INDIANAPOLIS, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Democrats released a new Indiana television advertisement on Thursday highlighting Republican U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s controversial comment calling pregnancy from rape “something God intended to happen.”
The ad, focused on the Indiana Senate race, plays Mourdock’s statement from a debate on Tuesday night, but notes that both Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Indiana Republican candidate for governor Mike Pence disagreed with him.
The ad ends with a call for Mourdock to apologize. Mourdock apologized on Wednesday if anyone misunderstood his comment, but stood by his view that abortion should be banned in rape cases.
Mourdock said he abhors rape and did not mean to suggest that he condones violence against women.
Romney’s campaign has said he will not withdraw an ad endorsing Mourdock even though he disagrees with the candidate’s abortion stance.
Mourdock was locked in a tight Senate race with Democratic Representative Joe Donnelly before the rape comment. No public polls have been released since the comment, but the loss of the Indiana seat would be a major blow to Republican hopes of taking the majority in the U.S. Senate.
The ad was released by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on behalf of Donnelly.
Mourdock issued a statement on Thursday calling the attack “sleazy.”
“Now Donnelly and his liberal Washington allies are attacking Richard Mourdock’s faith and beliefs,” Mourdock’s spokesman Brose McVey said.
The Mourdock comments were the second incident of the 2012 campaign involving controversial statements on rape by a Republican U.S. Senate candidate.
In August, Missouri Republican candidate Todd Akin said women have natural defenses against pregnancy from “legitimate rape.” Republicans shunned him and withdrew financial support, and he has trailed in most polls since against incumbent Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill.
Most Republicans have so far continued to support Mourdock although many have said they disagree with him. Mourdock on Thursday campaigned with South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint, a leading conservative who also has supported Akin. (Writing by Greg McCune; Editing by Eric Walsh)