Mourdock: Debate Was ‘What I Expected’

by Brian Bolduc

Indiana state treasurer Richard Mourdock tells National Review Online that his just-concluded debate with Indiana senator Dick Lugar “was largely what I expected.”

“I was pleased,” Mourdock says. “I thought the questions were a little lighter than what I wanted in a Republican-primary debate.” Nonetheless, he adds, “I thought it gave me a chance to meet my goals, which were to prove I’m competent and conservative.”

Asked how he plans to win the Republican primary on May 8, Mourdock responds, “We will win this on May 8 by continuing to work this state very, very hard. We have a tremendous volunteer base.” He expresses amazement at the fact that despite the Lugar campaign’s airing negative ads against him, “54 percent of Republicans still don’t have an opinion of me one way or the other.” The debate, he argues, gives voters a “basis to form an opinion.”

Meanwhile, Peter Rusthoven, former associate counsel for President Ronald Reagan and a supporter of Lugar, tells NRO, “I don’t think either candidate stumbled. Mourdock is an articulate fellow, and on a great many issues, they agree. I think Senator Lugar handled it fine. Lugar is unflappable.”

Asked about Mourdock’s criticisms of Lugar’s voting record in the debate, Rusthoven responds, “I have no desire to bash Richard Mourdock.” And he defends Lugar’s conservatism: “The idea that Dick Lugar is some kind of liberal or even moderate in terms of his positions — I just never believed that that’s a credible case.”

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