February 21st, 2012
09:07 PM ET
2 years ago

Santorum: 'I believe in good and evil'

Phoenix (CNN) - Rick Santorum offered no apologies Tuesday for a controversial speech he gave in 2008 when he talked about the threat of Satan in America.

“I’m a person of faith. I believe in good and evil,” Santorum said in response to questions from CNN.

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Instead the rising GOP contender defended his four-year-old remarks, made at Ave Maria University in Florida, where he said Satan was “attacking the great institutions of America.”

“If somehow or another because you’re a person of faith and you believe in good and evil is a disqualifier for president, we’re going to have a very small pool of candidates who can run for president,” Santorum said.

Excerpts of Santorum’s speech were splashed across the conservative leaning Drudge Report for much of Tuesday.

Santorum dismissed the Drudge article as “absurd.”

"If they want to go ahead and dig up old speeches to a religious group they can go right ahead and do so. I'm going to stay on message. I'm going to talk about the things Americans want to talk about," Santorum said to CNN.

When pressed further if he believed Satan was attacking America, as he said in his 2008 speech, Santorum insisted the subject is not on the minds of voters.

“Guys these are questions that are not relevant to what’s being discussed in America today,” Santorum said.

“What we’re talking about in America today is trying to get America growing. That’s what my speeches are about. That’s we’re going to talk about in this campaign,” he added.

With Santorum now leading several national polls and moving within striking distance of two game-changing victories in next week’s Arizona and Michigan primaries, the rising GOP contender has seen his recent speeches subjected to increased scrutiny.

In a speech to a small crowd of supporters in Phoenix Tuesday evening, Santorum said he can handle the pressure.

“I’ll defend everything I say,” Santorum said.

After the speech, Santorum told reporters he’s pleased with the state of his campaign, disclosing that he’s raised more than $6 million this month.

Belief Blog: Santorum and Satan – the devil is in the details

He also commented on the latest Washington parlor game: whether the race for the GOP nomination could result in a contested convention in Tampa later this year.

“I feel very good about our chances of winning this election. Feel really good,” Santorum said.

When asked about the possibility that no Republican candidate will have enough delegates to clinch the nomination, Santorum said such talk is premature.

“Obviously if nobody gets enough delegates we’ll have to deal with that. But it’s a long, long, long way to go and we feel really good about where we are headed right now,” Santorum said.

During his evening speech, the former Pennsylvania senator sounded confident about his chances in next Tuesday’s Arizona primary.

“We’re not just here to debate. We’re here to win Arizona next Tuesday,” Santorum said in reference to Wednesday’s CNN Debate.

Also see:

Paul ad slams Santorum

Obama campaign takes a swing at Santorum

Gingrich describes Obama as a national security risk

Franklin Graham questions Obama, Romney on Christian Faith


Filed under: 2012 • Arizona • Rick Santorum
soundoff (720 Responses)
  1. Canuck

    Bush never acknowledged his mistakes either – not a good Presidential attribute IMO.

    February 21, 2012 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  2. Martha in CF

    Mr Sanitarium would have been a good candidate in 1776, not now. Sorry, I don't want to go back to that era and live.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    February 21, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  3. Amazing

    I was no great fan of Reagan but he must be rolling over in his grave with the constant references from these Republican candidates. Reagan was a blunt man but he never vilified his fellow Americans the way Santorum, Gingrinch and now Romney do to anyone who holds an opposing view such as President Obama.

    February 21, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  4. Jaywing

    OK Ricky, you'll defend everythng you say. The problem is, when you make your defense, does it make any more sense than the dumb thing you said to begin with? "By theology, I didn't mean theology." "By saying women were too emotionally weak to see combat, I really meant men were to emotionally weak to see women in combat." "By implying Obama was Hitler, I really meant that I was Hitler." "When I said black, I meant white." "When I said..." I think you get the point.

