Mourdock: Rape comment was misinterpreted, 'I spoke from the heart'

Richard MourdockElectionsAbortion IssuePoliticsTea Party MovementU.S. SenateJoe Donnelly

Republican senatorial candidate Richard Mourdock tried to do some damage control Wednesday following remarks that raised the ire of both supporters and detractors.

During Tuesday night’s debate in New Albany, Mourdock fielded a question about abortion, saying he opposes abortion in cases of rape and incest “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended."

He clarified his comments following the debate, but it didn’t stop critics from weighing in. Mourdock countered that his remarks were misinterpreted.

During a news conference Wednesday, Mourdock faced the media to deal with the fallout from the remark, which dominated the discussion following Tuesday’s debate and garnered national attention.

“I believe life is precious,” Mourdock said. “I absolutely abhor violence. I abhor any kind of sexual violence. The God that I worship would never want evil done.”

Mourdock, who’s locked in a tight race against Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, didn’t apologize for the remarks, but expressed regret that some had misunderstood.

“If it was because of a lack of clarity in my words, I truly regret it,” he said. “So many people mistook, twisted, (and) came to misunderstand the points that I was trying to make.”

Mourdock acknowledged that people in his own party didn’t necessarily agree with his position and said he “spoke from the heart” on the issue.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence released a statement urging Mourdock to apologize.

"I strongly disagree with the statement made by Richard Mourdock during last night's Senate debate. I urge him to apologize,” Pence said in the statement.

Indiana Democratic Party Chair Dan Parker accused Mourdock of trying to backtrack on the comments.

“Richard Mourdock is trying to walk away from his reprehensible comments last night and claim that we misrepresented his assertion that pregnancies resulting from rape are part of God's will,” Parker said. “His Presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, who won't say if he still endorses Mourdock, took his words that way.”

Parker continued, “I'm a pro-life Catholic, and I took his words that way. What he said was extreme and terribly disrespectful to rape victims, and he knows it. Before last night, Richard Mourdock was just a Tea Party Zealot, now he is an extreme Tea Party Zealot. He just disqualified himself to be Indiana’s next U.S. Senator.”

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