x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Obama hits back at Republican candidate's remarks, saying 'rape is rape'

Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock had said during a debate on Tuesday night that when pregnancy occurs from rape, then it is 'something God intended'.

BURBANK, CALIFORNIA // President Barack Obama criticised Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock for his remarks about rape and pregnancy, saying that "rape is rape" and that the Republican's comments "don't make any sense".

Mr Mourdock said during a debate on Tuesday night that when pregnancy occurs from rape, then it is "something God intended". The Indiana Republican opposes abortion except when the woman's life is in danger.

Mr Obama was appearing on The Tonight Show on Wednesday night when host Jay Leno asked him about Mr Mourdock's remarks and referred to another Republican Senate hopeful, Missouri's Todd Akin. Earlier in his campaign Mr Akin, also an opponent to abortion, referred to "legitimate rape" when contending that women's bodies are capable of preventing pregnancy after rape.

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

Mr Obama added: "This is exactly why you don't want a bunch of politicians, mostly male, making decisions about women's health care decisions. Women are capable of making these decisions in consultation with their partners, with their doctors. And for politicians to want to intrude in this stuff, oftentimes without any information, is a huge problem. And this is obviously part of what's stake at this election."

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Mourdock refused to apologise for the "something God intended" remark but said that he regrets that some may have misconstrued and "twisted" his comments.

The US president also lampooned Donald Trump, saying the real estate tycoon's feud with him dated back to "when we were growing up together in Kenya". Mr Obama ribbed the flamboyant mogul during an appearance on The Tonight Show after Mr Trump revived the right-wing conspiracy theory that alleges that the president was not born in the United States. "This all dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya," Mr Obama joked, after dashing to California to record the show, to be broadcast later Wednesday on NBC, as part of a 40-hour campaign sweep through eight states. "We had constant run-ins on the soccer field. He wasn't very good and resented it," said Mr Obama, who is the son of a white American mother and Kenyan father, and who was born in Hawaii. "When we finally moved to America, I thought it would be over," the president said, with a beaming grin, and admitted he had never actually met Mr Trump.