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Obama tells Leno: 'Rape is rape'

During an appearance on "The Tonight Show" taped Wednesday evening, President Obama slammed Richard Mourdock over the Republican Senate candidate's controversial comments about pregnancies resulting from rape.

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Asked by host Jay Leno about Mourdock's comments, in which the Indiana state treasurer said during a debate Tuesday evening that "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something God intended to happen," the president said "rape is rape."

"I don't know how [they] come up with these ideas ... rape is rape. It is a crime," the president said. "These various distinctions about rape ... don't make any sense to me."

Mourdock, an evangelical Christian, says abortion should only be legal when necessary to prevent the death of the mother. He argues it should be illegal in cases of rape and incest. Many who share his faith believe God chooses when conception occurs and that abortion is equivalent to murder.

In a press conference Wednesday, Mourdock accused Democrats of twisting the meaning of his comments.

"I would be less than faithful to my faith if I said anything other than 'Life is precious.' I think it is a gift from God. I don't think God would ever want anyone harmed, sexually abused or raped. I think it's wrong when someone wants to take what I said and twist it," Mourdock said.

The Obama campaign aggressively criticized Mourdock's comments throughout the day Wednesday, and sent an email to female supporters in the evening linking Mourdock to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

"Not surprisingly, Romney is still standing by his endorsement and is refusing to ask that [an ad featuring Mourdock and Romney] be pulled down," deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter wrote in the email. "It's a grim reminder of something he's trying desperately to hide in the final weeks of this election: Romney has campaigned as a severe conservative, supports severely conservative candidates and would be a severely conservative president — especially on issues important to women."

The Romney campaign on Wednesday said that the presidential nominee disagreed with Mourdock's comments, but would not ask the Senate candidate to take down an ad featuring Romney.

Obama also joked with Leno about an offer Wednesday from Donald Trump to donate $5 million to a charity of the president's choice in exchange for his college and passport records. The president, referencing Trump's accusations that he had not been born in the United States, joked that he and the reality show mogul had a longstanding beef dating back to when they grew up together in Kenya.

"We had constant run-ins on the soccer field," Obama said. "He wasn't very good and resented it. When we finally moved to America, I thought it would be over."

The president was also asked if he would like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to remain on the job if he was reelected. Clinton has repeatedly signaled her intention to retire after the end of the president's first term.

"She's done a wonderful job. I would love for her to stay," the president said, adding that "despite my begging," it appeared Clinton was looking forward to spending time with her family.