Flip flop: McCain walks back Mourdock critique

Updated
U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) speaks to the media prior to the debate between U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at...
U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) speaks to the media prior to the debate between U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at...
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Sen. John McCain is taking back his demand that Senate candidate Richard Mourdock apologize for his comment that pregnancies conceived during rape are part of God’s plan.

When McCain appeared on CNN Wednesday night he said the Indiana Republican would need to apologize for his remark if he wished to maintain the senator’s support.

A spokesman for McCain said Thursday that the senator had not yet seen Mourdock’s press conference in which the Indiana state treasurer clarified his remark and condemned rape, but did not apologize.

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. Senator McCain is glad that Mr. Mourdock apologized to the people of Indiana and clarified his previous statement. Senator McCain hopes the people of Indiana will elect Mr. Mourdock to the U.S. Senate.


The initial strong condemnation from McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee for president, threatened to complicate Mitt Romney’s position. Romney appeared in a rare ad endorsing Mourdock that was released this week shortly before Mourdock made his remark during a Tuesday debate.

“I think it depends on what he does,” McCain initially told Cooper. “If he apologizes and says he misspoke and he was wrong and asks the people to forgive him, then obviously I’d be the first—You know, in the years that I’ve been around, I’ve made a few, Anderson. I’ve asked for understanding and forgiveness. It’s when you don’t own up to it when people will not believe you.”

Mourdock said he “spoke from my heart” during the Wednesday press conference.

“I would not apologize,” he said. “I would be less than faithful if I said anything other than life is precious, I believe it’s a gift from God.”

He also said his words were being “twisted” and that “rape is evil, I abhor evil.”

“And that anyone would come away with any meaning other than what I just said I regret, and for that I apologize,” he added.

Flip flop: McCain walks back Mourdock critique

Updated