Up until the debate, Mourdock's race with Rep. Joe Donnelly had been close; the comment could prove decisive in the campaign's closing days.
Republicans dismiss Democratic hopes of capturing the Arizona Senate seat, arguing that Rep. Jeff Flake has consistently maintained a lead in the polls over Richard Carmona. Democrats cringed recently when Carmona told the male moderator at a debate with Flake that he was prettier than CNN's Candy Crowley, who moderated the second presidential debate. Carmona later apologized to Crowley.
Determined to change the trajectory of the race, Democrats released an ad of the state's two Republican senators delivering effusive testimonials about Carmona at his 2002 Senate confirmation hearing for U.S. surgeon general in President George W. Bush's administration.
"One might call him a man for all seasons," says Sen. Jon Kyl.
"He's extraordinarily, perhaps uniquely qualified, to address the need of our nation," Sen. John McCain says.
Republicans have countered with ads in Arizona, Indiana, Montana and North Dakota, linking the Democratic candidates to Obama and in some cases, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, with images of the president and California Democrat.
"Once Heidi was different, but now she's fighting for Obama not us," says a commercial about North Dakota's Heidi Heitkamp, who is in a close race with Rep. Rick Berg.
The GOP spot against Carmona calls him Obama's rubber stamp. The one against Donnelly says a vote for him is a vote for the Obama-Pelosi agenda. "Say no to this yes man," the ad says.
In Missouri, the once vulnerable Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill is trying to hold onto her seat against Rep. Todd Akin, who severely damaged his candidacy when he said women's bodies can avoid pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape." National Republicans, including Romney, abandoned Akin, but conservatives and evangelicals still stand behind his candidacy.
Associated Press writer Steve LeBlanc in Boston contributed to this report.