Continuing to hype Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock's opposition to abortion as some kind of scandal for Mitt Romney, on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "...the Romney campaign is also dealing with a new controversy, trying to distance itself from this comment..."
After playing a sound bite of Mourdock explaining in a Tuesday senatorial debate that he believed an unborn child conceived by rape was still a life "intended by God," Alexander touted an ad of Romney endorsing the Indiana Republican. He then observed how, "Mr. Romney, who's been carefully courting women voters, ignored the controversy" and declared that the Governor's campaign has "been trying to steer away from it's party's right-wing since the contentious primaries..."
On Wednesday's Today, Alexander used Mourdock to dreg up comments made by Missouri Congressman Todd Akin in September: "It's the second time this year a Republican Senate candidate has made controversial comments about rape."
On Thursday's Today, Alexander announced: "And despite heavy criticism from the Obama campaign about comments, controversial comments, made by Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock of Indiana about rape and abortion, Governor Romney largely ignored that topic yesterday."
Here is a full transcript of Alexander's October 24 Nightly News report:
7:00PM ET TEASE:
LESTER HOLT: Also, on the trail with the Romney campaign, and tonight, why he's having to respond to a Senate candidate's comments about rape.
7:05PM ET SEGMENT:
HOLT: As we mentioned, Mitt Romney, too, is barnstorming across the nation, waking up in Colorado, then making his pitch today in Nevada and Iowa, and then overnighting in Ohio. And the fight for those all-important undecided women voters was back in the spotlight again today, after a Republican Senate candidate made some remarks that got a lot of attention. NBC's Peter Alexander is traveling with the Romney campaign, he joins us tonight from Cedar Rapids. Peter.
PETER ALEXANDER: Lester, good evening to you. As you noted, Governor Romney is campaigning at a frenetic pace as well, he's scheduled to be on the ground here in Iowa for just 80 minutes before taking off for another swing state, Ohio. Charging into Nevada for the second time in as many days...
MITT ROMNEY: What a great Reno welcome, thank you so much.
ALEXANDER: ...a confident Mitt Romney is rolling the dice on this critical western battleground. Where the Republican nominee blasted Mr. Obama for what he called a "status quo candidacy."
ROMNEY: I think we all know that he's out of ideas and out of excuses, and in November, you're going to put him out of office.
ALEXANDER: In recent days, Romney has been greeted by increasingly enthusiastic crowds, like last night at the scenic Red Rocks Amphitheater outside Denver. He's now describing his campaign as a movement.
ROMNEY: You're seeing this movement growing, you're seeing people coming together to say you know, "We love America, we recognize we can do better."
ALEXANDER: But today, the Romney campaign is also dealing with a new controversy, trying to distance itself from this comment by Richard Mourdock, a Republican Senate candidate in Indiana, speaking about abortion during a debate Tuesday.
RICHARD MOURDOCK: I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.
ALEXANDER: Governor Romney recently recorded this ad, airing across Indiana, endorsing Mourdock.
ROMNEY: This fall I'm supporting Richard Mourdock for Senate.
ALEXANDER: But on the trail today, Mr. Romney, who's been carefully courting women voters, ignored the controversy, while his campaign insisted, "Governor Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock" and that his "comments do not reflect Governor Romney's views." Still, the Romney campaign, that's been trying to steer away from it's party's right-wing since the contentious primaries, says it will not ask for the ad to be removed. But Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, a Romney surrogate, scheduled to campaign with Mourdock today, cancelled her trip. Her spokesperson telling NBC News she "disagrees" with Mourdock's comments, which "do not represent her views." For his part, Mourdock tried to clarify the remarks in a press conference this afternoon.
RICHARD MOURDOCK: I think that God can see beauty in every life. But certainly I did not intend to suggest that God wants rape.
ALEXANDER: Also today, Clint Eastwood, who got mixed reviews, you'll remember, for his conversation with an empty chair endorsing Governor Romney at the Republican National Convention, is making a new cameo on behalf of the campaign, specifically for a Republican super-PAC that supports Romney, trying to fire up the Republican Party's conservative base. Lester.
HOLT: Alright, Peter Alexander, thanks.