President Barack Obama's re-election campaign on Wednesday denounced GOP Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock's "outrageous and demeaning" comments on rape and pressed Mitt Romney to repudiate his fellow Republican.
Mourdock said during a debate on Tuesday that pregnancies resulting from rape are "something that God intended to happen." He supports access to abortion only when the woman's life is in danger.
"The president felt those comments were outrageous and demeaning to women," Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters aboard Air Force One as the president embarked on a blitz through battleground states.
"This is a reminder that a Republican Congress working with a Republican president Mitt Romney would feel that women should not be able to make choices about their own health care," she said, quick to turn the comment into a weapon against the GOP challenger. Shortly after Mourdock's debate, Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul released a statement saying that the former Massachusetts governor "disagrees with Richard Mourdock's comments, and they do not reflect his views."
But Psaki said that "this is an issue where Mitt Romney is starring in an ad for this senator and it is perplexing that he wouldn't demand to have that ad taken down."
"I think it is clear that Mitt Romney, that many Republicans who are running for office, including him, including Mr. Mourdock, have very extreme positions on issues that women care deeply about in this country," Psaki added.
"If they have the opportunity to be partners, in the White House and in the Senate," she said, "then that is something that women should [be concerned] about as they are going to the voting booth."
Women—especially single women—were a critical part of Obama's history-making 2008 coalition. The embattled incumbent hopes they will help him edge out Romney this year in what both sides predict will be a razor's edge election.