Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said Tuesday when a woman is impregnated during a rape, "that's something God intended."
Mourdock, who's been locked in a tight race with Democratic challenger Rep. Joe Donnelly, was asked during the final minutes of a debate whether abortion should be allowed in cases of rape or incest.
"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.
The race between Mourdock and Donnelly has been one of the nation's most expensive -- and most watched -- Senate races since the Republican unseated veteran U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar in May's GOP primary.
A spokeswoman for Mitt Romney said the presidential candidate disagreed with Mourdock's comments.
An expansive onslaught of negative political advertisements in congressional races has left many incumbents, including some Republicans long opposed to restrictions on campaign spending, concluding that legislative measures may be in order to curtail the power of the outside groups behind most of the attacks.
While Democrats have long denounced a 2010 Supreme Court decision that opened the gates on unlimited spending on advertisements, some Republicans are now growing more disenchanted with the system that allowed the barrage of ads, often by shadowy groups, and the effects it has had on what they see as a sullen and disenchanted electorate.
"Once we get back, those that do get re-elected will all be commiserating about all the negative ads," said Rep. Joe Heck of Nevada, a Republican who faced ads accusing him of voting against a rape crisis center and against money to help victims of domestic violence, among other things.
Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Administration Committee, which has jurisdiction over campaign-finance issues, has been a target of negative ads. He has drafted legislation that he said would force more responsibility for the tone and messages of the campaign onto the candidates and political parties and away from the third-party groups. The staff of Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is also working on proposals.
The 2010 Supreme Court ruling, Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, was expected to be an unalloyed advantage to Republicans, who have a deeper bench of rich individuals and corporations willing to finance candidates. But its effects have come with complications, with some Republican incumbents in the House at a disadvantage.
NEW YORK TIMES
Television viewers appear addicted to the drama that is the presidential race.
An estimated 59.2 million people tuned in to watch the final debate on Monday night, despite strong competition from Monday Night Football and Game 7 of baseball's National League Championship Series.
The first debate of the general election drew more than 67 million viewers on Oct. 3.
All three debates this year have drawn bigger audiences than the face-offs between President Obama and Sen. John McCain in 2008.
MCCLATCHY NEWS SERVICE