U.S. President Barack Obama suspended the levity during an interview with late-night TV talk show host Jay Leno on Wednesday (October 25) to address a Republican Senate candidate's assertion that pregnancies resulting from rape are intended by God.
"I don't know how these guys come up with these ideas. Let me make a very simple proposition: rape is rape. It is a crime," Obama said on NBC's "The Tonight Show."
"This is exactly why you don't want a bunch of politicians, mostly male, making decisions about women's healthcare."
Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock's comments that pregnancies caused by rape are "something God intended to happen" echoed across the U.S. media and sent ripples through political circles ahead of the Nov. 6 election.
The Obama campaign, which enjoys leads among women voters in many election battleground states, sought swiftly to connect Mourdock with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. This summer Romney had to distance himself from remarks by another Republican Senate candidate, Todd Akin of Missouri, about what he called "legitimate rape."
In a lighter moment, Obama joked about real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump, who recently posted a video challenging Obama to release documents about his education.
Trump has persistently questioned whether Obama, a native of Hawaii, was actually born in the United States, and Obama played off Trump's theories about his origins.
"This all dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya," Obama joked. "We had, you know, constant run-ins on the soccer field. He wasn't very good and resented it."