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Democrats seize on Mourdock's rape comment

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Democrats are attacking Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock for saying that when a pregnancy occurs during a rape, the resulting life is "something that God intended."

The comment is roiling a tight race less than two weeks before the election, and threatens to spill over into the presidential contest. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has endorsed Mourdock and appeared in campaign ads for him.

Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said Wednesday that Romney disagrees with Mourdock's opposition to abortion in cases of rape and incest. But she says Romney still supports Mourdock's bid.

Mourdock’s remark came in response to a voter-submitted question toward the end of a debate last night with his opponents, Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly and Libertarian candidate Andrew Horning.

“I believe that life begins at conception,” said Mourdock, the state’s treasurer. “The only exception I have for—to have an abortion is in that case of the life of the mother [being at risk]. I’ve 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 in a news conference Wednesday that he abhors any sexual violence and regrets it if his comment during the debate Tuesday night left another impression. He said he firmly believes that all life is precious and that abhors violence of any kind.

"If they came away with any impression other than that I truly regret it. I apologize if they came away. I've certainly been humbled by the fact that so many people think that somehow was an interpretation," Mourdock said.

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

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

Indiana gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence said Mourdock should apologize for the comment, and a spokeswoman for Republican congressional candidate Susan Brooks said she disagreed with Mourdock.

But the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which has invested heavily in Mourdock and Indiana, said their candidates' 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.

Democrats, however, quickly pounced on the comment, highlighting Mourdock’s ties to Romney.

Jen Psaki, a campaign spokeswoman for Barack Obama, told reporters traveling to a campaign rally in Iowa Wednesday that the president thought Mourdock’s comments were “outrageous and demeaning to women.”

“This is a reminder that a Republican Congress working with a Republican President Mitt Romney would feel that women should not be able to make choices about their own health care,” Psaki said.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Obama campaign officials and the Democratic opposition research group American Bridge were among those who reminded voters on Twitter of Romney’s backing of Mourdock. The DCCC asked its 85,580 Twitter followers to “sign and retweet” a petition telling Romney to “denounce Richard Mourdock for his disgusting anti-woman views.”

American Bridge cut a video combining Romney’s endorsement of Mourdock and the Senate candidate’s statements of his own views, beginning with the pregnancy from rape is “something God intended” remark. The Democratic National Committee made a similar video.

Following the debate, Mourdock further explained that his point was “God creates life.”

“God does not want rape, and by no means was I suggesting that he does,” Mourdock said in a prepared statement, adding, “for anyone to twist my words otherwise is absurd and sick.”

Donnelly issued a statement calling his opponent’s comments “shocking” and saying that “it is stunning that he would be so disrespectful to survivors of rape.”

Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, criticized Romney’s response as “tepid,” while Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called Mourdock’s remarks “callous, insulting and completely out of touch.” Both groups called on Romney to rescind his endorsement of Mourdock.

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Patty Murray of Washington described Mourdock’s comments as “heinous” and called on Romney to demand that the ad in which Romney appears alongside Mourdock be taken down.

“While Mitt Romney is rightly distancing himself from Richard Mourdock today, his ad endorsing Mourdock’s extreme candidacy continues to air in Indiana,” Murray said in a statement. “If Mitt Romney is serious about repudiating these heinous views on rape, he will take down this ad immediately.”

Romney voiced his support for Mourdock in an ad that began airing Oct. 22 in Evansville, according to Kantar Media’s CMAG, which tracks advertising.

Obama’s re-election campaign has aired ads saying Romney would overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. Romney’s campaign, which wants to focus on the economy, is running an ad in some Virginia markets featuring a woman who says Romney “doesn’t oppose contraception at all” and “thinks abortion should be an option in cases of rape, incest or to save a mother’s life.”

The Indiana contest is among the most closely watched in the U.S. Senate, along with races in Massachusetts, Missouri and Virginia. Republicans must hold all five of their competitive seats in the Nov. 6 election and pick up four seats to win control of the Senate, which Democrats control 53-47.

