October 24th, 2012
10:36 PM ET
8 years ago

After apology, McCain does support Mourdock, spokesman clarifies

(CNN) - Sen. John McCain's spokesman said Thursday the Arizona Republican is "glad" that U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock of Indiana apologized for his remark that pregnancies caused by rape are intended by God - an apology Mourdock made Wednesday afternoon but that McCain was not aware of in a Wednesday interview on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360."

"Senator McCain was traveling yesterday in Florida and did not have an opportunity to see Mr. Mourdock's full press conference before he taped his CNN interview," McCain's communications director, Brian Rogers, said in a statement. "Senator McCain is glad that Mr. Mourdock apologized to the people of Indiana and clarified his previous statement. Senator McCain hopes the people of Indiana will elect Mr. Mourdock to the U.S. Senate."

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McCain, both a supporter of Mourdock and a high-profile surrogate for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, said in his CNN interview on Wednesday that his support for the candidate and state treasurer was dependent on an apology.

"It depends on what he does," McCain said on "Anderson Cooper 360." He was answering a question about whether he still considered himself in Mourdock's corner after the comments on rape and pregnancy, which came at a debate Tuesday.

"If he apologizes and says he misspoke and he was wrong and asks the people to forgive him, I would be the first," the 2008 presidential nominee said, adding that he had made mistakes and asked for people's forgiveness after owning up to his transgressions.

During the Tuesday debate, 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.

Mourdock did say he was sorry that people had misinterpreted his comments at a news conference earlier Wednesday, but stuck by the crux of his argument that abortions should not be allowed in cases or rape or incest.

"I'm a much more humble person this morning because so many people mistook, twisted, came to misunderstand the points that I was trying to make," Mourdock said.

"I'm confident God abhors violence and rape, if they came away with any impression other than that, I truly regret it," Mourdock continued. "I apologize if they came away, and I have certainly been humbled by the fact that so many people think that that somehow was an interpretation."

McCain was the highest-profile Republican at the time to distance himself from Mourdock's comments by threatening to withdraw his endorsement. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who recently appeared in a television ad endorsing Mourdock, said through a campaign spokeswoman that he did not agree with the Indiana candidate but that he had not asked for a television ad he recorded for Mourdock be pulled.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Rep. Mike Pence, the Republican running for governor of Indiana, attempted to put space between themselves and Mourdock by repudiating the remarks.

Ayotte was to campaign with Mourdock on Wednesday, but canceled those plans. Her spokesman, Jeff Grappone, issued a statement saying, "She disagrees with Treasurer Mourdock's comments, which do not represent her views."

Pence, in a statement issued Wednesday, said, "I strongly disagree with the statement made by Richard Mourdock during last night's Senate debate. I urge him to apologize."

Others, such as Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, came out in support of Mourdock. Cornyn is chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

"Richard and I, along with millions of Americans - including even Joe Donnelly - believe that life is a gift from God. To try and construe his words as anything other than a restatement of that belief is irresponsible and ridiculous," Cornyn said in a written statement. Donnelly is Mourdock's Democratic opponent for the Senate seat from Indiana.

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Filed under: Abortion • John McCain • Richard Mourdock
soundoff (255 Responses)
  1. Hogan's Goat

    Yeah? What I'm hearing is "McCain Supports Pro-Rape Candidate." Back to the nursing home, Gramps. It's over for you, has been since Palin.

    October 25, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  2. Mase

    McCain already made sure we had four years of this pitiful President. He needs to do his job in the Senate and let Murdock wallow is his own statements. I can't believe McCain is stupid enough to fall into the trap of even talking about that cr@p.

    October 25, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  3. i'm confused

    The entire gop is just a joke... These gop "leaders" think that getting this backwards ignorant religious extremists to apologize for STATING HIS ACTUAL VIEWS / OPINIONS then that's going to make it all ok for those gop "leaders" to just pretend like those aren't that trash's actual extremist views / opinions.

    Today's gop is a cult full of ideological & religious extremists that HAS NO PLACE IN THE 21ST CENTURY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 25, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  4. Rod M. Chicago

    McCain has become an "attention seeker". He is irrelevan, old, outdated and on a mission to seek the shame or defeat of Pres. Obama...McCain is pathetic.

    October 25, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  5. Paul

    Presumably the rapist enjoyed his violent attack. Following Mourdock's "logic" shouldn't we conclude that it was God's will that the rapist enjoy what he did to his victim? These religious fanatics are astounding. They can justify any violent behavior by saying it's God's will. The most frightening thing for me is that a position like Mourdock's would have made his running for public office entirely unacceptable even ten years ago. Now it's considered okay by the right wing fanatics. What kind of a country have we become? This is shameful and to me signifies the beginning of the end of our nation that once had such high principles even if we often didn't live up to them.

