INDIANAPOLIS – U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock attempted Wednesday to diffuse a national controversy for comments he made involving God, rape and abortion.
But during the meeting with reporters he struggled to clarify himself and apologized for any misinterpretation of his words but not the actual statement.
"I said life is precious. I believe life is precious. I believe rape is a brutal act. It is something that I abhor," Mourdock said Wednesday. "And that anyone could come away with any meaning other than what I just said is regrettable and for that I apologize."
In Tuesday night's debate during a question about whether he supports legalized abortion in the cases of rape, he said ""I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that 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."
The comment immediately lit up social media and became a nationwide sensation.
Mourdock on Wednesday said repeatedly he that believes life is precious and rape is abhorrent. He did not intend to suggest God wants rape or condones evil in any way.
He noted that Democrats are twisting his words, which is what's wrong with Washington, D.C., today.
"It is win at any cost," Mourdock said. "Let's make up issues when we can't find real ones."
When asked directly whether he believes if a pregnancy results from rape God intended it, he said "that's a call above my pay grade."
Mourdock also later could not explain his belief that God controls the universe but isn't responsible for rape.
"That's a theological question."
Mourdock's Democratic opponent in the Nov. 6 election, 2nd District Rep. Joe Donnelly, spoke to reporters about Mourdock's debate remark before and after appearing Wednesday afternoon at a meeting of the Anthony Wayne Rotary Club at Don Hall's Guesthouse in Fort Wayne.
"I was stunned. ... I don't believe that his comments that pregnancies resulting from rape, God intended that to happen - that is not my God," Donnelly said.
"I think it was shocking, and I think it was insulting to women, to survivors of rape and to their families," he said.
As for Mourdock's claim that his words had been twisted after the fact, Donnelly said, "I think his words were very clear."
Asked why he responded to Mourdock's comment after Tuesday's debate rather than during it, Donnelly said, "I felt that was the appropriate time to respond to that. We had closing arguments coming up as well. I knew we were going to have a chance to talk to (media) after the debate and I thought I'd talk further at that time."
Mourdock's debate comment did not come up during Donnelly's remarks to the Rotary Club or in questions by club members.
Brian Francisco of The Journal Gazette contributed to this story.
The attached Associated Press video contains raw video of Richard Mourdock's news conference on Wednesday. To see the raw video of his comment during the debate, please click here.
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