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John McCain Pledges To Withdraw Richard Mourdock Support If He Doesn't Apologize

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WASHINGTON -- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Wednesday night he will no longer support Richard Mourdock, unless the Indiana Senate candidate apologizes for his recent comments on rape.

"I think it depends on what he does," McCain told CNN's Anderson Cooper, when asked if he still counts himself among Mourdock's supporters. "If he apologizes and says he misspoke and he was wrong and he asks the people to forgive him, then obviously I’d be the first. ... But, you know, 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," he continued. "It’s when you don't own up to it when people will not believe you."

McCain's call for an apology comes as Mitt Romney faces mounting pressure from Democrats to withdraw his endorsement of Mourdock and have a TV ad he starred in for the Indiana state treasurer removed from the airwaves.

Mourdock ignited controversy Tuesday night for saying in the final Indiana Senate debate that pregnancies resulting from rape are "something God intended."

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

Romney's campaign confirmed Wednesday that he continues to support Mourdock and has not asked that the ad be pulled. Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul did seek to distance the GOP nominee from the views Mourdock expressed.

"Gov. Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock, and Mr. Mourdock’s comments do not reflect Gov. Romney’s views," Saul said in an emailed statement. "We disagree on the policy regarding exceptions for rape and incest but still support him."

Mourdock declined to apologize during a press conference on Wednesday, saying instead that he regretted his words had been misinterpreted.

UPDATE: Oct. 25 -- McCain spokesman Brian Rogers on Thursday clarified McCain's earlier comments that he would withdraw support for Mourdock if he did not apologize, saying that the Arizona senator still supports the Indiana Senate candidate.

"Senator McCain was traveling yesterday in Florida and did not have an opportunity to see Mr. Mourdock's full press conference before he taped his CNN interview," Rogers said, referring to the Wednesday conference where Mourdock said he regretted that he had been misinterpreted. "Senator McCain is glad that Mr. Mourdock apologized to the people of Indiana and clarified his previous statement. Senator McCain hopes the people of Indiana will elect Mr. Mourdock to the U.S. Senate."

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