    October 25, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  6. Pat Ludy

    I am appalled by McCain's reversal...Sickened by the beliefs of the Religious Right. I have already voted..a straight Democratic ticket. The first time I have done so. I am an Independent but a message needs to slam the Rep. party to wake up and take care of the country without trying to foist other religious beliefs on the many, many other diverse religions or no in our country.

    October 25, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. Alfuso

    I personally know someone who became pregnant through rape. She decided to do "the right thing" and kept it. She eventually grew to hate the child, so she gave it up.

    October 25, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  8. KJ

    Its a shame John McCain was not aborted at birth. I know he is bitter not having ever become President but he has become increasingly more bitter and senile over the past couple of years. He is is truly showing his true colors and they are not in the interest of the women who come under the fold of the red, white and blue. Its a shame he has abandoned his service to his nation and taken up the mantle of the right-wing, neo-conservative, border line nazis who call themselves in short the Republican party. Its nice to have a party that self anointed themselves the givers of life, the definers of life and takers of life when its convenient for them. Hmmm, I think we have seen this before, nazi Germany perhaps?

    October 25, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. demsrule

    Well, some of us out here in blog-land do pay attention! Mourdock did not issue an apology. HE DID NOT APOLOGIZE FOR SAYING THAT IT IS GOD'S WILL IF A WOMAN GETS PREGNANT DURING A RAPE!

    October 25, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. Alfuso

    In some states the rapist can demand visitation rights!

    October 25, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  11. Faith

    I wonder if he would feel the same if it were his wife that had been raped and gotten pregnant. When is an apology not an apology? When it is made to appease voters.

    October 25, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. Rob

    Can someone please tell McCain that after you've lost a bid for the White House, that you're supposed to disappear? Al Gore knew that rule, so did Kerry to some extent.

    October 25, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  13. BlindSquirrel

    Dave hit the true center of this a few comments ago. It is exactly analogous to Romney's "47%" comment. What you had in both cases was a politician saying what he really felt on a subject, followed by all the spin and damage control afterward to try and sufficiently blur the initial statement. The first comment is really the only relevant part of the whole thing, since it best describes the person's true beliefs. Neither was a "slip of the tongue". Clearly both were long held beliefs, that backfired in the telling.

    October 25, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  14. Patriot

    Notice how every other day some nutty Republican says something really, really, stupid then has to apologize or use the 'taken out of context' excuse? Do you really want these kind of people running the Country? Really? Then shame on you.

    October 25, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. tet1953

    So McCain thinks that simply mouthing the words, "I'm sorry" changes what is in Mourdock's heart and mind? The GOP is disgusting.

    October 25, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. Vijay

    I don't know why people still like Romney and his buddies after committing serious mistakes. Every time they have go back and forth in all the issues. What other countries think of us? Those guys who speak about anti-abortion should be thrown out of GOP. They say we need small government, which is true, but it comes to women's health they will have maximum regulation. GOP like death penalty but they don't like abortion. What a reality or stupidity?. If they carry about human souls' then they shouldn't go to wars, death penalty and so on. GOP (Grand old party of divisive ideas).

    October 25, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  17. ted

    What the hell is wrong with the GOP? Why is it in a WAR ON WOMEN? Women should be in control of their bodies, not the GOP or the federal govt. Rape is a crime and the GOP side with the criminal everytime and is basically telling rape victims, typically women, that they need to have a baby as a result of a rape? Why do I feel like Adoph Hitler is in control of the GOP?

    October 25, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  18. scott

    OK OK OK , ill apologize for something i really mean , can i have more campaign funds now? LOL

    October 25, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  19. MTP

    Dear Mr. McCain.


    October 25, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  20. Debbie

    Sad to see McCain the POW become immasculated by his own party for attention. McCain now supports the blasphemer. Sad a man that had integrity and credibility has become so small.

    October 25, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  21. JohnRJohnson

    So, it really doesn't matter what Mourdock said and how it reveals his belief that women (and young girls) should have to bear the children of their rapists. As long as Mourdock says "I'm sorry", that's OK with John McCain. What a joke this man has become.

    October 25, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  22. justobvious

    Why bother with anything said by politicians. The non-apology will follow soon enough. Outrage machine set to 11.

    October 25, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. SDG

    Lesson #1: Sorry doesn't fix it.

    October 25, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. rrmuse

    What about the life, mental health and financial abilities of the victim/mother-to-be. Giving the rapist the right to visit with the child is like rewarding the rapist. Republican are more like Pro-birth, than Pro-life because they don’t care about the woman at all.
    Just a side note, Republicans are always talking about less government, but when it comes to women health and who you love they want MORE GOVERNMENT, so corporations get less government, but private citizens get MORE GOVERNMENT.
    If you don’t believe in abortions, then don’t get one and don’t force your religion beliefs on others.
    The American Taliban is getting louder and louder, so soon America will be like the Middle-East.

    October 25, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. Mike

    The GOP is out of touch. Please people, do not be tricked by the Romney team, they are all being supported by those that believe exactly as Mourdock says. Some are not so stupid to come out and say it, but it is in their mind.

    October 25, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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