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. Mom-C

    Dear emm, Yes, idiots like this DO represent Republicans as a whole. It's so obvious at this point in history that only a willfully blind fool would deny it. Any intelligent woman who still considers herself a Republican just demonstrates that she loves money and hates young people, old people, the poor, black people, Hispanic people, gay people, smart people and, yes, women more than she loves being a rational and moral human being. When enough of the people in your club demonstrate they and the club are evil, it's time to leave the club. Your brain and your conscience will thank you for it.

    October 24, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. whoCares

    Another republican still in the bark ages

    October 24, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  3. albendia

    We cannot allow a man to state this kind of information, because many others may believe its acceptable! Violence such as Rape against a women is not acceptable. If Richard wants to be rape to prove a point, then let him get rape and see if it violates his belief! God has laws and it is not acceptable to rape a women. He must read his BIBLE

    October 24, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  4. praveen

    Some time I feel like, what is the difference between these Christian religious frenetic and the Muslim religious frenetic (Taliban), only these guys are educated fools.
    If its god’s will, they why not its gods will when the mother’s life is in danger, may be god want her to die giving birth …..Stupid.

    October 24, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  5. Sametestsameresults

    Their is NO line between this mans thinking and the GOP social agenda for America. The GOP coalition is divided like this, economic trickle down conservatives, Religious fundamentalists and Gun supporters for the most part. If you Vote GOP you get ALL three, guns anywhere, anytime with large capacity magazines with no regulation or training required at the federal level , loss of separation of church and state in ALL national issue and an open door to mulitinationals and the top earners in America having a different set of economic rules to live by than the average citizen. Vote GOP and YOU have to accept all of these concepts regardless if you believe in Jesus, dont believe in anything or dont care much this is what you will get. Plain and simple.

    October 24, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  6. enoughsaid

    That any God or Deity would ordain rape is beyond me. That a man is saying this sickens me.

    October 24, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  7. reasonablebe

    what is wrong with this man???? next he will take the stand that it is the victim's fault she was raped-- or maybe he already believes and says that in private, but will make that public.

    and what do you think his position will be if it happens to someone in his family, or someone he knows and loves- ???? suddenly a change, or will he disown them, become estranged???

    what is wrong with people? how can they vote for someone like this???

    October 24, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  8. YoozYerBrain

    Oh by the way, I forgot to mention that W and the repubs DID give us the polarized political scene we have today, thanks in large part to Karl Rove- who proudly takes credit for it by the way. So while you parrot AM radio liars (mostly PROVEN liars like Rush- all there to be researched if you want) and try to destroy America's legacy of vibrant, INCLUSIVE debate, you do the work of people who are proud to undermine our country for their literally parochial interests. Congrats to the right for gutting education and saddling us with a couple of generations of idiots undermining the greatest country in the history of humanity. Nice! As an independant I find you reprehensible and anti-American. Go ahead, try to fight what I say but you'll just sound like Mourdock, Aiken, Walsh, et al. You won't sound like Lincoln that's for sure! I'm disgusted, and I'm done....for NOW!

    October 24, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  9. mike

    People who support these ignorant men have completely lost their sense of thought and compassion. They are content to force a woman who was impregnated by a rapist to carry that child to term and two lives will be ruined: the woman who must carry her rapist's child to birth, and then raise that child as her own – and the child...who will never know love because love was not present at conception. How thoughtless can some people be?!

    October 24, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  10. Captain

    Who ever votes for fools like this. Good – he just killed his career. Self-destructed.

    This is what the last GOP WH did to the world...
    see youtube - CIA Asset Susan Lindauer Can Now Speak 10 years after 9-11.
    Yeah, they lied about everything, and still do. Congress knew, and does nothing. Note Silverstein connection.
    More on VeteransToday

    October 24, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  11. Mike - Alaska

    Wow! The Republicans keep returning to their offensively radical roots....and people are taking notice! What's the difference between the backward religious intolerance displayed by the Republican Party and the Taliban? Both are radical religious fringe with a strong disrespect for women and normal morality. Tea Party types want to kill abortion doctors to protect life, while at the same time promoting the death penalty....they live the life of the perpetual hypocrite!

