Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mourdock's Foot in Mouth

Seems our earlier post on senate aspirant Richard Mourdock wasn't without some credence.  Guess Richard will earn the Joe Biden Foot in Mouth Award for October.

Here is the latest from Congressional Quarterly's Daily Briefing:


"THE ‘R’ WORD: The Senate Republican leadership raced to Richard Mourdock’s side this morning, while the Romney campaign gave him as wide a berth as possible.

The reasons, both for the approach and the avoidance, are easy to understand. McConnell has a much
smaller chance of becoming majority leader, and John Cornyn has a slimmer shot at being labeled a campaign maestro, if the Indiana seat flips to the Democrats. And perhaps the only way to prevent that from happening is for the GOP to launch an immediate and all-out spin control effort to change the narrative about the state treasurer’s comments last night on rape, pregnancy and God’s omnipotence. The presidential candidate, by contrast, is absolutely counting on Indiana’s 11 electoral votes as part of his base — and on keeping his gender gap nationally in the single digits — and so it’s imperative that he disavow what Mourdock seemed to say and create as much distance from the going-viral contretemps as possible.

The Romney camp may have the tougher task. “Gov. Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock’s comments, and they do not reflect his views,” spokeswoman Andrea Saul said last night. But just last week, he agreed to put his Hoosier coattails (he’s performing about 10 points better than Mourdock in state polls) to work for the Senate candidate, and this week the airwaves have been filled with Romney offering a strong endorsement of Mourdock. The spot is all about his fiscal conservatism, however. (Obama campaign spokesman Jen Psaki derided Mourdock’s comments today as “outrageous and demeaning to women,” and said it was “perplexing” Romney hasn’t demanded the ad be taken down.)

Even if Romney agrees to pull the spot, it will live on forever in cyberspace — and independent groups backing Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly have already begun splicing the governor’s testimonial with what Mourdock said last night near the end of their final debate: “I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time,” he said, his voice cracking as he discussed his view that abortion should be permitted only to save the pregnant woman’s life. “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 remark immediately drew comparisons to the comments Rep. Todd Akin made about pregnancies resulting from “legitimate rape” at the outset of his general election Senate campaign in Missouri — remarks that have turned him from front-runner to underdog against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill. But unlike Akin — who has apologized for but never fully disavowed what he said and has continued to run an unabashedly hard-right campaign — Mourdock sought to clarify his comments as soon as the debate ended. And in the days ahead, he plans to continue his strategy of abandoning the tea-party posturing that propelled him past Dick Lugar in the primary and embracing a much more centrist and conciliatory tone. “Are you trying to suggest that somehow I think God ordained or pre-ordained rape?” he said at a news conference. “No, I don’t believe that. Anyone who would suggest that is, that’s a sick and twisted; no, no that’s not even close to what I said. What I said is God creates life.”

Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, came to his not-my-first-choice candidate’s defense in a statement this morning (which also noted that Donnelly generally opposes abortion rights). “Life is a gift from God,” he said. “To try and construe his words as anything other than a restatement of that belief is irresponsible and ridiculous.”


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