Lindsey Graham presses Marco Rubio over abortion stance

Story highlights

  • Lindsey Graham was asked about fellow GOP presidential hopeful Marco Rubio's stance on immigration
  • Graham said having a position that opposed abortion in all instances was not consistent with the mainstream

Washington (CNN)South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said Monday that any Republican who supports a ban on abortions without exceptions for rape or incest would lose the White House for their party and criticized Marco Rubio for not taking a clearer stance.

"Anybody with that position will get creamed," Graham told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Monday. "I would never tell a woman who's been raped she's got to carry the child of the rapist. Eighty-three percent of the American people feel like that goes too far. So if you would veto a bill that had an exception for rape or incest. ... I appreciate your passion for the pro-life issue but you're outside the mainstream and you cannot get elected."
Graham was discussing Republicans broadly, but MSNBC host Joe Scarborough turned the question to Rubio, who has struggled to explain exactly where he stands on abortions. He corrected Fox News' Megyn Kelly during the first Republican debate when she said he supported the exceptions. But he has also refused to say precisely if he opposes the exemptions.
    "But is that Marco's position? You're 44 years old. You need to tell us what you think about this," Graham said.
    Rubio spokesman Alex Conant declined to detail Rubio's stance and pointed to the senator's comments in the first Republican debate and during a "Meet the Press" appearance in August.
    "I personally and deeply believe that all human life is worthy of the protection of our laws," Rubio said at the time. "I do. And I believe that irrespective of the conditions by which that life was conceived or anything else."
    But it was retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson who drew attention for his abortion comments this weekend when he equated the fight to overturn Roe v. Wade with the abolitionist movement.
    "Think about this. During slavery -- and I know that's one of those words you're not supposed to say, but I'm saying it -- during slavery, a lot of the slave owners thought that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave. Anything that they chose to do," Carson said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.
    "And, you know, what if the abolitionist had said, you know, 'I don't believe in slavery. I think it's wrong. But you guys do whatever you want to do'?" he said. "Where would we be?"