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. fernace

    R.ape is a violent se.xual attack that leaves the victim in physical pain & deep turmoil! Just ask any man who has been attacked in such a manner while being incarcerated! Incest is even worse, imo, because it's perpetrated by a person you trust! A r.ape victim must have a means to make a decision whether she believes the resulting pregnancy is a "gift from God" or a curse from the r.apist "devil"! Aside from that, an incest victim also has to grapple w/the birth defects asscociated w/the situation & is usually too young to even be pregnant or make those adult decisions! Mourdocks "life is a gift from God" is a personal belief ideology that has no place in government! Walsh & Akin are either severely uninformed or puposefully ignorant! Bottomline, men should not have the power to legislate what desicions a woman makes about her own body or the life that might be growing w/in! Especially not through means of religion! It's as personal & inividual as each woman is! Obama, Forward 12!!

    October 25, 2012 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  2. anonoymous

    Who cares what McCain thinks.....sounds the whole GOP campaign has been an apolgy tour.

    October 25, 2012 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  3. Andie Moen

    Mourdock said what he said. How can that be misinterpreted. It's a clear statement. I am amazed any man thinks he has the right to say anything about a woman's decision about her own body especially in the case of rape. Mourdock sounds like he was born in the 14th century – the Dark Ages.

    October 25, 2012 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  4. helenecha

    Amazing that both Donnelly and Richard believe that life is a gift from God, but obviously, Donnelly had no guts to show people his cognition from the survey of a popular religious on that abortion issue like Richard did honestly.

    October 25, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  5. Dave

    John Cornyn of Texas weighs in to support Murdock – – what more can you say? Neither deserve to hold public office. I seriously doubt that they warrant any respect when they so readily discount over 50% of the population with their display of disrespect for women. Wouldn't be interesting to see how they felt about rape if they were women?

    October 25, 2012 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  6. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    It turns out Romney backed Richard Mourdock until he made his idiotic statement. Romney even made an ad endorsing Mourdock. Now Romney is claiming to not be for the man, however, Mitt is still letting him run the ads saying Romney endorses him.
    It could be an oversight. Romney may not be able to remember all the Tea Party, right wing, psychos he has endorsed.
    It could be that he really does think that it is just some woman's issue, so it is not worth cancelling his endorsment.
    Or it could be that he needs the Tea Partiers so much that he is unwilling to disavow one of their favorites. Many Tea Party votes against the few women's votes he might lose.
    Or it may be that he agrees with Mourdock and the other Republicans that have made stupid, sexist statements. Maybe women should be second class citizens who are only pandered to during close elections.
    I don't know why he is letting Mourdock run the ads where Romney endorses him, but I do know there is not a single good reason to continue it unless Romney actually agrees with the drivel Mourdock is spewing.

    October 25, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  7. 2020

    if his wife got raped, and pregnanted, he will understand the anger people have it on him.

    such in humn comment cannot come out from a christian's mouth. good grief

    October 25, 2012 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  8. Jessica

    What does one fear & warmongering Republican say to another?

    October 25, 2012 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  9. Realpoet2

    Well while he looks for an apology, get one from Ryan who reported ( MSNBC ) a woman who is raped, it does not matter if she is raped, conception is conception, the Romney Ryan ticket are using woman as pawns. A Reverse is wanted of Roe vs Wade, removal of Gov in Plan Parenthood, the majority of woman are on Social Security and they want to give them vouchers for medicare, let them pay more for medication, city funding in each state went down the drain that is why so many ask for stimulus and they want cities to control medicaid. Woman in America today are mostly single parents, when they lost their job the only way to feed their children without a adult partners help was Food Stamps, and Ryan & Romney want these children to live without offering the woman any real assistance. China has so many people they limit the amount of children couples can have, China is also communist, so Ryan & Romney seem to want to take woman back to the Mormon way of life and think we don't know what they are trying to do, and since many woman are weak, they are pro life but do they realize all the other rights they are not going to endorse, like equal pay for woman they want to remove the ledbetter act. WAKE UP WOMAN who vote for the Romney ticket, do your research, you are being sent back to the 1980s, no wonder Bernnie Madolf swindled so many millionaires out of their money, they believed the hype, and now you believe the Romney hype, don't hate color so bad they you are willing to give up your freedoms. Republicans has never been as said as Romney and Ryan, I believed Bush and voted for him, but no man;s rights are attached by these two. They support Gun Laws, They want more military soldiers, Romney is not going to hesitate to send your boys into battle, They will not Tax the Rich, we all know people like Donald Trump and other associate wealthy men are not going to have any demands placed on them by Romney, only woman has been targeted in the politician game, oh yea he will let you go home to feed your children, as if the husband cant do it, because he is not going to pay you as much as the men in the company, WOMAN vote OBAMA

    October 25, 2012 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  10. Anno

    The pregnancy from rape is the consequence of sin by the rapist. Not everything that happened is intended by God, else there won't be a sinner. Sometimes consequences of sin hurt even those who did not commit the sin.

