What will Richard Mourdock rape, abortion comment flap mean to Indiana Senate race?
Political analysts: Race turned on debate comment
Last Updated: 210 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS - The outcome of a tight race between Republican Richard Mourdock and Democrat Joe Donnelly in the Indiana Senate race may have been turned by a single comment during Tuesday night's debate that created a firestorm of controversy.
Most analysts had projected that the race would be tight. It's of critical importance to GOP hopes of securing a majority in the Senate. Early in the race, most analysts believe the race was Mourdock's to lose.
In the debate, Mourdock said, "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."
On Wednesday, Mourdock said he was sorry if anyone misinterpreted the comment and that he intended to say, "Life is precious," and that a child conceived under violent circumstances should not be aborted.
RTV6 analysts Lara Beck and Abdul-Hakim Shabazz said many voters' views had already been cemented before the debate, but that voters in the middle will be swayed by the comment and the fallout.
"This has really been a fight for the middle, and if you're in the middle, you're trying to make these decisions about who you're going to vote for," said Beck, a Democrat strategist. "Not only the comments, but it's the aftermath, the non-apology. It's the crying. It's all of that coming together that I think it's probably over."
Shabazz, a conservative commentator, said he believes Mourdock's effort Wednesday to clarify his comments by saying they were misunderstood fell flat.
"When I tell my wife, 'Honey, you just don't understand what I'm saying,' usually, that doesn't help. It only makes matters worse," Shabazz said. "As I watched Richard Mourdock do the apology … and he's trying to explain conception and God, you can't do this in a minute sound bite. The more you talk, the worse it gets."
Shabazz said he thought Mourdock would have been better served to release a statement and move on.
"You should just put out a statement, 'I apologize. I'm pro-life. I believe every child deserves a chance, even a child conceived in violence should be raised in love.' That's all he needed to say, but the more Richard Mourdock talks, the worse this gets," Shabazz said.
Beck and Shabazz agreed the fallout could suppress the GOP base.
"I think there isn't enough of his base at this point in time to carry him over the line," Beck said.
"I was at a Republican dinner last night in Hamilton County. Only about two-thirds of the audience was either happy or warm to see him," Shabazz said. "The other third wasn't there. That's the third you need to win the election when the polls are statistically tied."
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