend for rapes to happen, then why would God intend for pregancy from rape to happen? They don't even listen to themselves when they speak.

    October 24, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  22. Sylvius

    That's nonsense. If the pregnancy is God's will, isn't the death of the mother also God's will (in cases where her life is at risk)? You can't pick and choose. Either you're the sort of person who believes in a divine plan, or you aren't. You can't just discard that belief when it makes you uncomfortable.

    October 24, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  23. Really?

    Seriously, Indiana? Who votes for these idiots? How much do you want to bet, if he wins the election, we will hear about him sitting on some committee for either science and technology or intelligence. He should be running for pastor, not Senator.

    October 24, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  24. Ashan

    GOP is not for abortions in rape cases; but when the child is born GOP is the first to deny welfare, free child care and other assistance to take care of this child with a single mother!!! Really?! The GOP is full of crap!

    October 24, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  25. kiwisepp

    women, this is what you get from Romney for yourself, your daughter and your granddaughter.

    October 24, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
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