February 20th, 2012
02:35 PM ET
3 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. Rudy NYC

    Joxer asked:

    Didnt they compare Bush to Hitler he just brushed it off.
    --------–
    Nope. Some on the extreme left compared George W. Bush to that Alfred E. Newman guy. Some on the left compared him to his father, and said he couldn't fill dad's shoes. Some in the middle compared him Clinton and felt Bush was a war monger. Meanwhile, the right compared him to Reagan, and were delighted that they could slash taxes and burn up government regulations for years until the economy collasped. Then they blamed the economy on Democrats.

    February 20, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    What would you suggest should have been done to combat the worst economic crisis in generations, hall?

    February 20, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  3. hansonrhodes

    the last time the US went with a right-wing religious president, they got the most incompetent & fascist administration in American history. An administration that brought the economy to the brink of collapse and destroyed America's reputation worldwide. The Obama administration has worked very carefully and diligently to right the ship and get America going in the right direction again. The last thing the US needs is another faith-based administration. Lets stick with brains and common sense instead.

    February 20, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  4. john

    It gets worse everyday. They are the woves in sheep clothing

    February 20, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  5. ST

    Why can't this man run a campaign like Sen. McCain. He never had any name calling moment. Not at all, leave alone his VP pick.

    February 20, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  6. M I Snow

    OMG this guy makes me yearn for Rick Perry to return to the campaign trail...

    February 20, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  7. john

    I am a republican having seved in elective office fro 17 years, the Republican I was a part was fiscally conservative believing in less government intrfusion in oens private lives that republican is dead and replaced with religious fanatics.

    February 20, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  8. Laverne

    What really is quite disturbing is all these republicans who consider themselves a Christian and question President Obama's faith. There is nothing about them that represent the love of Christ! They are hatefilled, angry, bitter and the things that come out of their mouths certainly are not Christ like! Seems to me they are wolves in sheep clothing!

    February 20, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  9. clarke

    Is this a contest about who can be the meanest bully in the playground. This is just disgraceful. You really can't vote for anyone of them, except Ron Pau, he at least tells you what he will do how and why. The others are just bullies, and love bashing the President and each other.

    February 20, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. Charlie in Maine

    Note to Sanatorium: When you are as rabidly conservative as you are it's really not a good idea to bring up "Voldemort"/

    February 20, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. butch

    Religion is the first step in a propagation attack, used by all dictators in the past. Especially from so-called religious leaders. Don't trust anyone who uses religion as an argument.

    February 20, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. Wvazoe

    If you are say something is " like" something then you are comparing them.

    February 20, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  13. larry

    Rick said obama wants it be that we walk out of the church and now the govt will tell you what to do not the church.Well rick I don't want the church telling me what to do either

    February 20, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  14. Silence DoGood

    @TonyK "The GOP calls Obama "weak" and "failed" and then refers to him as authoritarian–that is just plain stupid. He can't be both."

    That is exactly right – he cannot be both but politicians are rarely that good at logic. The reality is that our political system favors good looking and do nothing in both Dem and Repub candidates. So I think we have be happy with weak/failed for Obama in terms of his own wild liberal promises that did not come to be.

    February 20, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  15. Greg

    @Hall. You might – just MIGHT – want to consider on who's watch the economy tanked. I'll give you a hint: GWB.

    February 20, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. Jahweh Punishes

    Equally we are here to rape the world of its resources without a doubt according to santorum-because just a keen eye to ecology would show we(man) has done just so and are already suffering the effects of ill policies never heeding the ecological disastrous effects. Santorum is a man that should know as a Miner's prodigy, the effects of ecologically disastrous policies but, there is the reason and the excuse for santorum insanity and the reason santorum belongs in the sanitorium, should have been sterilized from having children long ago, the miner's curse of toxic effects on his own sperm has resulted in the prodigy you see before you today, and pumping out his own horrendous affected sperm. That is why santorum is so affected by this topic-he knows it in his heart, and blames his ironic familial ecological disastrous past for the spawning of his children with disability and death, as per the BIBLICAL teachings!! Santorum has learned, and now wants all of America to experience what Santorum has lived through, in toxic familial reproductive HARMS!!!

    February 20, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  17. dan5404

    Maybe he can learn some red neck harmony and do a campaign "Hitler" duet with Hank. Jr. I'm sure it would be #1 in the trailer parks and ultra right evangelical rallies everywhere. Santorum would go the way of Barry Goldwater in a crushing landslide defeat if he happened to get the nomination. Don't look for the establishment big money GOP boys toet that happen.

    February 20, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  18. Larry in Houston

    To be perfectly honest – I would rather see the sanitarium win over romney – why ? because I Do know people who Will Vote for Romney in the General Election – versus Santorum – I don't know ONE person (yes even the republicans) who will vote for Santorum, in the general election.

    Vote Democrat 2012
    2016
    2020
    2024

    February 20, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  19. JonjoJr

    I'm an Independent, but I'm starting to like Santorum.

    February 20, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Hall wrote:

    You will see the usual suspects on here proclaiming his greatness through one of worst 3 years economically in our nation.
    ----------------–
    Conservatives are in denial over the extent of the damage our economy suffered from the Wall Street collapse. Every recession since The Great Depression has hit primarily one industry or sector of the economy. The Great Recession hit *all* segments hard. It hit the markets, the housing markets, big banks, small banks, the auto industry, and rippled outward into more. We saw actual "trickle down economics" at play. The conservative critics calling the Obama administration a failure started up a few weeks in with the passage of the Stimulus, while offering no solutions of their own aside from do nothing let everything hit bottom and recover from there. No thanks, to that idea.

    February 20, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  21. Independent in NC

    @ A Texan, I agree. This is why I left the Republican party.

    February 20, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  22. Lloyd

    Theology literally means – the study of God. But the article states Santorum "did not mean to imply religious tones when he used the word "theology." " How can a person not be referencing relgion with the word theology? That is if he has any idea what theology means.

    February 20, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  23. Lisa P

    "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.

    Sounds to me like Santorum is describing himself. "Pay no attention to the economically clueless homophobic misogynist religious zealot behind the curtain - I am here to talk about jobs! And getting rid of public schools, and eliminating the dividing line between Church and State, and..." Apparently we are just supposed to ignore his history and his past statements, including those made... yesterday? 'Cause, really, he is such a nice guy. Did you know his little daughter is sick? Awwwwwww [*puppies!* *kittens!*]. What b.s.

    February 20, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  24. Rationalintn

    Rick Santorum's speeches always sound like something he should be saying in front of a mirror. He doesn't even realize that everything he spews describes Rick Santorum perfectly.

    February 20, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  25. big d

    makes me glad i have dual citizenship

    February 20, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
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