VALPARAISO | Republican U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said Thursday his campaign has not been hampered by the attention over his remark that pregnancies resulting from rape are "something that God intended to happen."
The state treasurer said at Round The Clock in Valparaiso that he continues to keep the focus on the issues of greatest concern for Hoosiers, which include getting the economy going and repealing the federal health care legislation that he and other opponents refer to as Obamacare.
"Government is absolutely stifling our economic recovery," Mourdock said.
The Republican, facing off against Democrat Joe Donnelly in a heated race, made a short appearance at the local Round the Clock restaurant between stops in LaPorte County and the GOP Victory Center in St. John.
"This election is one of those generational elections that will change the face of America," he told a small group of supporters and nearby diners.
He said Donnelly has spent $8 million attacking him with negative advertisements because the outcome of the race is likely to determine which party gains majority status in the Senate.
"A vote for Joe Donnelly is a vote for (Democratic Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid," he said.
Mourdock blamed over-regulation for hurting businesses in Indiana, saying the message was reaffirmed during a stop earlier in the day at the Hearthside Food Solutions bakery in Michigan City. He said he supports the call for rolling back government regulations implemented over the last five years or placing a moratorium on new regulations for the next five years.
"Just so businesses know what the rules are again," he said.
The new health care law is also hampering small businesses, Mourdock said. He said a business owner in Elkhart told him he and his wife rely on subcontractors rather than hiring employees because of the mandated costs.
Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas picked up on the theme to argue that businesses pass along these increased costs to customers, which in turn hurts the middle class.
"They have to pass it on," he said.
Also on hand to welcome Mourdock was Portage resident Edna Maturkanich, a self-described Republican mascot, who wore a hat covered with various GOP pins.
She told the candidate how one of his campaign signs was stolen from her yard the day after she put it up.
"So much for tolerance," Mourdock said.