An anti-tax Tea Party favorite, Mourdock defeated six-term Republican incumbent Richard Lugar by 20 percentage points in a May primary with an anti-tax, anti-Washington message. Mourdock’s general election contest with Donnelly is rated as a toss-up by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

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  • Don't govern us by your God's plan
    I am familiar with the Ryan White story. I'm going to guess that if you had asked Ryan before he died whether he would rather have not had AIDS and lived a normal life, or whether he was happy to have played his role as part of God's plan, he would have opted to live a normal, AIDS-free life. I think it's ridiculous to believe that every bad thing that happens in the world should be accepted as "just part of God's plan." If a child dies as a passenger in a vehicle that drives into a telephone pole, I think it's pretty asinine to expect the parents to be consoled by the understanding that it was part of the plan of the God that loves them. And I don't want to be governed by people who create laws based on what they believe their God wants them to impose upon others.
  • my apology
    Team Romney person - I am sorry and you are right I did not recognize yor response was too anotehr person brining up Ryan White. Sorry that I did not read their comment.
  • Rights
    Team Romney - The existence of Roe v. Wade in no way infringes on your rights. You are free to exercise your beliefs on this, and most other so called "social" issues. The fact you can't reconcile this with your all to noisy insistence with small government and supremacy of "individual liberties" is a problem you and your therapist will have to resolve.
  • Since we're off topic though...
    neither the Democrats or Republicans are good for the nation's economy, because they are both owned and operated by the banksters and global corporation CEOs, and their lobbyists who are more concerned with short-term profits for those at the top than they are concerned with stabilizing, let alone restoring, the middle and lower classes. Their failed policies of exporting almost all our manufacturing jobs to countries we can't possibly compete with due to their abysmally weak labor and environmental laws provides ample evidence, as do the laws written to allow greater Wall Street siphoning of money from the economy to the detriment of everyone else. What has either party done about these issues? Until they do, I'll be voting for independents and third parties.
  • Back on topic
    I agree with Moochie that it's more principled to say that all fetuses have a right to life, rather than saying that all fetuses, except those produced by rape or incest, have a right to life. But, my problem is with the statement by Mourdock that implies that he will govern based on what he believes his God would want, without regard to logic and facts. How do I know he won't oppose safety improvements or pollution controls, because maybe he believes it's his God's plan that more of us die of car accidents or from asthma, cancer, emphysema or whatever. If we find a cure to cancer, does that mean we are thwarting God's plan for a lot of people to die of cancer, or had God simply planned for X number of people to die before we found a cure? I'll take government based on independent analysis of the facts and the needs of people, not based on superstition please.
  • Another Intellectually Dishonest Liberal
    Reply to "Fake" Palin: You should read "Reckless Endangerment" by Gretchen Morgenson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist at The New York Times, and Joshua Rosner, an expert on housing finance. It chronicles the real reasons for the U.S. economic collapse and dispels the myths shouted by Liberals, progressives and Democrats, and amplified by their hoard of blind supporters in the mainstream media that "President Bush and his policies were the one and only thing that caused the Great Recession." Blame can be shared by both parties going back decades. The Left's hate and envy of highly successful people stems from their ever-so Harrison Bergeron desire to make us all equally average and seeks to criminalize the exceptional outliers like Bush and Romney. I think they would prefer you thank them for creating the jobs and wealth that have provided for thousands of American families for a generation, instead of attacking them with intellectually dishonest and sanctimonious talking points straight out of Chicago.
    • VOTE ROMNEY AND PUT WOMEN IN THEIR PLACE!
      As if it's not bad enough that Romney is a witless empty suit, the last witless empty suit the Republicans put in office took this country to the brink. I shudder to think what would happen if the same people that caused this mess are allowed back in. Willard and his rats are flat out dangerous to America and everything she stands for.
      • RESPONSE TO HEATHER
        Not that your progressive mindset will allow you to care about what happens or happened to a Conservative, but you happen to be calling a rape victim an idiot. Yes, I, a Conservative who believes in God, was raped 19 years ago as a sophomore in college. Just because I chose to comment WITHOUT first revealing my personal connection to the topic does not mean I don't know what I am talking about. Not one single person on here has made a case against the fact that NOTHING Richard Mourdock said is anything but his own personal view on abortion and he was/is already on the record as being pro-life with a couple of exceptions. I find it AMAZING that any politician would have the courage to stand up for what he believes in in such a hostile environment - an environment where his opposition is so openly hostile to religion, so much so that they erased God completely from their platform. At the top of the ticket, President Obama is so extreme on abortion that he has voted for and passionately argued for abortion WITHOUT RESTRICTION - he believes it is perfectly legal and acceptable to abort a baby for ANY REASON (not my opinion, it is his record). While Obama and the handful of people who share his outrageous view would find unrestricted abortion acceptable, an overwhelming majority of Americans do not. I want answers on Libya. I want answers on Fast and Furious. I want to know how we are going to pay off $16 trillion in debt. I want to know how we are going to dig out of a $1 trillion spending deficit. I want to know how we are ever going to get the 23 million unemployed Americans working again. These are the answers I care about. Learning that - SURPRISE - a pro-life candidate is ACTUALLY pro-life and gives an honest pro-life answer (despite the fact that his opponents and apparently Heather, want to turn his genuinely honest personal answer into a grotesque support of rape), is not new information.
