Romney Distances Himself from Mourdock's Comments

Tuesday, 23 Oct 2012 11:00 PM

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A spokeswoman for Mitt Romney says the GOP presidential hopeful disagrees with comments made by Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock about rape and pregnancy.

During a debate Tuesday in Indiana, Mourdock said when a woman becomes pregnant during a rape, "that's something God intended."

"I struggled with it myself a long time but I came to realize that life is a gift from God, that I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something that God intended to happen," Mourdock said during a debate with Democratic challenger, Joe Donnelly.

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Mourdock, Indiana's state treasurer and a tea party favorite, made the comments after saying that he believes abortion should not be allowed, except in cases where the mother's life is at risk.

His comments quickly drew criticism from Democrats, including  Donnelly, who is locked in a tight race with Mourdock, The Associated Press reported.

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said Tuesday in an email to The Associated Press that Mourdock's comments "do not reflect" Romney's views.

On Monday, a new ad featuring Romney giving his support for the GOP candidate started airing in Indiana. It was the latest effort by both parties to break open the Senate race.

Mourdock later clarified his statement. "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," he said.

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The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which cut Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin off after his remarks in late August that "legitimate rape" rarely results in pregnancy, said the latest comments were starkly different and defended what Mourdock said.

"Of course we stand by him — it'd be patently ridiculous not to stand by him," National Republican Senatorial Committee Executive Director Rob Jesmer told The Hill Tuesday night. "What he said, and millions of people believe, is life is a gift from God. That is something a lot of Republicans and a lot of Democrats believe. Most pro-life people believe life is a gift."

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