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Ayotte’s Indiana campaign swing called off after Senate candidate Mourdock’s rape comment

Last modified: 10/26/2012 11:10:45 AM
U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte skipped a planned campaign swing with Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock yesterday after the U.S. Senate candidate said that pregnancies resulting from rapes are “something that God intended to happen.”

Ayotte, a New Hampshire Republican, has campaigned extensively this fall to support GOP candidates, including presidential nominee Mitt Romney. She had been planning to go to Indiana yesterday to campaign with Mourdock, the state treasurer, but instead remained in New Hampshire, her office said.

“She disagrees with Treasurer Mourdock’s comments, which do not represent her views,” spokesman Jeff Grappone said in a statement.

Mourdock defeated the more moderate incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Lugar in a May primary and faces Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly in the Nov. 6 election. During a debate Tuesday, Mourdock said he thinks abortion should be banned except when the life of the mother is in danger.

“I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God,” Mourdock said. “And, I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.”

That statement was quickly and widely condemned. Mourdock said yesterday that he abhors rape and that his comment has been misinterpreted, The Indianapolis Star reported.

Grappone’s statement simply said Ayotte’s trip “is canceled.” Mourdock’s deputy campaign manager, Brose McVey, told the Star that the campaign asked Ayotte not to come. Grappone didn’t return a message seeking additional information.

Less than two hours before Ayotte’s office announced her trip had been canceled, the New Hampshire Democratic Party called on her to scrub the outing.

“Richard (Mourdock) is an extremist, and his comments are demeaning to women across New Hampshire. It’s clear that Richard (Mourdock) does not have the judgment to serve in the United States (Senate) ­– or to be making health care decisions for women,” said Chairman Raymond Buckley in the release. “Kelly Ayotte should finally stand up to the Tea Party and cancel her plans to campaign with (Mourdock).”

(The party’s news release misspelled Mourdock’s name as “Murdoch.”)

(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or bleubsdorf@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)


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