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Indiana Senate candidate stands by rape comment

By Tom LoBianco

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:56 a.m. HST, Oct 24, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS » Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said today that he is standing by his statement that when a woman becomes pregnant during a rape "that's something God intended." He says some people have twisted the meaning of his comment.

Mourdock said in a news conference that he abhors any sexual violence and regrets it if his comment during a debate Tuesday night left another impression. He said he firmly believes all life is precious and that he abhors violence of any kind.

"I spoke from my heart. And speaking from my heart, speaking from the deepest level of my faith, I would not apologize. I would be less than faithful if I said anything other than life is precious, I believe it's a gift from god," Mourdock said

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and other Republicans have distanced themselves from Mourdock's stance.

Mourdock, who has been locked in one of the country's most expensive and closely watched Senate races, was asked during the final minutes of a debate Tuesday night whether abortion should be allowed in cases of rape or incest.

"I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that 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," Mourdock said.

Mourdock maintained at the news conference that he was misunderstood.

"I think that God can see beauty in every life," Mourdock said. "Certainly, I did not intend to suggest that God wants rape, that God pushes people to rape, that God wants to support or condone evil in any way."

Mourdock became the second GOP Senate candidate to find himself on the defensive over comments about rape and pregnancy. Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin said in August that women's bodies have ways of preventing pregnancy in cases of what he called "legitimate rape." Since his comment, Akin has repeatedly apologized but has refused to leave his race despite calls to do so by leaders of his own party, including GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte canceled her plan to campaign today with Mourdock. Ayotte's spokesman, Jeff Grappone, said that the senator disagrees with Mourdock's comments, which do not represent her views.

More than two dozen Indiana Republicans met for the Mourdock fundraiser Ayotte was supposed to headline this afternoon. Speaking inside the fundraiser hosted by the Indianapolis Women's Republican Club, state party chairman Eric Holcomb declined comment on Mourdock's refusal to apologize.

"I think he covered it," Holcomb said. Asked if Ayotte's cancellation would hurt Mourdock's fundraising, Holcomb said "I think we're full steam ahead."

Mourdock also was scheduled to appear at a Republican fundraiser tonight in the wealthy Indianapolis suburb of Carmel.

Other Republicans were split on their reaction to Mourdock this morning.

Indiana gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence, who has been a leading social conservative in Congress, said Mourdock should apologize for the comment. Spokeswomen for the two Republican women running for Congress in Indiana, Jackie Walorski and Susan Brooks, said they also disagreed with Mourdock's comments.

But the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which has invested heavily in Mourdock and Indiana, said the candidate's words were being twisted.

"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," NRSC Chairman and Texas Sen. John Cornyn said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear what effect Mourdock's comments might have during the final two weeks in the increasingly tight race against Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly. But they could prove problematic. Romney distanced himself from Mourdock on Tuesday — a day after a television ad featuring the former Massachusetts governor supporting the GOP Senate candidate began airing in Indiana.

"Gov. Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock, and Mr. Mourdock's comments do not reflect Gov. Romney's views. We disagree on the policy regarding exceptions for rape and incest but still support him," Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul told The Associated Press today. Romney aides said his ad supporting Mourdock would not be pulled from Indiana's airwaves.

National Democrats quickly picked up on Mourdock's statement and used it as an opportunity to paint him as an extreme candidate, calling him a tea party "zealot." DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz described Mourdock's comments as "outrageous and demeaning to women" and called on Romney to take his pro-Mourdock ad off the air.

Mourdock has consistently opposed abortion, with the exception of cases where the mother's life is in danger. His stark anti-abortion stance earned him the endorsement of Indiana Right to Life in the Republican primary and the general election.

In response, Donnelly said after the debate in southern Indiana that he doesn't believe "my God, or any God, would intend that to happen."

Mourdock, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress three times before becoming state treasurer, became one of the tea party's biggest winners of the 2012 primary season when he knocked off veteran Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar in a brutal campaign. Initially, national Republicans stayed out of the Indiana race because the race had appeared to be a likely win for the GOP.