    October 24, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  12. foxgoodrich

    It's unfortunate that candidate Mourdock has never had the opportunity to practice what he preaches. I abhor rape. I would never wish it on anybody, but this guy needs to understand the error of his thinking. He needs to live the experience of having his 12 or 13 year old daughter or granddaughter impregnated by a rapist. Let him accept that 'gift from God' himself and celebrate it. Perhaps God will help him understand.

    October 24, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  13. SPQR

    Looks like the Republicans gold plated paint is coming of with time.

    October 24, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  14. Caymus

    Great comment until you wrapped it up with a hollow last sentence. You deserve to be a confused Republican.

    October 24, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  15. Keith

    That guy needs to think about changing "Gods" his sucks.

    October 24, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  16. Phattee

    GOP is pro-rape.

    October 24, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  17. apstar

    So much for the separation of church and state. Politics in this nation has been taken over by special interests groups, lobbyist, and people with personal agendas - none which belong in someone representing a large, diverse body of individuals. May as well go back to an absolute monarchy and do away with the whole election process, if things keep moving in this direction. The world must think that many U.S. politicians are as stupid as they come. This is a sad and dangerous situation.

    October 24, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  18. larry from the block

    blessing (Gift) from God brings peace and adds no sorrow...does rape bring peace?.....this guy is high on taliban tea....if romney wins and decides to go to war with iran, or mess up the middle clas....he could also tell you its God's will for the American people

    October 24, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  19. 4moreyears

    He meant it just the way he said it.

    October 24, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  20. RJ1008

    emm, it is people like you who make these GOP leaders proud. I am happy that you choose to stay back in that party. Some people are better fit to live in the darkness.

    October 24, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  21. Caymus

    ....because of course there are no moderate Democrats like you are a moderate Republican.

    October 24, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  22. Lee Ann

    OMG – NOT my God.

    October 24, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  23. Robert

    This is another case of those in the media who are hostile toward God taking something out of context and distorting it, the way a dog chews a bone and distorts the bone. Here is the truth:

    1. Theologians since the time of Abraham have said that God is sovereign over all things and ordains whatever comes to pass. Even the Apostle Paul wrote this in the book of Colossians.

    2. Yet, it is equally true that God is NEVER the author of sin. Let's look at the life of Joseph as an example. Joseph, the son of Jacob was sold into slavery by ten of his brothers. Because of this, Joseph spent most of the next 13 years as a slave or in an Egyptian prison, when someone framed him. Then, years later, Joseph having proved his worth and wisdom by making everything he touched successful and making his excellent character known to everyone who knew him, interpreted a dream for Pharaoh about a coming famine and recommended a plan. As a result, Pharaoh made Joseph the ruler of all Egypt second only to Pharaoh in order that Joseph could implement his plan. Pharaoh said, "there is no one so wise as you Joseph... you are the man I want to rule Egypt under me."

    The outcome of all this was that the entire world was saved by Joseph. But in the interim, everyone had to come to Joseph for food, including his brothers who sold him into slavery. And when they discovered that the ruler of Egypt was their brother, whom they sold, they were terrified of potential revenge. But Joseph said, "be not afraid. You meant it for evil but God meant it for good, that many people might be preserved alive."

    The lesson is, God is sovereign over all things but yet without sin, and God even uses the sinful acts of others for good. In the case a pregnancy by rape, the rape was evil and God was not responsible for it, nor would God ever treat it as anything other than evil and He would always condemn it. But yet God is still sovereign over it and could use it for good. Perhaps that child from the rape would one day grow up to save the world. In any case, ending a pregnancy by abortion means that you have to murder a child, and you've heard it from childhood that "two wrongs never make a right." Well, in this case, two atrocities will not make a right either.

    October 24, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  24. AverageJoe76

    Would an evangelical kill a baby if they believed it to be the anti-christ? Things that make you go, "Hmmmmmmm...."

    October 24, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  25. WhereIsPalin

    This guy just keeps gettin' better.

    October 24, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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