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. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    @dave: "the fetus is not guilty"

    The fetus is not a person. If it were, it would not have to be inside a woman's womb to survive.

    October 25, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota


    Explaining away a tragedy by saying it is God's will is really kind of sick, I think...

    Yeah, very sick. I hate to think what else falls within God's will with this crowd of GOPers who are condoning this man and the oh so many other Republicans who now support this garbage.

    October 25, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. St. James Place

    Attn: Senator McCain you need to retire. Being pro-life means your pro-life not just is some cases.

    October 25, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  4. ronvan

    DREAMERS WAKE UP!! This is now the THIRD time a republican has made insane, crazy comments on this subject!
    Tip of the iceberg? IF you really think that MITTENS and his republicans are going to change things I really feel sorry for you! Things are still bad, but signs show IMPROVEMENT. M.R. will STOP all that! And do not kid yourselves. IF M.R. gets elected then the dems. will become the party of NO! IF President Obama is re elected then the repuks. will be FORCED to co operate in order to survive! For me, if you want to change how our system works and let our "elected children" know how WE really feel about their games, then VOTE all of them out and put in fresh blood!!
    That is the ONLY way WE will get their attention and stop this political garbage and get back to working for US!!

    October 25, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  5. Brad

    First of all i am a man and cannot speak for women, but what I see the NeoCons are stacking the deck against women
    .Its not a stretch to say any unplanned pregnancy would effect anyones Cost of Living budget, it is costly ot have children these day and a pregnancy as a result of rape would definitly qualify as an unplanned prenancy.Then they say it will be a crime if you have an abortion and you will go to jail, even if it is a result of rape! Also they are taking away Planned Parenthood which provides free services for lower income mothers. So here you are pregnant (no fault of your own) no way to pay for the needed services and you have a potential President lableing you as a 47% freeloader.
    I'm in no way advocating abortion as a way out of an expensive endeavor but because they are so many variables to consider that NO ONE but the Woman involved should be making the decision on what to do with their life. It come down to "Do yu really want to go out on a limb and take a chance with this guy (Willard)

    October 25, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  6. Bill

    Think again: Some people do not survive outside the womb. So with your narrow definition, they are not people either.

    October 25, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  7. TMC

    Getting pregnant after being raped. Well that's one 'Gift' I would not accept.....thanks anyway God.

    October 25, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  8. kiwisepp

    I do not think that he needs to apologize for what he believe. If he apologize, he have to lie for us. He should be what he is. It is us to decide if we want him as our senator.

    October 25, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  9. Wake up People!

    Read the story peeps, now McCain continues supporting him because he apologized. Am I the only person that is getting sick of these faux apologies??? My goodness, you say something you mean, then when others don't like it, and you realize it might hurt your chance to get elected, then you backtrack. I'm getting sick of this crap, beginning with Tagg Robmey.

    October 25, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  10. NameRichard McRae

    Typical CNN watchers statements .Just attacks with nothing but BS.The President of the US choice of uneducated words .You write nothing but remarks that no facts but name calling SMS desperate lies.Can you handle the truth about Libya the economy or do you want cool BS.We as Americans rights have lost them with press like CNN covering up Libya.Letting Jewish lady leaders say Mitt never covered Israel. Lies Lies and more lies.Do you want cover ups or the real facts on what is really important.Mitt Romney did support helping out Auto Industry.Was write there or is real facts something Silly Fluff does not care about or to stupid to read???

    October 25, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  11. Jess Sayin

    Too bad Republicans reject science and facts. If they actually did care about women they would know the outcomes of children born of rape. It is not often a pretty picture of parenthood. Extremely high rates of suicide, alcoholism and other social illnesses appear in both mother and child. With the GOP OK with killing off the safety net for our citizens, we are asking the victims of rape to shut up and buck up, while the wealthy continue to grow richer.

    October 25, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    Ah, the tangled webs we weave, when we first set out to deceive ... yes, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan?

    Romney can't answer questions on abortion (or anyother subject) coherently for fear of losing a voter here and there, and Paul Ryan not only agrees with men such as Murdock, but has voted FOR legislation in agreement with the Mourdocks and Aikens of the GOP. Leaving we the voters to understand just where they both sit on this issue and all other issues - in La La Land.

    Two MEN willing to go to any lengths to get what they want, regardless of the harm their viewpoints and legislation might cause those not fortunate enough to be a Mitt Romney or a Paul Ryan.

    October 25, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  13. NameRichard McRae

    Facts mean nothing to people who do not read.You have already took your own rights away and allow them to feed you calories of fluff to weight crap down.Libya cover up Mitt Romney not mentioning Israel fact checks says Lie ding ding. Obamacare is destroying stock market.Stick market goes down you loose your job.Fact Mitt Romney did support saving Car workers in Ohio.Fact check true not Fluff.He did not want gov.control over car industry.Do you??

    October 25, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. Viltor

    I lost all respect for McCain a long time ago. The comment that Mourdock made is not one for which there is an apology. It clearly represents a world view that has no place in politics. He is free to say what he wants but needs to understand some statements and views disqualify one for elected office, at least in this country. He has also insulted the vast majority of Christians by his convoluted use of God's will. This should never be used to defend or rationalize after the fact how we respond to events.

    October 25, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  15. Mother of children born from love making.

    Like I said yesterday, children should be the result of making love, nothing to do with God's will. Rape has nothing to do with love making.

    October 25, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  16. mynameis...

    Why should he apologize? Freedom of speech!! God has a purpose for every life, it doesn't matter the circumstances surrounding how the life was formed!

    October 25, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  17. RR

    These GOPers know exactly what they meant and they meant what they said. But, oh when they get called out on it, they apologize. People, please thiink. This is their stragedy all the time. This is there platform, this is what they believe and if they get into office, this is what they will press onward. The Republican party is not the party of our parents and this is why we reject them. I feel sorry for them to hate and disrepect a women so much.

    October 25, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  18. Howard

    Just for a second, based on the CNN front page headline, I thought that John McCain had broken free of the TeaParty mind control infecting the GOP. It is an awful shame when good people suddenly decide that their integrity is for sale and for so little.

    October 25, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  19. NameRichard McRae

    The real abortion is this article of taking the truth of Libya and covering up the Botched lies.The President needs to take a breathe to tell us truths about Real Facts

    October 25, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  20. Mark

    You're argument, *FAIL*

    October 25, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  21. Lisa P

    "I'm confident God abhors violence and rape, if they came away with any impression other than that, I truly regret it," Mourdock continued...
    Apparently this guy has never read the Old Testament.

    October 25, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  22. GOP = Greed Over People!

    Besides, once "god's gift" draws his/her first breath, the GOP "chri$tians" absolve society of responsibility.

    Lyin' Ryan wants to cut Medicaid and shred any other safety net.

    Guess according to the GOP, the little nipper should be propped up outside, and wait for that "manna from heaven" to fall.

    Obviously, if the infant cannot process the manna and perishes, it was part of "god's master plan"!

    October 25, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  23. Ken in MD

    What apology? "I'm sorry if I offended anyone"? That's not an apology. Especially when he followed it with, "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." Sure, blame Washington for your idiocy.

    October 25, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  24. Martha in CF

    He can say he is sorry and do the apology thing-Sorry, the damage is done......

    October 25, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  25. Bessy

    Well, really, what did you expect out of John McCain ? He flip flops as much as Romney. He should be ashamed of himself. I bet he would feel differently if it was a member of his family that was raped. Thank God he was never elected to be President.

    October 25, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
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