      • What an idiot
        He is an idiot just like Romney- Apprently he knows of no one that has been raped!
        • RESPONSE TO NATACHA
          Arguing LOGIC with a deity is a dangerous game, in my opinion. I think this is where faith comes into play for believers. Even though I don't understand God's logic, I accept that he loves me and that my life has purpose. I know this has been a comfort in my own life when facing tragedies.
        • Of course they take it out of context
          what else would you expect from a bunch of petty critics. He has explained and they are just looking for ways to put him down and to try to upset the applecart just as they are doing wiht Pence. The Dems put us in one of the most awful financial messes this state had seen in years and now they cant do anything excpet try to undermine a successful party that got us out of the mess they put us in. Spend Spend Spend thats all they know how to do.This state outranks 0% of the others and Mitch Daniels is leaving a legacy and why upst the ball rolling in the right direction. Petty Petty
        • RESPONSE TO BIG B
          I COMPLETELY agree that it is twisted to compare Ryan White's story with rape victims and it is a comparison THAT I DID NOT MAKE. My post was in response to "Separation of church and mind" who dismissed Ryan White's struggle and suffering as meaningless with her or his flippant series of unexplained human tragedies. MY POST pointed out that Ryan's impact on the world was indeed full of meaning. Your daggers are pointed at the wrong person.
          • Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say
            A person of integrity thinks about an issue, takes a stand and then stands by it. Romney says whatever it takes to get what he wants. He was a liberal when he wanted to be Governor of Massachusetts, he was an extreme conservative when he wanted the Republican nomination and needed the Tea Party's support, he supported Mourdock before Mourdock shot off his mouth. He'll dump Mourdock if opinion polls show that it is expedient to do so. As to Mourdock, if God intended for a baby to result from a rape, then God logically wanted the rape, too.
            • fletchmon?
              where is the bad judgement? i think the bad judgement is voting for obamacare...voting for every bailout...not paying your taxes...voting to make pelosi speaker of the house... your precious government is corrupt and donnelly is on that train.
              • hogwash
                we have a candidate who is willing to cut spending and help reform our broken government - by far the biggest issue facing our country. all i see in these post is complete partisan hatred. if you really care about the future of this country then Mourdock is the clear choice. the fact that the MSM is attacking him so much is a clear sign that the establishment is terrified of him. Lugar was great but after 36 years he was clearly part of the problem - not the solution. stay clear of party politics and vote the issues!
              • Mourdock Danger
                A lot of people are missing the greater point. If he would make such and ill considered statement and then try to backpedal away from it...how reliable would he be as a decision maker in government? Not very. I don't want a person who shows such bad judgement in office, regardless of which political party. Senate is more powerful position than Governor or Mayor and often more than the Presidency. Those of you supporting this ill-advised candidate should be ashamed.
                • not even close to fair to compare this to Ryan White
                  While some comments on these stories are some times just stupid and only a opinion of one person. I certainly wish that they had some sort of apptitude test harder thenwritng two words in a screen to let your story be told. Becasue to compare Ryan White's terrible tainted blood transfusion to a rape victoms choice not to have a child is not fair, is not even close to the same situation. You know that there are children / people out there who were born as a result of rape. There are people out there who are alive even as a result of their mother dying during giving them life. And yes there are some lives that were not granted because the female was raped and was not ready to have a child for some reason. As well there are mothers who had to abort a life in order for tehm to live and provide for their family. I cant judge them. But I can say the person who header is team romney response. You are indeed very twisted and confused. The compairison you made is hanus!! enough said on that for sure.
                  • SIGH
                    Personally we need to be focusing on jobs, economy and gas prices, and not these pseduo-discussions on social issues that does not concern everyone. The liberals use this as a distraction, and trips up conservative politicians and they fall for it everytime. I would rather have someone that stands for something and say it, popular or unpopular then to pander and say anything for the vote like Donnelly! But in the same token, while I understand his comment, I also can not help to think that in some way it slaps the face of women who has ever been victim of rape. It is an awful experience, and I can only imagine. I really wish GOP candidates would stay away from this area because until they experience rape should not really comment about it.
