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. Marty, FL

    Mitt Romney endorsed Mourdock and has not taken it back.

    Romney also chose Ryan who co-sponsored redefining rape as "forcible" with Todd Akin, who even referred to "legitimate rape" against women.

    October 25, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  2. Anthony

    McCain knows that Mourdock's comment cannot stand, or it will kill the Republican Party. This shows that McCain still has more sense than Romney, who foolishly stood by Mourdock's campaign (if not Mourdock's comment). Romney should have learned his lesson from the 47% controversy. It took Romney several weeks to disavow what he had said about the 47% of Americans who don't pay income tax. Romney stood by his 47% comment initially, saying his words were inelegant, then realized after a few weeks that he could not win when he effectively stabbed his own supporters in the back.

    October 25, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  3. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Thank you Senator McCain. There seems to be light at the end of the tunnel after all. After four years of republican extremism across this country to divide and undermine our democracy, finally one republicans decides to step forward and denounce this outrageousness. Too bad the democrats in congress haven't had the backbone to step forward and denounce the madness by these right wing extremists in our country. And what is even more outrageous is that after their colleague Gabrielle Giffords was shot and left crippled for life as a result of right wing extremism ithat has fueled a deadly rampage in Arizona a year ago, you would have expected the coward democrats in congress to finally step forward and say enough is enough. But it is clearly evident that most of the democrats in congress are so envy and jealous of our President's success that they'd raather remain silent while these right wing extremists in this country continue their insane assault on our freedoms and prosperity.

    Thank you Senator McCain, its about time! Perhaps one good apple can save the bunch of loonies roaming our country after all.

    October 25, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  4. Al-NY,NY


    "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.

    Is that clear enough for you Sen. McCain? Trying listening to what Mr. Mourdock said instead of fall for the media spin.

    are you just dense or what? What media spin? Even A LOT of people in this idiot's own party are disagreeing and saying he's wrong. Get a clue. Stop watching Faux Snews and listening to the fat boy

    October 25, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  5. Larry L

    Wire Palladin, S. F

    You cannot be a real republican without attacking women's rights, workers, seniors, veterans, college students, minorities, gays, poor people and the middle class. Of course McCain will endorse Mourdock and Akin.
    Correct. You must additionally be opposed to efforts to prevent environmental pollution, have no memory of George W. Bush, think man's influence on global climate change is a liberal plot, reject the entire body of science regarding evolution, consider contraception evil, and believe all media except Fox News to be the "lame-stream media".

    October 25, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  6. The Real Tom Paine


    This is STUPID! Why in the world should hehave to apologize?? His words were totally twisted. He believes that life is a gift from God. So do I. What's your view? That babies conceived by rape are satans spawn and SHOULD be mrdered?!? I'm sure there are many many adult children conceived by rape that are happy, healthy productive members of society and are loved more than anything by their familes. Ask them! I'm sure they'll tell you they beleive their life is worth something! McCain and everyone who turns their back on this guy is a political puppet.
    Do you have empirical data to prove your point? Are these children who are created through an act of violence all happy and well-adjusted? Do you know this, or are you just so desperate to defend the so-called right to life that you don't give a damn after they leave the womb?

    October 25, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  7. Mary S

    Ah!, but will he mean it if he apologizes? Or will it just be more lip service?

    @ naksuthin who said...."The penalty for a woman who aborts her fetus should be the same as the penalty for the murder of a baby child." Really? Why don't you crawl back under the rock you climbed out from under. You are obviously a hater of women, as none of your comments address the animals who commit such heinous crimes and their responsibility in all of this. It is a woman's right to decide for herself how she wishes to handle such a situation. No one elses. It is people like you, with your continued mindset that woman are nothing more than doormats, that is the problem in this world. Narrowminded and ignorant.

    October 25, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  8. Larry L

    Murdock hates the fact that his true feelings emerged from his pie-hole before he had a chance to censor for political purposes. He feels really bad about getting caught.

    October 25, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  9. Horus

    If Mourdock believes that life is a gift from god, and that pregnancy resulting from rape is merely god's will, then it is only logical to assume he believes the rape to be god's will as well. Even if you make the argument that the rape was the actions of evil, what kind of twisted god would give a "gift" to the victim so that they have a living reminder of such a horrible act. The rationalizing skills of religious people are astounding.

    October 25, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  10. Philippe

    so, if pregnances by rape arent intended by God, does that mean that every person born because of rape is defying God's will? This is the problem with the counter-argument to Muourdock's claim. If you want to say he is wrong, then you have to assume that other humans, best friends to some of us, were not created because God wanted to create them.

    I believe God creates good things out of bad things. Like Mourdock, I know rape is wrong. However, pregnancy that results from rape can be a very good thing. It can be so hard psychologically, but at the end of the day, the mother who keeps the child grows to love that child, despite where he/she came from.

