Just days after several key Republicans sought to distance themselves from Indiana senate candidate Richard Mourdock in the wake of his misogynistic comments on rape, top-level Romney surrogate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich tried a different approach, taking the time to defend Mourdock’s comment that a forced pregnancy resulting from a rape was a “gift from god” as a mainstream Christian value on Sunday’s episode of This Week with George Stephanopoulos:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, Mr. Speaker, you heard Stephanie Cutter bring up the issue of Richard Mourdock, the Republican Senate candidate in indiana, saying that it’s wrong for romney to stand up for him. and say that his comments were wrong. your response?
GINGRICH: My response is, if you listen to what Mourdock actually said, he said what virtually every catholic and every fundamentalist in the country believes, life begins at conception….
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Speaker, what Mr. Mourdock said exactly was that this life after rape, as horrible as it may be, is something that god intended to happen. Do you agree with that?
GINGRICH: And he also immediately issued a clarification saying that he was referring to the act of conception and he condemned rape. Romney has condemned rape. One part of this is nonsense. Every candidate I know, every decent american i know condemns rape. Okay so, why can’t people like Stephanie Cutter get over it? We all condemn rape…
Despite Gingrich’s statement, Republicans, including Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan, have actually spent more time qualifying and redefining rape than condemning it. In just the last year, Republicans at every level of government have sought to manipulate the definition of rape, introducing such terminology as “legitimate rape,” “forcible rape,” “honest rape,” and more.
Gingrich also tried to pivot the discussion to President Obama’s record on abortion, twice bringing up a vote he took as a state senator in Illinois that Gingrich characterized — falsely — as a vote to allow the killing of babies in the eighth and ninth months of a pregnancy. As ThinkProgress has documented, then-State Senator Obama’s vote was against a bill that was too broad in it’s wording and could have undermined the foundations of Roe v. Wade.