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Mourdock Stands By Religious Views Following Rape Comments

Senate candidate Richard Mourdock speaks at a press conference Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012.

Embattled GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock says he apologizes if anyone misunderstood his comments during Tuesday’s debate in which he said if pregnancy results from a rape, it is something God intended to happen. But he said Wednesday he will not apologize for his beliefs.

With occasional tears welling up in his eyes, Richard Mourdock stood before a bank of cameras at state Republican Party headquarters Wednesday and described his experience since the debate as humbling. He says his apology is only if anyone misinterpreted what he said in the debate.

“For speaking from my heart, for speaking from the deepest level of my faith, I cannot apologize,” Mourdock says. “I would be less than faithful to my faith if I said anything other than life is precious. I believe it is a gift from God.”

A number of leading Republicans, including presidential candidate Mitt Romney, have distanced themselves from Mourdock’s remarks, but Mourdock says he knows there will be people in his own party who disagree with him.

“This is a policy issue in the sense of where you draw the line at exceptions,” he says. “I understand his position, and I’m sure he understands mine.”

Republican Response

A Mourdock campaign appearance featuring New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte was canceled Wednesday. Mourdock says he is had no personal contact with the Romney campaign and will continue to air television ads featuring the former Massachusetts governor offering an endorsement of Mourdock’s run for the Senate.

A spokesperson for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in a statement the governor disagrees with Mourdock’s comment and that Mourdock’s words do not reflect Romney’s views.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence says he also strongly disagrees with Mourdock’s remarks and urges the embattled state treasurer to apologize.

Democratic Response

Senate candidate Joe Donnelly responded Wednesday to Richard Mourdock’s comment that pregnancies resulting from rape are something God intended. The Democratic Senate hopeful says the comment is hurtful to women, survivors of rape and their families.

Donnelly spoke briefly Wednesday, saying the controversy surrounding Mourdock is not about abortion or politics, but Mourdock’s extreme and hurtful words.

“It is legitimate for Hoosiers to expect candidates running for the United States Senate not to take such positions,” he says.

Donnelly says he had hoped Mourdock would back down from his comments after a night of reflection. When asked whether Mourdock’s remarks could be the turning point of the tight Senate race, Donnelly insisted he was not thinking about the controversy in those terms.

The second district congressman did note that both GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence distanced themselves from the comments.

Democratic state party chair Dan Parker says even though Mourdock is trying to walk back his comments, he exposed himself as an “extreme Tea Party zealot” and “disqualified himself to be Indiana’s next U.S. Senator.”

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