McCain accepts Mourdock explanation, backs him
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. John McCain is again backing Indiana's Richard Mourdock after the Senate candidate explained his remark that pregnancy from rape is "something God intended," a spokesman said Thursday.
McCain, the GOP's presidential nominee in 2008, had expressed his uncertainty about supporting Mourdock in a CNN interview Wednesday night. But hours later, his spokesman issued a statement saying McCain hopes the people of Indiana elect Mourdock on Nov. 6.
"Senator McCain was traveling yesterday in Florida and did not have an opportunity to see Mr. Mourdock's full press conference before he taped his CNN interview," said spokesman Brian Rogers. "Senator McCain is glad that Mr. Mourdock apologized to the people of Indiana and clarified his previous statement."
The statement came as Democrats had seized on McCain's comments to step up their criticism of presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who said he disagreed with Mourdock but declined to withdraw his support or pull a campaign ad for Mourdock that is airing in Indiana this week.
Mourdock set off a political firestorm that touched the presidential race and Senate contests with his remark in Tuesday night's debate. Seeking to clarify his comments, he told a news conference Wednesday that he stood by his comment and regretted that his remark was misconstrued. He did not apologize.
"I spoke from my heart. And speaking from my heart, speaking from the deepest level of my faith, I would not apologize. I would be less than faithful if I said anything other than life is precious, I believe it's a gift from God," Mourdock said.
McCain, in an interview on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360, had been asking if he still backed Mourdock after the remark.
"If he apologizes and says he misspoke and he was wrong and asks the people to forgive him, I would be the first," McCain said.