McCain: Mourdock must apologize to retain his support

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Wednesday that to retain his support, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock would need to apologize for his controversial comments regarding pregnancy and rape.

"I think it depends on what he does," McCain said in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

McCain said he would continue to back Mourdock "if he apologizes and says he misspoke and he was wrong and he asks the people to forgive him.” 

McCain acknowledged he had also made mistakes in his political career. “In the years that I’ve been around, I’ve made a few, Anderson, and I’ve asked for people's understanding and forgiveness when I won't — when I own up to it. It’s when you don't own up to it when people will not believe you," he said.

In a debate Tuesday, Mourdock said that "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that ... is something God intended to happen," when explaining his opposition to abortion rights in cases of rape and incest.

Mourdock is an evangelical Christian. 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 labeled McCain's stance a "break" from Romney's support for Mourdock.

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.

During an appearance Wednesday night on "The Tonight Show," President Obama slammed Mourdock's comments.

"You know, I don't know how these guys come up with these ideas," Obama said. "Let me make a very simple proposition. Rape is rape. It is a crime. And so, these various distinctions about rape and, you know — don't make too much sense to me. Don't make any sense to me."