Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made attempts to distance himself from Indiana's Richard Mourdock's debate comments about rape on Tuesday.
NEW ALBANY, Ind.
A spokeswoman for Mitt Romney says the GOP presidential hopeful disagrees with comments made by Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock about rape and pregnancy.
During a debate Tuesday in Indiana, Mourdock said when a woman becomes pregnant during a rape, "that's something God intended."
"I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And, I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen," Mourdock said.
Mourdock became the second GOP Senate candidate to find himself on the defensive over comments about rape and pregnancy. Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin said in August that women's bodies have ways of preventing pregnancy in cases of what he called "legitimate rape." Since his comment, Akin has repeatedly apologized but has refused to leave his race despite calls to do so by leaders of his own party, from GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on down.
His comments quickly drew criticism from Democrats, including challenger Joe Donnelly, who is locked in a tight race with Mourdock.
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said Tuesday in an email to The Associated Press that Mourdock's comments "do not reflect" Romney's views.
Mourdock further explained Tuesday night after the debate that he did not believe God intended the rape, but that God is the only one who can create life.
"Are you trying to suggest somehow that God preordained rape, no I don't think that," Mourdock said. "Anyone who would suggest that is just sick and twisted. No, that's not even close to what I said."
In response, Donnelly said after the debate in southern Indiana that he doesn't believe "my God, or any God, would intend that to happen."
Mourdock's comments come a day after a new ad featuring Romney giving his support for the GOP candidate started airing. It was the latest effort by both parties to break open the Senate race.