Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jim DeMint of South Carolina is backpedaling on recent comments he made about gays and unmarried mothers not being fit to teach in public schools, United Press International reports. DeMint, a three-term House veteran, said he regrets the comments he made in a recent debate because they distracted voters from "real issues" such as jobs and national security. However, he stopped short of retracting the statements, according to The Washington Post.
Regarding abortion, DeMint said he would outlaw the procedure under all circumstances, including rape and incest. His Democratic opponent is Inez Tenenbaum, South Carolina's superintendent of education, and polls generally show DeMint leading Tenenbaum. But she has been hammering his support of a bill to create a 23% national sales tax while eliminating the Internal Revenue Service, federal income tax, and estate tax. DeMint criticized Tenenbaum's education record, saying South Carolina ranks "dead last" in SAT scores and has the nation's "worst graduation rate." Tenenbaum said that during her six-year term, SAT scores "went up for five years in a row, sometimes dramatically."