In a televised debate with his opponent in Indiana last night, GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, a rigid opponent of abortion—Todd Akin lite—set off shock waves. Asked about any exceptions for abortion, he even ruled out rape, saying that if a woman gets pregnant that way it’s just what “God intended to happen.”

He explained: “I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God.”

See him say this in video below. Early story here. And how this hurts GOP chances of taking the Senate. Mourdock, the Tea Partier who shocked the electoral world by upsetting longtime incumbent Richard Lugar in the primary, had just started pulling ahead of Democratic challenger Joe Donnelly.

But now: AP with full reaction story this morning. Mitt Romney is distancing himself from the GOP candidate and says he disagrees with his comment. However, the DNC is out today with new ad focusing on Romney, in his first commercial for any candiddate, backing Mourdock just two days ago. Watch it below.

And what about that ad spot? “Romney aides would not say whether the ad would be pulled and if the Republican presidential nominee would continue to support Mourdock’s Senate bid. Other Republicans did not immediately weigh in. Indiana Republican Party spokesman Pete Seat referred comment to the Mourdock campaign. A spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee did not immediately return a request for comment Tuesday night.

“National Democrats quickly picked up on Mourdock’s statement and used it as an opportunity to paint him as an extreme candidate….”

Meanwhile, Akin is in hot water in Missouri after revelations last night via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he was arrested three times in anti-abortion protests in the 1980s, twice needing to be carried away by police officers when he resisted. He has trailed Sen. Claire McCaskill for weeks.

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