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. jim

    Another non-apology apology.

    He never aplogized for his remark.

    He apologized IF people did not like him.

    October 25, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  2. Smeagel4T

    Another politician accidentally saying what they actually think, then trying to erase their Etch-a-Sketch with a fake apology.

    October 25, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. Dave

    Why should Mourdock apologize for this? He didn’t misspeak. It's what the man believes. That some find his beliefs offensive is entirely understandable. The idea that a pregnancy from the violent act of rape was somehow intended by God is, in my opinion, misguided and offensive. But how can we ask him to apologize for expressing a belief that we know he will continue to have after the apology? It would be like asking a carjacker to apologize as zooms away leaving you in a cloud of dust. It’s just silly. In fact I would argue that we should thank him for expressing his true thoughts on the matter. It has become standard practice for our “leaders” to hide their true beliefs with carefully crafted soundbites and spin to the point where the public has no idea what ideas they’re supporting when they vote for an individual. So rather than demand an apology, I say “Thank you Mr. Mourdock” for letting us all know who you actually are, a misguided fool.

    October 25, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  4. Pam

    What these politicians don't seem to understand is the fact that an apology does not mean anything!
    The words were spoken and cannot be taken back!

    October 25, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. Wake up People!

    @Dave. The best comment I have seen all week! ICAM.

    October 25, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  6. Too Many Bozos

    I agree with you totally. On one hand, I respect Mourdock for sticking by his principles. But it is precisely those deeply-held principles, which include his stated belief that bi-partisanship means others must unconditionally embrace his (aka the tea-party's) positions that nearly caused this nation to default last summer and will undoubtedly speed us to our doom. These people neither understand nor possess the skills to govern. Their platform is springs from an unfocused anger at "the other", fueled by ignorance and intolerance under the guise of faith and family values. I wish they all would speak up a bit louder so the choice is clearer.

    October 25, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. Jt_flyer

    An entire article without McCain calling for military action somewhere in the world. Amazing.

    October 25, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. Knucklehead

    First, I am a liberal, and feel that men need to stay out of the abortion argument, generally, since they will never be in the position of making that choice. My personal view is that I couldn't be happier if there was never another abortion, but I won't put myself in the position of making that choice for someone else. However, if it were my child, I could not condone aborting it.

    Good things can come out of bad situations. To imply that the offspring of a rape is somehow cursed, is narrow minded. If you believe in God, then it seems only to follow that everything happens for a reason. That's all Mourdock was saying. Seems like he has a legitimate argument. That's his opinion, and it only has value inasmuch as it reveals how he will vote as a Senator.

    October 25, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  9. Timbuck2

    I wonder if he thinks that impotence is a gift from GOD?

    October 25, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  10. whoCares

    Another flip-flopping republican, I said what we represent, but if we will lose votes then I will lie to you and apologize.

    October 25, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  11. Doodlebug2222

    He's not sorry for what he said – he's only sorry that when he said it, there was a backlash.

    October 25, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  12. Cadillacjoe

    If you accept Mr. Mourdock's assertion that the pregnancy is god's will, then it would have to follow that the rape was also god's will. One delusional fairy tale follows the other.

    October 25, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. susan

    CNN cherry picks when it's offended. Katharine Fenton, focus group member who felt smeared referred to Michelle Malkin's tweet and the phrase "lady parts" got Ashleigh Banfield all worked up in proving there's a GOP war on women. But she failed to note that the term "lady parts" was first on the Obama campain's website.
    Check out the National Review Online and you can see the now deleted quote:

    "Hey, remember when it was offensive to talk about women voters as if they were nothing more than their, er, “lady parts”? (This was before the Obama campaign website offered, and then removed, an illustration declaring, “Vote like your lady parts depend on it.”)

    It seems Ms. Malkin was using what the Obama campaign had already found to be "on limits" in referring to women.

    October 25, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  14. Pete

    Romney ,Mourdock stand on the same issues because Romney only gave one publized political endorsement and it was Mourdocks.And Romneys not removing his ad endorsing Mourdock as well,that's the republicans agenda all along to make abortion illegal and if you think different you're just fooling yourself..That's why over ten tea party representitives are all extreme Pro lifers and if Romney gets in he'd have Ginsburg retire and put a conservative in there to repeal Roe vs Wade and make it like his Mormon cult is,no abortions even in the health of a mother,none period,that's extreme PRO LIFE!!Romney won't come out publicly till later but he's behind Ryans stance ,he's just pandering to women to sway their votes that's all!!If I were Pres.Obama I'd win that bet with Trump and have him donate to PLANNED PARENTHOOD that would shut his ass up for awhile but he'd reneg on the bet like he did when the president showed him his birth certificate remember that and Trump never did show anyone his financials did he the crook,typical Barnum and Bailey side show big mouth isn't he!!

    October 25, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  15. crystals9

    The problem with his "apology" is

    "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."

    See, he says he was sorry his comments were misinterpreted. He said what he meant. Now why is it that he thinks the pregnancy was caused by god but not the rape? Why not conclude that both are the spawn of the devil? If the pregnancy was caused by god, then god is responsible for everything, including the rape. Then cancer and heart disease are also "gifts from god" and we shouldn't do anything about them either. Let's hope he follows that approach when he is diagnosed with something serious. It is all god's work and we should just let it happen.

    October 25, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  16. Randy, San Francisco

    The McCain-Murdock apology and support drama was choregographed by political spin doctors to walk back the despicable statement, not a credible or convincing charade.

    October 25, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  17. Lynn

    If he lives by God's Will in all things, then when he gets an incurable disease, he will let God handle his medical care – no chemo, no pain drugs, just die a miserable slow death, it's God's Will.

    October 25, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  18. DERASA

    "TWisted, misspocked". What can of apology is he making ?? Can you believe this guy? People in Indiana mustbe carazy if they elect this guy !!!

    October 25, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  19. DC1973

    That's wonderful that John McCain accepted Mourdock's apology, since the offensive remark had nothing to do with him.

    Me personally? "I'm sorry you completely misinterpreted what I said when I said this thing that I'm still saying," is *not* an apology.

    October 25, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  20. JC

    I said it, I meant it, it's the truth and god is watching.

    But I do apologize....can you please elect me now.

    October 25, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  21. Thaw

    Mourdock did NOT apologize – he said that people had twisted his statement and he was lying as the video clearly shows that Mourdock stated that if someone is raped then Mourdock would not want them to have an abortion as the birth of the baby was inteded by GOD.

    Unfortunately the GOP will stand by any candidate to get votes and it does not matter how clueless the candidate is.

    October 25, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  22. DERASA

    I think that this election MUST be a referendum on what with think about these guys from the Repiblican way of thinking...

    October 25, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  23. Stevied54

    McCain. What a relic. The people of Arizona must be so proud. He obviously has a chauffeur - I don't think he knows how to get home at night.

    October 25, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  24. Citizen

    when is John McCain going to apoligize for betraying his country in Vietnam?

    October 25, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  25. sputnick1

    This man needs professional help

    October 25, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
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