Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 24, 2014

Indiana: John McCain, Barack Obama React to Richard Mourdock’s Controversial Remark

The political world has spent the last 40 hours or so issuing condemnations or statements of support for Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R), who made a controversial debate comment that pregnancies resulting from rape are “something that God intended to happen.”

Mourdock and national Republicans have his bid against Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) riding on how the story plays out. Democrats have resoundingly criticized Mourdock, and Republicans are split in their statements.

Democrats sent a flurry of press releases when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) considered withdrawing his support for Mourdock in a pre-taped CNN appearance on Wednesday night. McCain said his support for Mourdock was contingent on whether he “owned up” to the comments and that Mourdock needed to ask for forgiveness.

But this morning, a McCain spokesman explained that Mourdock still has the lawmaker’s support.

“Senator McCain was traveling yesterday in Florida and did not have an opportunity to see Mr. Mourdock’s full press conference before he taped his CNN interview,” McCain spokesman Brian Rogers emailed in a statement. “Senator McCain is glad that Mr. Mourdock apologized to the people of Indiana and clarified his previous statement. Senator McCain hopes the people of Indiana will elect Mr. Mourdock to the U.S. Senate.”

Mourdock sought to clarify his comments on Wednesday and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn has stood by Mourdock. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) was in Indiana campaigning with Mourdock on Wednesday.

One Republican who is not rushing to defend him is Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.). Ayotte canceled a planned appearance on the trail for Mourdock. According to the Concord Monitor, Mourdock’s camp claimed “that the campaign asked Ayotte not to come.”

President Barack Obama addressed the matter Wednesday night on NBC’s “The Tonight Show.”

“I don’t know how these come up with these ideas … rape is rape. It is a crime,” Obama told host Jay Leno. “These various distinctions about rape don’t make too much sense to me, don’t make any sense to me.” He went on to add that Mourdock’s remarks illustrate why it should not be left to only men to make decisions on women’s issues.”

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