February 20th, 2012
02:35 PM ET
2 years ago

Santorum denies Hitler-Obama comparison

(CNN) - Rick Santorum on Monday denied he was comparing President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler while using a World War II analogy the previous day.

During a speech at a Georgia church on Sunday, Santorum paralleled the election to America's slow response to the swelling Nazi presence during the late 1930s. He urged his audience to get involved and not sit on the sidelines like "the greatest generation" did for a year and a half while "Europe was under darkness."

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The former Pennsylvania senator described Americans as a "hopeful people," easily susceptible to ignoring a growing problem.

"We think, well, you know, it'll get better. Yeah, he's a nice guy. I mean, it won't be near as bad as what we think. This will be okay. I mean, yeah, maybe he's not the best guy after a while. After a while you find out some things about this guy over in Europe who's not so good of a guy after all, but ya know what, why do we need to be involved? We'll just take care of our own problems," he said.

Asked Monday if he was likening the president to Hitler, he responded, "No, of course not."

He added: "It's a War World II metaphor. It's one I've used a hundred times."

His comments came after an Ohio speech, in which he continued to sharpen his attacks against Obama over what he sees as the president's growing affront against religious liberties.

The former senator said the Obama administration no longer subscribes to principles of religious freedom, but instead uses the term "freedom to worship."

The difference?

Santorum said Obama and his cabinet members are "narrowing the view" of the First Amendment.

"So now you have the freedom to go into that church and do whatever you want, but once you walk out, you're ours," Santorum said, describing what he sees as the administration's perspective. "You will do what we tell you, not what they tell you."

The candidate has been hammering Obama in recent days while he rides the momentum of his newly-minted frontrunner status, catapulting slam after slam at the president for abusing standards surrounding the separation of church and state.

Along with the recent contraception coverage controversy, Santorum points to a U.S. Supreme Court decision, known as Hosanna Tabor, in which the court held that ministers cannot sue their churches for employment discrimination.

Santorum called the January ruling a victory against the Obama administration, whose solicitor general filed a briefing supporting the right to sue churches over discriminatory policies that fall in line with their institution's religious teachings.

Labeling the unanimous Supreme Court decision a "smack down" against the president, Santorum argued the case was just one example of Obama's outlook on government.

"He has this ideology of government-centralized control," he said. "Not worried about the interest of people, he's worried about the interest of power, so he can dictate to people what he believes is best."

Painting the president as a dictatorial leader has been a mounting theme in Santorum's stump speeches, especially when it comes to the president's social agenda.

"It is saying government knows better. It is imposing his ideology on a group of people expressing their theology – their moral code – and saying government will force you to do what your faith says is gravely wrong," Santorum said.

The candidate also made headlines on Saturday when he said Obama had a "phony theology," leaving some to speculate whether Santorum was questioning the president's Christian faith.

But the former senator on Sunday morning said he was referring to the president's position on what he called "radical" environmentalism and did not mean to imply religious tones when he used the word "theology."

Also see:

Santorum clarifies 'theology' remark

Santorum rips Obama on social agenda

Gay sheriff resigns Romney role after allegations


Filed under: 2012 • President Obama • Rick Santorum
soundoff (114 Responses)
  1. Jimbo

    Benny Notenyahoo will love this guy.

    February 20, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. Keyser

    Speaking in Code only works for the first guy who does it. After that you are purely derivative and a non-factor. P.S. Rick, Hitler spoke plainly in pre WWII Germany. You may want to lift one of his speeches where he discusses economy and the strength of the nation and simply replace the term 'Jew' with Democrat. Kind of like Rumsfeld did with a verbatim speech from Ghoering where Rummy replaced the word 'Jew' with the term 'terrorist' right after the first unrest occurred in post invasion Iraq.

    February 20, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. ab

    so...somebody explain this to me like i'm a five year old. what the heck was santorum comparing obama to, if not hitler? the 'metaphor' was supposed to relate to what, if not to hitler?

    santorum is not only a bigoted boob, he's also a total liar who can't even own the mud he's slinging! sad, sad, sad

    why does the gop want a man like that representing them???

    February 20, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  4. old joe

    Forget Santorum. Wake up to the fact Obama displays dangerous signs of mental illness due to the sexual abuse he suffered as a child.

    February 20, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  5. Pete/Ark

    The Grand Ayatollah Santorsharia shoots his mouth off for his drooling devotees...and then says "oh no, YOU misunderstood me". I don't care how hard he peddles his campaign tricycle backwards, I heard his uneditted words and the crowd reaction...he meant what he said and EVERYONE understood. This is one of the most self-aggrandizing, hate-filled psychopaths that I have seen in years.

    February 20, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  6. JR

    It's news organizations like cnn that helped put the u.s. in Iraq. 2nd rate hearst journalism at best. Turn a deaf ear to the truth.

    February 20, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  7. aaron

    Santorum cracks me up, in that scarey never-want-him-anywhere-near-me kind of way. He says "So now you have the freedom to go into that church and do whatever you want, but once you walk out, you're ours," Santorum said, describing what he sees as the administration's perspective. "You will do what we tell you, not what they tell you."

    His policies are 100 times worse. If it were up to him, there would not be anything but church and you would always be his (or HIS). Obama is doing something for EVERYONE, regardless of religion. Santorum believes in using one religion to rule everyone and everything one does. Ive said if before and I'll say it again...this man is the scariest thing in this country right now. If his name was Mohammed and he was Islamic, he would be an enemy to the US...that what his religous views are like, he just happens to be christian, albeit 12th century christian.

    February 20, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. teaclown

    The GOP has me fooled. I can't figure out whether they actually believe the nonsense that they spout on the political trail or if it's a well-conceived strategy to manipulate a malleable portion of their voter base. It's very hard to swallow that a person who reaches the lot in life of a U.S. Senator actually believes that separation of church and state is unconstitutional while his attempt to implement a version of Christian Sharia law is in line with American values. Either way, it's stunning that this kind of thought process even warrants discussion outside of fringe zealot political parties and the basements of lunatics and idiots.

    February 20, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  9. Larry L

    I particularly love Santoreum's comment about science being at odds with global climate change. This from a man who believes the Earth to be less than 6000 years old. Please let him be the Republican candidate running in the general election against President Obama!

    February 20, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  10. benji

    He is liar and is trying to pander to the teabaggie racist. God doesn't like liars.

    February 20, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  11. BunnyBunny

    I keep thinking this antichrist heathen cannot say anything else more disgusting than he already has. But then he does. What a vile lowlife.

    February 20, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  12. Roger/Kansas

    If Obama was like Hitler, the conservative right would vote for him.

    February 20, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  13. RA

    "I didn't compare him to Hitler, I just said that he bares a remarkable resemblance a leader of Germany that just so happened to captivate his people. It just so happened this one also served from 1933-1945..."

    Or did I read that wrong?

    February 20, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  14. GODZILLA1

    When I view the GOP wannabes I try to imagine them in the bunker under the White House with their aide who has the nuclear launch codes standing nearby. I then try to think of who I would trust more in that scenario. Sorry Republican pretenders but none of you pass the test.

    February 20, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
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