Mourdock became the second GOP Senate candidate to stir an uproar 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." He apologized but has refused to quit his race despite the urging of leaders of his own party, including presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.
Romney distanced himself from Mourdock but did not withdraw his endorsement. A TV ad featuring the Romney supporting Mourdock is airing in Indiana. "Gov. Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock, and Mr. Mourdock's comments do not reflect Gov. Romney's views," Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said.
Mourdock, in one of the country's most expensive and closely watched Senate races against Democrat Rep. Joe Donnelly, was asked during 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.
He maintained Wednesday that he was misunderstood. "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," he said.
"I don't know how these guys come up with these ideas," President Barack Obama said when asked on Wednesday night's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" about Mourdock's remark. "Rape is rape. It is a crime and so these various distinctions about rape . . . don't make any sense to me." With Bloomberg News