INDIANAPOLIS (CBSMiami) – Indiana Republican Senatorial candidate Richard Mourdock provided the Mitt Romney campaign with an unneeded distraction with just two weeks to go in the presidential election.
During a Senate debate in Indiana Tuesday night, Mourdock said pregnancies resulting from rape are “something that God intended to happen.” Mourdock walked the comments back on Wednesday morning saying he doesn’t mean that “God approves of rape,” and apologized if his comments were misunderstood.
But, Mourdock stuck to his position that he does not support abortion, even in the case of rape.
The comments from Mourdock brought immediate scorn from across the political spectrum. Indiana Republican Representative said, “I strongly disagree with the statement made by Richard Mourdock during last night’s Senate debate. I urge him to apologize.”
Former Republican New Jersey Governor Christie Todd Whitman also said that Romney should pull his endorsement from Mourdock.
The Romney campaign told CNN Wednesday that it disagrees with Mourdock’s statement, but will continue to support Mourdock’s campaign to win the Senate seat previously held by Republican Richard Lugar.
The Romney campaign cut an ad for Mourdock this week and told CNN’s Dana Bash that they will not ask the Mourdock campaign to pull the advertisement. The National Republican Senatorial Committee also said it will stand with Mourdock after his comments, according to Politico.
Mourdock’s comments come weeks after Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin said pregnancies couldn’t result from “legitimate rape.” Unlike Mourdock, Republicans quickly distanced themselves from Akin and he was asked repeatedly, even by Romney, to drop out of the Senate race.
Akin refused to drop out of the race, but has received little to no financial help from national Republicans or major Republican Super PAC’s during his campaign.
For Romney, the distraction, even if for only a day or two comes at a critical juncture. The Romney campaign can’t afford any distractions from the campaign that could call into question his support from women or distract from his campaign message.
With less than two weeks to go until the presidential election, each lost hour working to put out a fire like Mourdock’s comments is an hour the campaign can’t use to stay on message against President Barack Obama.
For Democrats, the comments allow them to attach Mourdock to Romney to make the case that both are against women’s issues, which helped the Obama campaign among women earlier in the election cycle.