NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WHAS11 Political Blog) -- A debate response by Republican U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock that passed with no discernible retort or reaction in New Albany Tuesday night is now the spark of a political firestorm in his deadlocked race with Democrat Joe Donnelly.
As each candidate was asked about their shared "pro-life" position, Mourdock said "I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."
After the debate, Donnelly attacked Mourdock's remark while Mourdock assailed as "twisted and sick" any attempt to twist his words to suggest that God intends for rape to happen.
“The God I believe in and the God I know most Hoosiers believe in, does not intend for rape to happen--ever," Donnelly said. What Mr. Mourdock said is shocking, and it is stunning that he would be so disrespectful to survivors of rape."
"God creates life, and that was my point," Mourdock said in a statement released after the debate. "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."
The Mitt Romney campaign distanced itself from Mourdock Tuesday night.
"Gov. Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock's comments, and they do not reflect his views," said press secretary Andrea Saul.
A television ad featuring Romney endorsing Mourdock was released earlier Tuesday.
In August, Missouri Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin ignited a firestorm after saying that “legitimate rape” rarely causes pregnancy.
National GOP leaders urged Akin to leave the race and be replaced by another Republican, but Akin resisted. He is now locked in a tight battle with incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill.
Democratic Senate Campaign Committee
DSCC STATEMENT ON INDIANA SENATE DEBATE: Mourdock Shockingly Suggests Pregnancies Resulting from Rape Were Intended By God
Shripal Shah, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, released the following statement on tonight’s debate in Indiana between Joe Donnelly and Tea Party candidate Richard Mourdock where Mourdock shockingly suggested that pregnancies that result from rapes were intended by God:
“Richard Mourdock’s disturbing comment about rape is a window into Mourdock's extreme view of the world. Indiana can’t afford to send a self-proclaimed 'zealot' and Tea Partier like Richard Mourdock to the Senate."
New Albany, Ind.--Today, Joe Donnelly, candidate for U.S. Senate, released the following statement in regards to Richard Mourdock’s comment regarding rape in the debate this evening.
"I think rape is a heinous and violent crime in every instance,” said Donnelly. “The God I believe in and the God I know most Hoosiers believe in, does not intend for rape to happen--ever. What Mr. Mourdock said is shocking, and it is stunning that he would be so disrespectful to survivors of rape."
When asked about the three candidates’ shared pro-life stances, Mourdock said, "I've struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from god. And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."
Richard Mourdock made the following statement after the second Indiana Senate debate:
"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," stated Richard Mourdock.
Indiana Democratic Party
In tonight’s Senate debate, Republican candidate Richard Mourdock stated that he opposes abortion in cases of rape and incest because “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, it is something that God intended.”
Indiana Democratic Party Chair Dan Parker issued the following statement in response:
“As a pro-life Catholic, I’m stunned and ashamed that Richard Mourdock believes God intended rape. Victims of rape are victims of an extremely violent act, and mine is not a violent God. Do we need any more proof that Richard Mourdock is an extremist who’s out of touch with Hoosiers?”
Gregg Statement on Mourdock Comments
John Gregg released the following statement Tuesday, in response to Richard Mourdock's comments in tonight's debate that "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something God intended":
"I was shocked by Richard Mourdock's comments regarding survivors of rape. Rape is rape, and statements like these rub salt in the wounds of sexual assault survivors everywhere."
"Unfortunately this extreme way of thinking has found its way into our political discourse more and more. Hoosiers have a choice in this election between honoring the Mitch Daniels truce on social issues, and the uncompromising, Pence-Mourdock Tea Party extremism on display tonight. Congressman Pence did not stand up when Mourdock attacked Richard Lugar in the primary and he did not take a stand against Todd Akin this fall."
Gregg's running mate Senator Vi Simpson said, "As a woman and a mother, I was appalled by Richard Mourdock's insensitive and incendiary comments tonight. Congressman Pence has stood with Mourdock on this issue before. As Election Day approaches, Hoosier voters deserve to know whether or not Congressman Pence shares Mourdock's extreme beliefs."