WASHINGTON - This is starting to look like a Mourdocktober surprise for Democrats.
Indiana's Tea Party Senate candidate, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, may have handed Democrats the last-minute, swing-state lift they needed with his stunning comments that pregnancies stemming from rape, however horrible, are "something that God intended to happen."
Mourdock tried to soften his comments Wednesday, saying that he did not mean God intends for women to be violated - only that every life was a divine gift.
Nevertheless, the repercussions from his words quickly spread across the Hoosier State and the country, as both the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee seized on the remarks, and nearly every Republican in a close Senate race who responded to The Huffington Post denounced Mourdock's comments.
Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown was first, followed soon by Connecticut candidate Linda McMahon, who said in a statement: "Richard Mourdock's comments were highly inappropriate and offensive. They do not reflect my beliefs as a woman or a pro-choice candidate."
Even anti-abortion candidates sought distance from the intemperate Mourdock.
"Jeff Flake's pro-life position has always included exceptions for rape, incest, and to protect the life of the mother, so he does not agree with some of the comments made by other candidates on this issue," said Andrew Wilder, a spokesman for the Arizona congressman.
One Senate candidate who agrees with Mourdock's opposition to abortion, Pennsylvania challenger Tom Smith, found the comments out of bounds. "Tom Smith condemns those remarks," said spokesman Jim Conroy. Smith also condemned the "legitimate rape" remarks from Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), but in the process whipped up his own furor with comments that sounded like he was comparing rape to pregnancy out of wedlock...