    October 25, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  11. Robin

    Congratulations Senator Mourdock on standing for pro-life. It takes courage to do so in the skewed society that has somehow come to believe that women would actually choose to kill an innocent baby if they really understood what they were doing. It is a shame that people don't do their due diligence and look at an ultrasound before jumping to the conclusion that abortion is in anyway acceptable. If even murderers have a right to a trial, what happened with the right of innocent children?. I am a woman, a women who has fought for women's rights always, but there is no way that those rights include killing innocent babies. Let's not even touch on the horrors of partial birth abortion. There is NO WAY that a woman who say an ultrasound would choose abortion. So congratulations Mr. Mourdock and saying what so many politicians don't have the guts to say.

    October 25, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  12. Osiris

    If Mourdock believes that life is a gift from god, and that pregnancy resulting from rape is merely god's will, then it is only logical to assume he believes the rape to be god's will as well. Even if you make the argument that the rape was the actions of evil, what kind of twisted god would give a "gift" to the victim so that they have a living reminder of such a horrible act. The rationalizing skills of religious people are astounding.

    October 25, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  13. Osiris

    The rationalizing skills of religious people have no limits.....

    October 25, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  14. Ralph M

    Republican politicians all support each other no matter how out of touch and ignorant they are. Common sense and decency dont matter to them. If one wanted to sell America to the Chinese, they would all vote for it. If Romney wins, we are going to be in sad shape. Too bad the 50% of mindless dupes dont see that.

    October 25, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  15. Sid Prejean

    The United States has been at odds with radical theocracies throughout our history. We certainly son't need a home-grown theoocracy now.
    If only Gov. Romney had a momentary flash of courage and denounced this lunacy, he'd be a walk-in.

    October 25, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  16. Other Foot

    I guess then rape and incest victims should be forced to marry their aggressors, to keep that sacred family unit of one man, one woman, that God intended.

    October 25, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  17. Namejkane sfl romneycare, l didnt mean it, its not my fault, ann made me do it ,im sorry conservaties, who needs romney care anyway, i dont

    When the gop has to think about it ,it just goes to show how bad the gop is .no problem for me to vote againest them at all levels of government and there's nothing wrong with president Obama but three is something wrong with the gop congress and their going to have a gop train wreck in to weeks .it will be a pleasure to vote againest all gop and Romney and lyin Ryan !!!!!

    October 25, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  18. mikrik13

    McCain seems to be getting overly sensitive and more of a whiner in his old age.

    October 25, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  19. a slozomby

    you have to love these clowns. apologize for speaking your mind and i'll endorse you.

    mccain should be asking him to withdraw from the race.

    October 25, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  20. Catherine

    How can anyone endorse this man knowing what is in his heart? Even if he apologizes, it doesn't change what he believes. In his world, a rape victim would have the child and seeing what the laws of the land are, if the victim kept the child, the rapist would have 'father's' visitation rights or if the victim gave up the child, the rapist would have to sign off on the adoption or even more horror, keep the child himself.

    October 25, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  21. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Its too bad McCain didn't step forward and denounce Mitt Romney for writing off 47% of the country. And as a war veteran, I would have expected McCain to have some reservations about supporting Romney who knowingly and willfully refused to acknowledge our veterans of war during his acceptance or when he said after the convention that he didn't mention our troops because there was no need to go through a long laundry list. First, 47% of us were moochers looking for handouts and now our troops are a laundry list. And just imagine this draft doger had the nerve to go before the Virginia Military Institute to give his foreign policy speech. And this man who supports the likes of Muordock and Akin is leading in the polls in North Carolina? Simply appalling!

    October 25, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  22. Jerry

    "If he apologizes and says he misspoke and he was wrong and asks the people to forgive him, I would be the first,". The truth is that he did not misspoke. He spoke from his heart. The problem is that his heart and dirty, selfish, greedy, brainwashed and his willing to earn white men votes at the cost of women that have been raped.

    October 25, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  23. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    So if someone goes out and rape his wife or daughter, I presume he'd refrain from pressing charges as the rape would be presumed to be God's will?

    October 25, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  24. Stuck in Texas

    Let's see. Obviously Mourdock believes in God. God is all-knowing and all-powerful. So if God intended for a woman to get pregnant from being raped, he also intended for her to get raped in the first place. And don't start with "Free Will" – what about the "Free Will" of the woman not to be raped. There is no way you can spin his comments or even apologize for them. His belief system would have to lead him to those conclusions and apologizing would be basically admitting that God really doesn't do anything.

    October 25, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  25. v_mag

    Mourdock says that life begins at conception. Anyone who's ever seen a wiggling sperm under a microscope knows that it is living, so clearly life begins BEFORE conception. Therefore, we have to consider what to do with those criminal 13 year old boys who kill millions of sperm daily. Put them all in death camps, maybe?

    The fact is that a fetus is not viable outside the womb until gestation has gone on for several months, just like a sperm is not viable outside the body. This is a large gray area that the tightie right-to-lifers want to make black and white, and it just won't fit into that box. So, believe what you want about when life begins, but recognize that others have the same right to their beliefs.

    October 25, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
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