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“It’s incredibly irresponsible for anyone to take what Richard said about his views on life to demean his opposition to the detestable act of rape,” Mr. McConnell said. “We’re at the end of an election season here, and I understand each side is looking to make hay out of every comment, but sharing the view of millions of Americans that life begins at conception is Richard’s deeply held personal belief that shouldn’t be misconstrued by partisans to imply something it does not.”

Ed Feigenbaum, publisher of several newsletters on Indiana politics and government, wouldn’t venture a guess as to how the final two weeks of the campaign would play out as a result of the remark, but did offer a possible silver lining for Mr. Mourdock.

Mourdock’s got to be happy that early voting has started awhile back in Indiana,” he said.