U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock apologized Wednesday to anyone who misinterpreted his comments during a Tuesday debate that “life is a gift from God” and that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, it is something that God intended to happen,” saying that he and the God he worships abhor violence while adding that he is a “much more humble person” today.
“I absolutely abhor violence,” Mr. Mourdock said at a Wednesday news conference. “I abhor any kind of sexual violence. I abhor rape. And I’m absolutely confident, as I stand here, that the God that I worship abhors violence, abhors sexual violence, and abhors rape.”
Mr. Mourdock, a tea party-backed candidate who felled longtime Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar in the GOP primary earlier this year, made the comments during a Tuesday debate with his Democratic rival, Rep. Joe Donnelly, and Libertarian candidate Andrew Horning. Recent polls have shown Mr. Mourdock and Mr. Donnelly in a dead heat.
“I am a much more humble person this morning because so many people mistook, twisted, came to misunderstand points that I was trying to make,” Mr. Mourdock said. “And if, because of the lack of clarity in my words, they came away with an impression other than those that I stated moments ago, that life is precious and I abhor violence and that God abhors violence and rape — if they came away with any impression other than that, I truly regret it. I apologize that they came away, and I have certainly been humbled by the fact that so many people think that that somehow was an interpretation.”
The timing of Mr. Mourdock’s comments were somewhat awkward, as Mitt Romney had just cut a candidate-to-camera ad supporting him in the race. A Romney campaign spokeswoman said Mr. Romney disagrees with Mr. Mourdock and that his comments do not reflect the governor’s views, but that he still supports the Indiana treasurer.
Democrats, however, immediately pounced on Mr. Mourdock’s comments.
“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,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters. “This is an issue where Mitt Romney is starring in an ad for this senator and it is perplexing that he wouldn’t demand to have that ad taken down.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), meanwhile, a group that cut ties with Missouri Rep. and U.S. Senate candidate W. Todd Akin after his “legitimate rape” comments, said it was standing by Mr. Mourdock.
“For those who want to twist the comments and use them for partisan political gain — you know, I think that’s what’s wrong with Washington these days,” Mr. Mourdock said. “You know, I spoke from my heart, I spoke with my principle, I spoke from my faith. And if others wish to try to turn those words and somehow use them against me, again, that’s what’s wrong with Washington today. It is win-at-any-cost. Let’s make up issues when we can’t find real ones. Let’s twist, let’s distort, let’s deceive.”