The Washington Post

Richard Mourdock channels Sharron Angle

With Indiana GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock under fire for claiming that a pregnancy from rape “is something that God intended to happen,” it’s worth recalling that this is the position that got Sharron Angle in trouble during the 2010 Nevada Senate race, helping to hasten her downfall.

As you may recall, Angle said in June of 2010 that she opposed abortion in cases of rape and incest because “God has a plan.” She also suggested, albeit indirectly, that pregnant rape victims should “turn a lemon situation into lemonade.”

People who closely followed that Senate race say this helped contribute to her demise, because it allowed her opponents to argue that she had crossed a threshold into something worse than mere extremism. Nevada Journalist Jon Ralston recalled to me that these comments “exposed” her at a time when Harry Reid’s main strategy was to portray her as “crazy, unstable and out of the mainstream.”

Whatever the impact of Mourdock’s comments on the Indiana Senate race, it’s worth noting that they come at a terrible time for the Republican Party. Mourdock said today that while he regrets the impression his words may have caused, he’s standing by them. The Romney campaign is distancing itself from Mourdock, but has said Rmney still supports him, and Romney is the main narrator in a Mourdock ad that is apparently going to remain on the air. That means the GOP ticket may face another round of questions about Mourdock’s comments. Some Republicans, such as New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte and Indiana gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence, are also distancing themselves from, or condemning, her comments.

With Dems tying Romney to Mourdock, it’s unclear how much of an impact this will have on the election’s outcome, if any. But it does mean the political world is spending another day talking about another Republican with extreme views on women's issues, at a time when the Romney campaign is working hard to close the gender gap and wants every day to be focused on the Obama economy and on Romney’s 12 point plan, with time fast running out.

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.


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