    This is something that I will probably leave to the victim to decide.

    October 25, 2012 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  11. Spock500

    I wonder if Mr. Todd Akin and Mr. Clayton Williams have already privately called on Mr. Mourdock to offer their full support.

    October 25, 2012 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  12. Yosemite Sam

    I am so sick of religion entering into our politics. Why is it so hard for these extremists to understand that they are America's version of the Taliban.

    October 25, 2012 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  13. Montanajay

    Mourdock said a pregnancy resulting from a rape is "something that God intended to happen." So Almighty God, who abhors rape, either intended for it to happen or let it happen, then made the decision to impregnate the victim?

    Mourdock spent considerable time blaming the media for distorting his words, though I've seen no evidence of that. Why tighten the noose around his neck when he's already hanging by it?

    October 25, 2012 03:28 am at 3:28 am |
  14. disconnect

    So if it's "God's plan" that a woman becomes pregnant from a rape and therefore the abortion option should be taken off the table, why is it not also "God's plan" to put the "mother's life in danger"? Is God all-powerful, or not? Why do you not also believe that if the mother dies in a difficult pregnancy that her death was the result of "God's plan" for her? After all, God does work in mysterious ways, y'know?

    October 25, 2012 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  15. jefflz

    Who cares about McCain. What about Romney? Mourdock stands by his right wing nutcase "pregnancy from rape is God's wish" remark and Romney stands by Mourdock. A vote for Romney is to vote for an extreme right-wing government and the overturning of Roe v Wade. Despite all his etch-a-sketch and fancy footwork, we see clearly where Romney's loyalties really lie. Not with women, but with the religious right. Mourdock is Romney's boy – he owns him.

    October 25, 2012 03:38 am at 3:38 am |
  16. LastDinosaur

    John McCain must really love hollow acts of contrition, but a politically-expedient apology from Mourdock shouldn't change voters' minds about the guy. Mourdock has been explicit in stating his belief that his personal views on the moral propriety of abortion will inform his decisions as a legislator, and he has now given voters a clear understanding of just how extreme his views are. Mourdock's fear of losing the election might cause him to retract his baffling remarks, but that won't be evidence that he has actually abandoned the troubling viewpoint that informed those remarks.

    October 25, 2012 03:49 am at 3:49 am |
  17. Elle

    These are the people America want's to put in office. Color still matters in America over substance, because Mitt Romney has lacked it from the start. The irony that Romney backed Mourdock as quickly as possible. "Let's get this man in office"...smh

    October 25, 2012 04:41 am at 4:41 am |
  18. BDChild

    McCain well said. But why endorsement up in the air ??

    October 25, 2012 04:48 am at 4:48 am |
  19. Tom Joad

    I love it when Republicans chastise each other for being Republican. If the truth be known, Mourdock represents the majority beliefs of the GOP (Grand Oil Party) including Romney towards women, but they are afraid to let their extremist views known. With Romney, there's a deep dark winter coming for America.

    October 25, 2012 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
  20. Notsurpised

    Sen. McCain should demand more than an apology- he should demand this Republican dimwit to get out of politics for his politcal and personal views and safety. He has sent a message to women world wide: women are beneath my station in life.

    October 25, 2012 05:14 am at 5:14 am |

    They sprinted away from Akin too, only to sprint back when power in the Senate became more important to them. Perfect timing by Snooki Palin and Murdock. The unhinged GOBP tea potty unmasked for all to see.

    October 25, 2012 05:23 am at 5:23 am |
  22. MOCaseA

    By his own logic, that life is a "gift from God" and that "God has a plan" then the rape was planned by God.

    So tell me, can we hold God accountable as an accessory to the fact?

    October 25, 2012 05:51 am at 5:51 am |
  23. Don

    Its so nice to see a real "principled" republican. thanks you John for your service but especially your courage

    October 25, 2012 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  24. Rabid Goon

    At what point does the rape become a 'gift from god'? Is it when the semen leaves the penis, or not until it reaches the ovum? Or perhaps it is at some specific point in embryonic development. I'd really liek this genius Mourdock to tell us exactly when God sends this 'gift' if not right at the moment when the rapist first enters the woman. I mean, he's so confident in his position, he should be able to explain clearly exactly when his imaginary god's 'gift' is given.

    October 25, 2012 06:14 am at 6:14 am |
  25. LakeRat1

    What difference does it make whether or not he apologizes for saying the way he feels? He won't change anything. It's like stealing something and being sorry because you were caught. if McCain feels that his Mourdock's opinion is wrong, he should have either said the man does not belong in the Senate, or not said anything.

    October 25, 2012 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
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