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Mourdock's answer to rape question overshadows debate

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Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock ignited a firestorm with a response to a question about rape late in Tuesday night's debate with Democratic challenger Rep. Joe Donnelly.

Mourdock said when a woman becomes pregnant during a rape, the resulting life is "something God intended."

Mourdock, who's been locked in one of the country's most watched Senate races, was asked during the final minutes of the debate 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.

Later Tuesday after the debate, Mourdock further explained he did not believe God intended the rape, but that God is the only one who can create life.

"Are you trying to suggest somehow that God preordained rape, no I don't think that," said Mourdock. "Anyone who would suggest that is just sick and twisted. No, that's not even close to what I said."

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 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 during a television interview 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, from GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on down.

It was not immediately clear what effect Mourdock's comments might have during the final two weeks before the Nov. 6 election. But they could prove problematic. Romney distanced himself from Mourdock on Tuesday night — 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's comments, and they do not reflect his views," Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in an email to The Associated Press. Romney aides would not say whether the ad would be pulled and if the Republican presidential nominee would continue to support Mourdock's Senate bid.

Other Republicans did not immediately weigh in. Indiana Republican Party spokesman Pete Seat referred comment to the Mourdock campaign. A spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee and a spokeswoman for Romney did not immediately return a request for comment Tuesday night.

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 woman" and called on Romney to take his pro-Mourdock ad off the air.

Along with Romney's ad, top Republicans have been flocking to Indiana as part of an effort to break open the high-stakes Senate. 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.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell came to Indianapolis for a fundraiser Monday, and Arizona Sen. John McCain and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham campaigned for Mourdock last week. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte is due in the state Wednesday.

Romney's coattails carry special significance in deeply conservative Indiana, where Mourdock has underperformed Romney by 12 points in most public polls. Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS also has bought another $1 million of airtime in Indiana, making his group the biggest player in Indiana's Senate race. A message left for Crossroads GPS spokesman Nate Hodson was not immediately returned.

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  • god
    Listen up people. Put yourself in the situation... If you were raped and got pregnant would you keep the baby? Would you love the baby? What would you tell this child when they grew up when they ask who is my father ? No one and o do mean no one has the right to tell that woman what she should do. It needs to be her choice. After all she is the victim. With all the stuff that goes on in this world im sure God will forgive her and understand any choices she makes. Enough said. So anything you negative people say is not needed. What would you do? I also believe if a guy raped a girl and she becomes pregnant and has an abortion the guy should be tried for murder along with rape of his victims. You people believe abortion takes away life well how do you think the woman feels after being raped? This is taking away her soul. So abortion is up to the woman case closed.
  • RE: Alive is alive
    What baffles my mind is how you all justify the murder (termination of life) of an unborn child so casually. You all paint it as women's rights, women's freedom, and living with the evil of a rape (or incest). How is this so different from euthanizing mentally disturbed patients 100 years ago. We saw those doctors as monsters for killing those 'people', but flame a man who points to the baby who is killed as a 'person' being murdered. See the bigger picture. I for one haven't liked Mourdock since before the primaries, but he seems to have a more holistic view of the situation when abortion is taking place (it's the mother AND the baby).
  • Enough..is enough
    It is time to pull the plug on this guy...and ask Dick Lugar to come back. I have had enough and will write in Dick Lugar’s name in November. You just witnessed a very nice ‘empty suit’ on stage... that will lose the seat. Thank you Tea party...you did it again. Maybe next time...we ask... ‘Who is this guy...Anyway’…before we get rid of a true “statesman”..
  • Re: Craig
    Craig - I think what you don't understand is that even the most devout have a hard time telling women they should be forced to carry to term the product of a violent, criminal act. Mourdock is completely out of step with the vast majority of believers and non-believers.
  • Get A Clue
    I just talked to god. Said politics is not religion. Said men should shut up and listen to the women on this one.
  • Ridiculous!
    It's an offensive belief. Stop treating Women as 'things' that just so happen to live in a Man's world. This has nothing to do with God. Nor should a pregnancy resulting from a rape be considered a gift.
  • Seriously?
    Ever hear of Satan? This guy is a joke.
  • Alive is alive.
    I think the problem is that most people don't understand the God of the Bible. In the very least, He allows, if not causes, all events to occur. We may not like this, but that doesn't make it less true. God's ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Mourdock seems to understand this.
    • just a question
      I don't think I am a fan of Mourdock but I do have a question about his response. Does anyone think it is the baby's fault the rape happened? Are we punishing an innocent life if we allow abortion to take place? I think this is a piece of the story that is never really discussed and I think it at least needs to be considered
    • Thanks Richard Lugar!!
      Now look what we're facing. An idiot Republican that put his foot all the way down his throat or a possible swing to the Reid/Pelosi majority. I'd rather have an old smart man in this seat than either of these jokers.
    • lets just hope the smart hoosiers do all the voting
      Too bad that didn't happen last time.
    • Dumb Down Hoosiers
      call it like he is: MAD MURDOCK !
    • mourdock
      When you go to the polls to vote lets just hope the smart hoosiers do all the voting. If this guy wins were in big trouble. Stepping back in time. People in public offices and just like you and i using their belief opinions on what's right or wrong for citizens. Everyone who reads this will have an opinion some agree and some don't but im not running for office so no voting aloud lol... But this guy in my opinion does not belong in office deciding my life outcome.
      • Mourdock's answer
        For the second time in recent months, Hoosiers display ignorance and stupidity. The first time was in the primary election.
      • Seperation of Church & State
        I am voting against ALL politicians that feel the need to justify themselves and their policies by invoking God. I like our secular government and reject the zealots that seem determined to turn our government into a theocracy modeled on Iran.
      • You Are Kidding - Right?
        That statement is as bad as his. NO ONE, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, deserves that.
      • You Are Kidding - Right?
        What are the TEA Party candidates drinking with their daily Kool Aid? None of these men should be allowed to run for public office if they cannot prove that they passed high school freshman biology and social studies. I think Mourdock has been reading too many Akin Emails. If women for this clown they deserve the end results.

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