Republican Richard Mourdock, his party's U.S. Senate candidate in Indiana, has earned a reputation as one of 2012's most notable extremists, but the candidate clearly broke new ground last night in a debate with Rep. Joe Donnelly (D).
Explaining why he believes the government should force women impregnated by rapists to take their pregnancy to term, Mourdock argued, "[E]ven when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen" (thanks to Joe Sonka for the tip).
It didn't take long for Democrats to connect the comments to the national race.
The timing for Mitt Romney couldn't be much worse. With two weeks until Election Day, the Republican nominee is eager to narrow the gender gap, and shift attention away from his party's "war on women" agenda. But just this week -- literally, Monday -- Romney appeared in a new ad announcing his support for Mourdock's candidacy.
As it happens, the only general-election Senate candidate in the nation to benefit from a Romney ad is also the Senate candidate who believes rape pregnancies are divine creations.
Last night, as the controversy went national, Romney spokesperson said the former governor "disagrees" with Mourdock's comments, but refused to say whether Romney still supports Mourdock's candidacy. It's not a trick question; a yes-or-no will suffice.
Of course, Romney went much further when denouncing Todd Akin's "forcible rape" comments.
What's more, the larger context reinforces the fact that the Republican Party has a meaningful policy problem.
Most GOP candidates are less ridiculous when defending their position, but dozens of Republicans this year are arguing that the government should, in fact, force women impregnated by rapists to take their pregnancy to term. The vast majority of Americans reject this, but the GOP, in 2012, doesn't seem to care.
Indeed, none other than Mitt Romney's running mate has said the "method of conception" is irrelevant in his calculation of reproductive rights.
As for articulating this position in a nauseating way, Mourdock now shares the stage with Republican Sharron Angle, who said during her Senate campaign that impregnated rape victims should make "a lemon situation into lemonade."