FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incow.tv) - Comments about rape turn Indiana's U.S. Senate race upside down.
Candidate Richard Mourdock summoned reporters Wednesday to say his words were mistook or twisted for political gain.
It was in the closing minutes of Tuesday’s final debate for Richard Lugar's open seat.
Republican Richard Mourdock was laying out his opposition to abortion, saying he supports the exception of when a mother's life is in danger, but not in the case of rape.
" I came to realize that life is a gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen," Mourdock said.
That ten-second answer put Mourdock and his campaign at the center of a firestorm of reaction.
Democratic opponent Joe Donnelly, in Fort Wayne to speak to a rotary club, says Mourdock needs to apologize.
" I think those comments were an insult to women, were an insult to victims of rape, and to their families as well," said the Congressman from South Bend.
The day after the debate Mourdock claimed he never meant to say that rape is God's intention.
He said he believes all life is precious, that he abhors all violence, that he spoke from the heart, with principle, and from his faith.
" And if others wish to try to turn those words and somehow use them against me, again, that's what's wrong with Washington."
The controversy reaches beyond the senate race.
Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney recently cut a TV spot endorsing Mourdock for the U.S. Senate.
But Romney’s campaign says Mourdock's comments on rape don't reflect his views.
The popular political blog, the Huffington Post, is reporting that Romney's campaign is still supporting Richard Mourdock for the Senate, and is not asking Mourdock to stop airing the ad."
Could Romney suffer damage from his association with Mourdock?
" If he moves too quickly away from a Republican in this, it could have a backlash among those who are pro life bar none. He's really put in a spot here, where he has got to be judicious in how he handles this," says Michael Wolf, a political science professor at IPFW.
The Washington correspondent for the British Broadcasting Corporation is now assigned to cover the controversial senate race.
" It makes it a more newsworthy race for us certainly. It's difficult to call on the polls. I guess, it's a gift that keeps on giving for Joe Donnelly, though," says the BBC’s Jonny Dymond.
13 days to see if Mourdock and his party will overcome or live in regret.
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