(AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney disavowed Senate
candidate Richard Mourdock's comment that when a woman becomes pregnant
during a rape "that's something God intended," but stood by his
endorsement of the Indiana Republican.
competitive Senate races as well as other GOP lawmakers quickly distanced
themselves from Mourdock's remark that came just as polls showed Romney
and the GOP cutting into President Barack Obama's substantial advantage
with female voters. The Obama campaign and other Democrats called on
Romney to withdraw his endorsement for Mourdock and pull his ad now airing
in Indiana on behalf of the Senate candidate.
campaign made it clear it was standing with Mourdock and signaled the ad
would continue to run.
Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock, and Mr. Mourdock's comments do not
reflect Governor Romney's views," said spokeswoman Andrea Saul. "We
disagree on the policy regarding exceptions for rape and incest but still
campaign said the president found Mourdock's comments "outrageous and
demeaning to women" and said the assertions were "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
spokeswoman Jen Psaki: "It is perplexing that he wouldn't demand to have
that ad taken down."
Republican Senatorial Committee stood by Mourdock, but GOP Sen. Kelly
Ayotte of New Hampshire canceled a planned trip to campaign with the
candidate Wednesday and issued a statement saying she disagreed with him.
Rep. Mike Pence, who is running for governor in Indiana, also rejected the
comment and urged Mourdock to apologize.
night, Mourdock was asked during the closing minutes of a debate whether
abortion should be allowed in cases of rape or incest.
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,"
treasurer, who unseated six-term Sen. Richard Lugar in the GOP primary, is
locked in a close race with Rep. Joe Donnelly.
debate, he sought to clarify his comments, issuing a statement saying,
"God creates life, and that was my point. God does not want rape, and by
no means was I suggesting that he does. Rape is a horrible thing, and for
anyone to twist my words otherwise is absurd and sick."
comment recalled GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin's remark this summer about
rape and pregnancy. Akin said in an August interview that women's bodies
have ways of preventing pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape."
Republicans, led by Romney, called for Akin to abandon the race, but he
refused and is pressing ahead against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.
It was unclear
whether the self-inflicted political wounds by Mourdock and Akin decide
their elections on Nov. 6 in Republican-leaning states. But the comments
are clearly problematic for candidates like Brown, who is struggling to
hold onto his seat against Democrat Elizabeth Warren.
"It's not what
I believe," Brown said following a campaign appearance in Boston. "I am a
pro-choice Republican and that's not what I believe and I disagree with
what he said."
Asked if he
still supported Mourdock's candidacy, Brown replied: "Listen, it's up to
the people of Indiana, certainly."
Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson, who faces Rep. Tammy Baldwin in their
competitive Senate race, called Mourdock's comments "really sad."
"I've got a
wife and two daughters and six granddaughters," he said in an interview.
"Anything dealing with rape against women is uncalled for. Period. No
Republican Sen. Dean Heller also disagreed with the comments from Mourdock.
Heller is in a close race with Democrat Shelley Berkley.