Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election

A New Todd Akin?

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On Tuesday night, Indiana Senate candidates competed in their second debate. After a boring and stale first debate, all candidates were hoping for a clear victory in this debate. Since it is the final debate in a close race, a good debate performance could propel one of the candidates to victory in November.

During the debate, Republican candidate Richard Mourdock made what many now consider a major mistake. When discussing the issue of abortion, he stated that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.”

This is very similar to comments made earlier in the election cycle by Todd Akin, a Republican running for the Missouri Senate seat. He claimed that women cannot get pregnant in cases of “legitimate rape.” This sparked a firestorm across the country, severely harming his campaign. With another controversial comment about abortion made by a Republican Senate candidate, the chances of Republicans gaining control of the Senate are looking even slimmer.

After this comment was made in the debate, Democrats immediately went on the attack creating ads. They are hoping this will provide a win for Democrat Joe Donnelly who is running against Richard Mourdock. They also created ads to connect Mitt Romney to Mourdock since Romney just created an ad endorsing Mourdock this week.

Mourdock issued an apology in a press conference on Wednesday, hoping to control some of the damage done by his comment. He believes that his statement was misinterpreted, and he went on to say that he abhors any kind of sexual violence. Mourdock’s campaign hopes this press conference will get the campaign back on track for the final two weeks before the election.

Although many Republicans severed ties with Todd Akin, including the National Republican Senatorial Committee, most Republicans still support Richard Mourdock. Mitt Romney has not withdrawn his endorsement. Several key Republicans, such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have announced their continued support for Mourdock on Wednesday. This may mean that the fallout from the comment will not be as severe as some Democrats claim it will be.

The comment made by Mourdock will most likely stay in the news through the end of the week. If Donnelly can keep this as an attack in the media for the next two weeks, it will be a significant blow to the Mourdock campaign. On the other hand, if Mourdock can refocus media attention by next week, he will make sure the race stays close up until Election Day.

If you want to see hear the comment from the debate, you can view the entire debate online at C-SPAN. Be sure to catch the final Indiana Governor’s debate tonight at 7:00 pm!

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