Supporters rally behind Mourdock

Joe Donnelly (D)

Republican US Senate candidate Richard Mourdock is trying to extinguish the firestorm stirred up less than 48 hours ago about comments he made about God, rape and pregnancy.

We've heard the fallout from voters, political allies, bitter rivals and even the president. However, Mourdock isn't hiding.

Thursday morning, he appeared before supporters at a Hendricks County fundraiser and in his words, "set the record straight."

Mourdock wants to put all of this behind him. He apologized Wednesday if some misunderstood him, but stands by the statement he made.

During a debate Tuesday night, Mourdock said that when pregnancy results from rape, that is "something God intended."

Less than two weeks from Election Day Democrats don't want to let this go and they continue to talk about it. Meanwhile, Mourdock's base of supporters seems to be even more energized.

At a fundraiser Thursday morning in Avon, Richard Mourdock was preaching to the choir. His political base, he says, has shown incredible support.

"I don't know that I've ever in my many years in politics gotten such support, physical support, people come up and giving me hugs all day yesterday and telling me they're praying for me and my wife. It was an amazing day and we're moving forward and very confident with what the outcome will be," Mourdock said.

Mourdock also told the crowd he's feeling energized, not looking back, and not getting distracted by critics - among them, Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence, presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and the president.

But Democrat Joe Donnelly, who gave a students on the east side of Indianapolis a quick government lesson this morning, says Mourdock's statement Tuesday about a pregnancy resulting from rape being "something God intended" still needs further explanation.

"Mr. Mourdock's remarks, I thought, were inappropriate and hurtful to women and to survivors of rape and to their families," said Donnelly.

Donnelly said he's been hearing from his supporters as well. "They don't understand how an Indiana Senate candidate can say something like that," he said.

Donnelly insist he's sticking to his game plan, stressing the economy, jobs and education. His own internal campaign poll, put him slightly ahead of Mourdock going into the debate. Asked if his campaign is benefiting, he answered, "You know that's not what my focus has been on. My focus has been on the hurtful nature of the remarks that were made."

Even President Obama is chiming in on Mourdock's comments. Asked by Jay Leno last night on the Tonight Show, Barack Obama had this to say:

"Rape is rape. It is a crime. And these various distinctions of it don't make too much sense to me," the president said. He added, "This is exactly why you don't want a bunch of politicians, mostly male, making decisions about women's health care decisions."

Mourdock said the president's remarks were "unbelievable."

"The fact that a simple comment somehow rises to that level, as I said, we're moving on. If they want to continue to dwell on it, take up air time talking about it instead of fixing the economy, that's their problem, not mine," said Mourdock.

How much those remarks will hurt Mourdock's chances on Election Day is hard to say. Andrea Scott waited with scores of other voters at the City-County building Thursday.

"I was disappointed by his remarks," she said, "but I already had my mind made up who I was going to vote for."

Almost every voter told us pretty much the same thing. Jackie Muller said, "Didn't change my mind. I was not voting for him anyway."

Laurel Ramirez added, "Didn't change my mind." Ronnie Cox agreed, "Didn't change my mind. Just put the icing on the cake."

We spoke with only on voter who wasn't certain which way to vote until he heard with Richard Mourdock had to say. Off camera, numerous voters said Mourdock's stand cemented their support for him. Some praised him for speaking his mind and sticking to his convictions. Those comments continue to make national news.