Ohio Senate nominee Josh Mandel (R) defended neighboring Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock (R) for his comments that pregnancies resulting from rape are a “gift from God,” calling Mourdock a “gentleman” and a “class act.”
Mandel was initially asked on Wednesday whether he agreed with Mourdock that “God intended” for pregnancies from rape, but the Ohio Republican was unwilling to take a position at the time. A day later, Mandel stuck up for Mourdock on the Laura Ingraham Show, defending his character and claiming that the Indiana GOPer had apologized for his comments:
INGRAHAM: What’s your take on that whole deal yesterday?
MANDEL: [...] I’ve gotten to know Richard because we’re both state treasurers. We’re treasurers in states next to each other. He’s a gentleman. He’s a class act. He’s a thoughtful guy. He’ll make a great United States senator. Yesterday he apologized for his comments and I think he was right in apologizing for them.
Listen to it:
In fact, Mourdock pointedly and repeatedly refused to apologize for his comments during a press conference yesterday. It was this very refusal that led Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to withdraw his endorsement of Mourdock.
The Republican caucus has been split over Mourdock. Some prominent GOPers are continuing to back the Indiana Republican, including Mitt Romney, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and NRSC Chairman John Cornyn (R-TX). Others haven’t been as willing to stand with him. Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), running for governor of Indiana, said yesterday, “I strongly disagree with the statement made by Richard Mourdock during last night’s Senate debate. I urge him to apologize.” Former New Jersey Governor Christie Todd Whitman (R) was equally critical, saying, “Mourdock’s comments damage all Republicans and especially Romney as the fight for the woman’s vote intensifies.” Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) also cancelled a planned trip to campaign with Mourdock in Indiana.