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. SueW

    Way to show conviction Sen. McCain. You attack Pres. Obama at the drop of a hat over things you don't even know about, but you waffle with this guy unless he offers you an apology? He has "apologized" several times, while defending his comments. He isn't going to really change over night. You should be piling on Gov. Romney for standing by this man even after those comments. Where is your conviction now? I see, everything you say is to keep you relevant and in the news and not for the best of the country. Shame.

    October 25, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  2. Who

    Who cares what/who McCain endorses??? He chose.............PALIN!!!!!!!!!! Duh.

    October 25, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  3. Genold

    Since we have God to thank for babies conceived as a result of rape, I suppose we can thank God for population control because of mass murders, wars, disease, and ethnic cleansing. THANK YOU LORD!!!!!!

    October 25, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  4. Lindsey

    Any woman who STILL supports Romney after his wholehearted support of Mourdock, his TV commercial endorsing Mourdock, along with his refusal to withdraw support of Mourdock in light of the latter's ridiculous and asinine statement that a pregnancy as a result of a woman being raped and brutalized is a "gift from God", should see a good psychotherapist.

    October 25, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  5. TheOriginalMe

    He can't apologize for something that is part of his beliefs, and if he do he will be hypocrite, and people will know he's saying something he doesn't really agree with so whats the point. The same thing with Romney and his "47%" remarks

    October 25, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  6. LacrosseMom

    How CAN ANY ONE endorse Mourdock??????? He is saying that "if a woman gets pregnant because she is RAPED it is God's will"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Women, YOU, better wake up! Soon Republicans will not only take away our FREEDOM to choose what happens to our bodies, and FORCE us all to give birth.... but..... WILL MAKE BIRTH CONTROL ILLEGAL!!

    October 25, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  7. Canuck

    Any woman who votes for these Republican goons deserves all she gets.

    October 25, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  8. allens

    as i have said in the past, no need to apologize, this is the new gop. the voters see this and still vote for people like aiken, huey and all of the rest of the extremists living in the 1800's. they have become the party of extremists and fools. this is how romney will get the ultimate power. he knows it and will say what they want to hear on that day.

    October 25, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  9. To be Frank

    I wonder why honourable Mc Cain never ran for president this year. He looks more reasonable that this governor. The fact that this governor has not apologised or even given a statement about the rape as an act of God is so heart breaking. This is hurting him because Ads are running around of this governor supporting Mourdock

    October 25, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  10. Strategic Bob

    McCain said "If he apologizes and says he misspoke and he was wrong..." This statement fails every possible logic test. Either Mourdock misspoke and said something he does not actually believe, or he correctly said what he believes. As he has repeated himself many times now, Mourdock clearly did not "misspeak." He meant exactly what he said. The question for voters in his district is whether or not they want a man with this kind of warped value set – the kind of values that say that rape is part of God's plan for creating life and that the victim of a crime has to be further victimized by giving birth, against her wishes, to the child of a rapist – then they should vote for him. If they think his values are wrong, then they should vote for his opponent (who is apparently only marginally more enlightened). Personally, I would as soon vote for this neanderthal cretin as for a Taliban candidate. From where I stand, I don't see a whole lot of difference.

    October 25, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  11. Bobo

    This guy would be a perfect rep for the Science Committee.

    Lol GOP!

    October 25, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  12. Rosslaw

    You have to give the rapebulicans credit for turning violent rape a "serious" subject of discussion. If God wills it, then any law enforcement officer who tries to stop a rape is defying God's will. And besides, we all know that the b*tches really want it. Vote for the pro-rape party that will fight to protect, no kidding, the paternity rights of the rapist.

    October 25, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  13. sky guy

    Hey "The Real Tom Paine", When a female member of your family gets pregnent from a rape, tell her she has to keep the child.

    October 25, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  14. ColoradoJoe

    How do you endorse someone you do not know??? I blame McCain, Romney and any other republican that endorsed this type of person as they SHOULD have known before they endorsed him. There are no excuses for this type of person, never mind the people that vote or endorsed him. How does an apology "fix' what his thought process is? Indiana, you get what you deserve.

    October 25, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  15. sky guy

    This country is one huge dystropia, with only small islands of sanity.

    October 25, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  16. Dar

    As I read the comments on here I see so many people that simply dont care about a child.
    It isnt the childs fault that it was concieved. So why should it be put death? To make someone else feel better about themself?
    The only reason that someone allows a baby to be killed in the womb is because you cant hear the baby crying in pain as it is being torn apart limb from limb while being sucked out of the mothers womb.
    Why not wait until it is born and just hack it up to get your blood thirst for the day.
    I mean it is just a piece of meat with a heart beat, Right?
    If you want to kill something Kill the rapist, OH wait they are protected by law, but the poor innocent child isnt.
    This country is sick, sick, sick!

    October 25, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  17. lerianis

    McCain shouldn't support this guy at all. If he makes comments like these, he is NOT a reputable person and should NOT be in any position of authority.

    Forcible rape is forcible rape. It's always wrong though some times I pity the person who does that and the person who it was done to equally for various reasons.

    October 25, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  18. Moon base to Newt: Come in. GOP Static a.k.a Bull****

    Okay, lie, grovel, do whatever it takes so that I can stay in your corner. Makes sense. This is what this man believes. How do you sincerely apologize for that? He's wrong on so many levels, but right in his own mind. Mr. McCain, his apology would be phony and you know it.

    October 25, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  19. ana

    So again, what is god intended and what is not? can any republican who thinks Mourdock's comments are ok explain? rape is an action by rapist is not god intended but, when victim gets pregnant because of that rape is god intended? Really, God and Mourdock both know rape is something they abhors, then why god should start life in that horrible situation, doesn't god have any common sense that he should not do that?

    October 25, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  20. lindaluttrell

    Apologizing for something said is not good enough! Specifically if it will not change the views/opinions held by Mourdock and Akin. Wonder how they would feel if young women in their own families had to experience this!

    October 25, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  21. Natalie

    And exactly how does an apology change what a person is actually thinking or believing? Really, McCain? The ideology of someone who thinks like Mourdock has no place in politics and creating laws for U.S. citizens. Women, will you please pay attention to where the GOP has gone? More and more of these crackpots are leading them backwards.

    October 25, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  22. caesarbc

    go get 'em John!

    October 25, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  23. LivingHistory

    Did you know that 31 states grant parental rights to rapists? That means if a stalker impregnates a woman through rape and she has the child she will be tied to the stalker for the rest of her life. But that's okay because it's god's will.

    October 25, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  24. Lawless4U

    And there you have it folks.....................the republican party.

    Do the US a favor and never, ever vote for another republican again.

    October 25, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  25. Andrew

    Apologize for showing how completely INSANE and FULL OF CRAP the GOP is.

    October 25, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
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