Bill Clinton on Richard Mourdock: Likable, but Disturbing

Former President Bill Clinton says Indiana GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock is a likable person, but the tea partier's views on compromise are "disturbing."

Mourdock defeated six-term incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar in a Republican primary last week, unseating one of the Senate's last bipartisan compromisers. The former president brought up Mourdock, unsolicited, in an interview with NBC's Tom Brokaw about fiscal reform at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation's 2012 Fiscal Summit in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.

"The gentleman that just defeated Senator Lugar said something I found disturbing-although I like him personally, he's a very appealing sort of person," Clinton said. "But he said, 'I am totally against any compromise, our worldviews are irreconcilable, and we just have to keep fighting till somebody wins it all.'

"And if that were the view, there would have never been a Constitution, there never would have been a Bill of Rights, the Capitol would never have been moved to Washington, D.C., the federal government would not have assumed the debts of the colonies from the Revolutionary War, and nothing else would have happened," Clinton said.

Mourdock has said he opposes bipartisan compromise.

"There was a day when it was exactly the right thing to do. When Dick Lugar went in [to the Senate], there was some of that, but it's not that way now," Mourdock said in an April phone interview with ABC news. "Bipartisanship has taken us to the brink of bankruptcy. We don't need bipartisanship, we need application of principle.   … Where was the call for bipartisanship during the Obamacare debate? Not a single Republican voted for it. It wasn't about bipartisanship, it was about having the votes to dictate your will."

Mourdock defeated Lugar with the help of the Washington, D.C.-based conservative groups FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth, both of which funded Tea-Party candidates in Republican Senate primaries in 2010, when the likes of Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell, and Joe Miller won primaries along with Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rand Paul, R-Ky.

If Mourdock defeats Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly in November, he will join a growing cadre of fiscally conservative lawmakers who have at times opposed Senate Republican leaders, and who have enjoyed growing influence in the Capitol since the 2010 midterms.