                  • Separation of Mind and HUMANITY
                    You seem to have no understanding of the POWERFUL impact the life of Ryan White has had on mankind. To indicate that suffering and heartache have no meaning or higher purpose makes me feel sorry for you and wonder how desperate and alone you must feel. Ryan White's fight for his life and his perserverance inspired countless people and REVERSED stereotypes and stigmas about AIDS at a time when people were terrified and irrational. Personally, I would like to believe that-that was part of God's plan for us and that Ryan is reaping his reward in heaven. I think the same about the other situations you mentioned that we view as unfortunate, but that God may have designed for similarly inspirational reasons. I am thankful that I do not see it as a random act of the universe and that we are all alone, waiting to die and rot with no purpose.
                    • Tough issue
                      I'm pro-choice... for lack of a better label. I consider pro-lifers to have a principled and honorable position, albeit one that I don't agree with. In short, I consider pro-lifers to be wrong for all the right reasons. I don't have a problem with Mr. Mourdock's statement. After all, if one truly believes that abortion is murder, how can "murder" be justified in cases of rape and incest? I believe that in this instance that Mr. Mourdock gave an honest statement that reflects his beliefs. I don't think he should backpedal on it. And I'll be voting for the other guy.
                    • Gifts from God
                      All babies are a gift from God, especially those bestowed upon 13-year old mothers while other responsible nurturing adults are cursed with infertility. My good health is a gift from God, but God wanted Ryan White to suffer and die from AIDS. The food at my family's thanksgiving dinner table is blessing from God, but God wants hundreds of millions of other children around the world to starve.
                      • Anything by Donnelly's voting record
                        All of the sparrows are chirping today, about nothing. Any distraction is a welcome distraction...from Donnelly's fictional character of a moderate, who is 'Not sure who I'd vote for as a Senate Majority leader'...right...especially after H. Reid's PAC has spent over $ 1.5 Million in media buys to distort two records...Donnelly's and Mourdocks. This won't fly..most Hoosiers are way smarter than that.
                      • What does Donnelly REALLY believe?
                        What is "controversial" about a pro-life public servant stating that he believes "babies are a gift from God?" Joe Donnelly has said the EXACT SAME THING. Does Donnelly believe that some babies are a gift from God and some are not? Mourdock's comment doesn't appear to be anything but a restatement of what everybody already knows about him, that he is pro-life. What concerns me more is Donnelly's OBVIOUS right-leaning comments and positions that evaporate at decision time. I would rather vote for the candidate who stands for something (popular or not) than the one who is pandering for my vote and stands for whatever President Obama and leaders Reid and Pelosi tell him to do.
                      • Foolow up
                        By the way, I will still be voting for you, because dumbocrats are running our county in the ground due to their socialist leader (nobama), but rest assured, I believe you (Murdock)need to get out there on your apology tour, and I hope that you were simply caught off guard by Donnelly who obviously is attemping to distract voters with this type of nonsense.
                      • THINK FIRST
                        This is getting old! I happen to be very conservative, and a christian. If my wife was raped, I would not only cut the person's head off that did it, but I would have my wife STRONGLY consider an abortion. I disagree that this was an act created by God, and I do not want to be associated with this type of ignorance by my party. We need to get the hell away from discussions of religous beliefs and discuss jobs, gas prices, and taxes. Dumbocrats continue to hound conservatives about this issue because they know there is a chance that the conservative will say something stupid. Listen dumbocrats...conservatives do not believe that abortion should be used as a method of birth control, and we do not want to pay for women's birth control or abortions that are being done as a method of birth control. Dumbocrats have no record this year, so they are trying to act like they are into women's rights and they fight continously for women's rights. This is simply a distraction, and everytime a republican candidate makes remarks like this, it makes us all look ignorant. Great job Murdock!!!
                        • Lugar Voter
                          The Senate race is over. Donnelly was up by 2% over Mourdock according to Howey Politics just before the debate. Mourdock can't recover from this gaffe. I will be thinking of Dick Lugar and what could have been when I vote against Mourdock on November 6.
                        • Buffoonery
                          His comment is being blown out of proportion. However, since what he was actually trying to say is horrible enough in its own right, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.
                        • No Misinterpretation Here
                          I heard what he said live last night and there was no way to misinterpret or misconstrue what he said. It was a horrible thing to say.
                        • Nonsense!
                          this is a nonsense issue that Democrats are seizing upon. Clearly, Mourdock's statement was gaffe, as he told the Star. Mourdock's position on abortion is the same as Donnelly's for most purposes.

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