But as the race grew tighter in recent months, Mourdock changed his tune and started trying to woo moderate voters. At the same time, top Republicans began stumping for Mourdock around the state in a push to break open the high-stakes Senate race. Republicans need to gain three seats, or four if President Barack Obama wins re-election, and seats that were predicted to remain or turn Republican have grown uncertain.

Donnelly, a moderate Democrat who opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest or where the life of the mother is in danger, has spent much of his campaign highlighting Mourdock's tea party ties and trying to accuse him of being too extreme even for conservative Indiana.

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RichardCory wrote:
>“Are you trying to suggest somehow that God preordained rape, no I don’t think that,” Mourdock said. Well, you said that if life begins with rape, it's something God intended, so that's exactly what you suggested.
on October 24,2012 | 04:40AM
false wrote:
Sick and twisted is right. My body, my decision. God made me to have a brain and reason and decide. Men!
on October 24,2012 | 05:54AM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
False, please don't blame all men. There are many good men who have done the right thing, including deeply religious Catholic men such as the late Governor John Burns, a dyed in the wool Catholic. Gov..Burns was personally against abortion. Gov. Burns also realized that as Governor, he was a public servant and as such had to put the interests of the people above his own personal beliefs. He and another dyed in the wool Catholic, State Sen. Vincent Yano, legalized abortion in Hawaii several years before Roe v. Wade, because both Catholics believed that they had to put the interests of the people above their private beliefs.
on October 24,2012 | 11:50AM
nitpikker wrote:
america shows it has its share of wackos!!
on October 24,2012 | 06:26AM
3ocean3000 wrote:
These guys are a bunch of ignorant neanderthals and I fear the consequences of having them in any position of power in government. Separation of church and state? Yeah, right.
on October 24,2012 | 06:39AM
Descartes22 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on October 24,2012 | 07:04AM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
Descartes22, you are 100% correct. Despite Lingle's rhetoric,if elected she will firmly support the voting out of Sen. Dan Inouye of his chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The Chairman decides which projects get funded. When the Republicans took control of the Senate in 1980, Sen. Inouye was removed as the Chairman of Senate Armed Services Appropriations sub-Committee. Right after that there were huge cuts in Armed Services appropriations for Pearl Harbor, Hickham, Schofield, Wheeler and Kaneohe military bases. If Lingle is elected, she will vote to remove Sen. Inouye, and the nightmare will be repeated.
on October 24,2012 | 10:00AM
soshaljustic wrote:
And, Romney supported this guy the day before! Romney wants to defund Planned Parenthood! Why? Planned Parenthood seeks to offset the damage done by the support of these gifts from god left by the rape angels sent by god to the binders of women! Sick Republican mindset.
on October 24,2012 | 08:41AM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
Soshaljustic, you are absolutely right. Mourdock is a warped fanatic. I'm not Christian, but all my Christian friends, even the most conservative ones, say rape is the work of the Devil, Satan, NOT God. Those friends say the same thing about incest. Those friends who oppose abortion say that it's okay to have abortion for pregnancies that result from rape, incest and for the health of the mother because such things are not the work of God.
on October 24,2012 | 10:12AM
kainalu wrote:
Spooky. Which is why we want nothing what-so-ever to do with religion controlling our government - you know - like Iran. Richard Mourdock would make a great Ayatollah-controlled puppet.
on October 24,2012 | 09:38AM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
Kainalu, you are 100% correct. Especially with Thanksgiving right around the corner, most people need to be reminded that the part of the First Amendment protection of religion is to separate the government from churches (separation of church and state). That clause is in the First Amendment because the Pilgrims were being discriminated against by the British government's official church, namely the Church of England, and therefore came to America to obtain religious freedom from the British government.
on October 24,2012 | 11:41AM
false wrote:
Go ahead people elect Romney and the likes of them. This is the kind of thinking you'll ge. Is this guy married and does he have daughters? This dude is insane!
on October 24,2012 | 10:22AM
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