Soledad O'Brien Tells Mourdock to 'Get Real,' Brings Up Todd Akin

Is Soledad O'Brien working for the DSCC? She distorted a pro-life statement from Senate candidate Richard Mourdock by including it with the Todd Akin controversy in a critical "Get Real" segment on Wednesday's Starting Point. She also tied Romney to Mourdock by noting he previously backed the candidate.

"Our 'Get Real' this morning, I think it's a really interesting question about a lack of sensitivity toward a victim of rape," O'Brien began. "Big implications politically, of course, Dana, for this," she hyped later.

What Mourdock said was nothing close to Todd Akin's comments:

"I believe that life begins at conception. The only exception I have for – to have an abortion is in that case of the life of the mother. I just – I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is a gift from God. And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."

However, O'Brien hyped the non-story after Democrats pounced on it. "First it was the Missouri Senate candidate Republican Todd Akin who talked about legitimate rape. You'll remember that. And now an Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock says he believes pregnancies resulting from rape are a gift from God," she began, playing into the Democrats' hands by including Mourdock with the Todd Akin controversy.

And O'Brien threw in Mitt Romney's name. "Governor Romney had, I think, put out an ad supporting Richard Mourdock," she noted later.

As the Media Research Center has reported before, the media are overwhelmingly pro-choice, which might help explain the media outcry following Mourdock's remark.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on Starting Point on October 24 at 7:25 a.m. EDT, is as follows:

[7:25]

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Our "Get Real" this morning, I think it's a really interesting question about a lack of sensitivity toward a victim of rape. First it was the Missouri Senate candidate Republican Todd Akin who talked about legitimate rape. You'll remember that. And now an Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock says he believes pregnancies resulting from rape are a gift from God. Here's what he said last night, the last minutes of a debate. Here's what he said.

(Video Clip)

MOURDOCK: I believe that life begins at conception. The only exception I have for – to have an abortion is in that case of the life of the mother. I just – I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is a gift from God. And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.

(End Video Clip)

O'BRIEN: So Mourdock clarified his comments afterwards, saying "God creates life, and that was my point. God does not want rape and by no means was I suggesting that he does. A rape is a horrible thing and for anyone to twist my words otherwise is absurd and sick." Big implications politically, of course, Dana, for this.

BASH: Oh absolutely. First and foremost, just because any chance that Democrats, in particular, have to whack Republicans on the issue -- on an issue that could draw women or draw women away from Republicans, they're going to do it. In this particular race, you made the connection between this and Todd Akin's comments, I talked to a senior Republican strategist who is kind of monitoring this to get a sense of the fallout, and this source says that they don't think that this is that similar to Akin for one main reason. And that is what he was doing was describing his very well-publicized view on abortion, that it should not – that the exception should not be there for rape, and that many Republicans agree with that, especially in the very conservative state of Indiana.

Very different from what Todd Akin said, which is that somehow people's bodies can reject pregnancy from rape, which, you know, virtually nobody believes. So that's number one. Don't expect Republicans, I'm told, to throw Mourdock under the bus like they did Akin. This is a very, very different issue from their perspective.

O'BRIEN: Governor Romney had, I think, put out an ad supporting Richard Mourdock. And he had a tough fight as a Tea Party candidate at first to sort of get exception from the GOP, and now he, he's struggling a little bit. What do you think, politically, Will?  

WILL CAIN, CNN contributor: Politically I hope this isn't an issue. I don't think this is an appropriate conversation to have through the political lens. Will it have an impact politically? That's depends upon how it's spun, right? And I don't really want to partake in the spin. The question that Mourdock --

O'BRIEN: Did you just say as a political analyst you don't want to partake in the spin? Could someone write that down today?

CAIN: Write it down, put it on the chyron, and every time I'm up would you rub it under my face, please? The question is this, Dana said it. It's true. This is not similar to what Akin said. Akin redefined the concept of rape and went into biological, medical procedures, and mysteries. What Mourdock suggested here is that he's not saying God wanted rape. God, he's saying, sanctions life. And if you believe life begins at conception, either through religion or through logic, then how that life is created is beside the point.

O'BRIEN: Okay, then let me ask a follow-up to that. Because I know you love the logic argument. So then why make an exception for the life of the mother? Right, if you are saying that morally an abortion is killing something that is alive at the moment of conception, at the end of the day isn't it like, well –  

CAIN: Because now you're pitting two lives against each other. Now you're forced to choose the value between two lives.

O'BRIEN: And that's morally acceptable?

CAIN: It's a moral conundrum. Wherein the other equation is not.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN contributor: And the problem from a faith-based perspective, is the difference between what is God's will and what is free will, okay? And so if you're sitting here trying to say oh, if you got raped it was God's will for you to have that child, so, are you saying that, oh, that it's okay it happened so go ahead and move forward. Frankly, as a Christian, as an evangelical, I'm not buying that argument. And I would ask him the question, if your daughter got raped, are you telling me that you would be fine with her having that child?
 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014