GOP Senate nominee Richard Mourdock told reporters at a press conference Wednesday in Indianapolis that people misunderstood him during Tuesday night’s debate when he said, “Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
During the press conference, Mourdock, who is pro-life and opposes rape exceptions to abortion bans, repeatedly accused his political opponents of “twisting” his words while also expressing regret if the words were interpreted in a way that was offensive.
“I spoke from my heart. For speaking from my heart, for speaking from the deepest level of my faith, I cannot apologize,” he said. “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. I believe that God would never want anyone harmed, sexually abused, raped. I believe it’s wrong when people want to take what I said and twist it. And if in any way people came away with the wrong meaning, then for that I do apologize.”
One reporter asked Mourdock to clarify that he wasn’t apologizing for the remarks themselves but instead expressing regret for how they were heard.
“That’s correct,” Mourdock said.
It wasn’t just Democrats who were calling on Mourdock to apologize for his comments at the debate. Former Rep. Mike Pence, now the Republican gubernatorial nominee in Indiana, condemned the remarks.
“I strongly disagree with the statement made by Richard Mourdock during last night’s Senate debate,” Pence said. “I urge him to apologize.”
The NRSC stood firm behind Mourdock, sharing his view that outrage over the remarks at the debate was politically motivated.
“Richard and I, along with millions of Americans — including even Joe Donnelly — believe that life is a gift from God,” NRSC chair John Cornyn (R) said in a statement. “To try and construe his words as anything other than a restatement of that belief is irresponsible and ridiculous.”
Other national Republicans have distanced themselves from Mourdock. Mitt Romney, who stars in an ad for Mourdock running statewide in Indiana, said he disagrees with Mourdock’s views. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), who was set to stump for Mourdock Wednesday, said the same thing and her event with Mourdock was canceled.
Mourdock may not be offering the kind of apology that would bring those Republicans back to his side. Here’s some of Mourdock’s opening statement at the press conference, where he accuses his opponents of twisting his words.