    February 21, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  5. cali girl

    He is here to save us from ourselves.. Look out, next it will be "you are not saving because you are not Catholic". Yes folks this guy is the next coming. The words "I am holier then thou" should be tattood on his forehead.

    February 21, 2012 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  6. Hardy Purvis

    Go get 'em Rick!

    February 21, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  7. Nothing new here

    Okay, all this idiot talks about is his "faith", but then he refuses to answer questions about his "faith".
    What a weirdo.

    February 21, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  8. Randy, San Francisco

    Santorum suffers from the "Palin foot in the mouth disease." He won't stand up to close scrutiny. This culture warrior will turn off a majority of voters.

    February 21, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  9. pn

    I'd like this guy to expand on his views on science. Seems a bit 16th century to me and he's not really trying to do anything to dispel that notion.

    February 21, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  10. lungshot

    Strike up the War on Satan! Does this clown ever run out of wars?

    February 21, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  11. Joe

    Go Rick, GO!! We love you. Thank you for being a standup Conservative who believes what he says. You will win in November .... GUARANTEED.

    February 21, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  12. Margaret

    Hugo Chavez can sniff the air in the UN after Bush had just given a speech and stated that he smelled Satan. Everyone thought Chaves was oh so clever. Obama's mentor, Saul Alinsky, dedicated Rules for Radicals to Satan and everyone thought Alinsky was oh so clever. Santorum mentions how the devil is the root of the downfall of morals in America, and he is labled a nut. Typical liberal, communist double standard.

    February 21, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  13. Satberry

    Please stop talking,because when you speak you sound stupid.Please take your medication,and after you destroy Willard next week you can stop taking your medication.

    February 21, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  14. A not-so-stupid former republican

    Rick – defending your remarks does not make them any less stupid.

    February 21, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  15. Susan Magnani

    You go Rick. Call 'em like you see 'em.

    February 21, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  16. A Southern Lady - North Carolina

    Santorum is a total first class nut. I am a practicing Christian and nothing I hear from Santorum is anywhere near the teachings of my Presbyterian Church. He is so far into religion that his thinking is no longer logical or sensible. He scares normal people – will never get the votes of the Independents, any Regan Democrats, Republicans who still have their wits about them or anyone who is educated and intelligent. A total loser.

    February 21, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  17. Tm

    Another ZEALOT? This guy is just another Bachaman. Your fake christianity does not move this Real Christian one bit Mr. Santorum. Day after day it looks more and more as though Ron Paul is the only true conservative republican alive.

    February 21, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  18. CTJ Meeting

    Glad to see he is going to stand his ground on this and not be a pussy about it! I'm not a religious freak and I actually agree with him! Just look around at what is happening in the world today. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that we are being attacked by forces we can't quite get our heads around... duh..

    February 21, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  19. oldmanklc

    The author uses the word "controversial" about any thing he disagrees with. Don't pay any attention.

    February 21, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  20. Julie

    I was there. Great speech. Over an hour and no teleprompter. He could have gone on for a lot longer but his people cut him short. He took questions and then greeted people and shook hands afterwards. I have been to many political events and this is the first politician that I feel is most like me. He is a regular guy with a passion for our country and what is best for it. If that makes people in special interest groups a little upset, then so be it. Grow up.

    February 21, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  21. Autoamerican

    So let me get this straight. Rick Santorum says "Satan has set his sights on the United States" in 2008. Shortly thereafter, Barack Obama becomes president.

    What's the problem? DId Santorum say something that wasn't true? I'm failing to see what the story is here.

    February 21, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  22. PJ/TX

    You have no defense for your offensive words. There is good and evil in every person, and you are no
    exception. You are a sanctimonious jerk, You have flaws just like the rest of us, and your willingness to
    pass judgement on your fellow human beings puts you in the class of unrightousness and intolerance.

    February 21, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  23. Cosmic Zamboni

    The press really thought Mr. Santorum would be embarassed that he gave a religiously oriented speech, as a Catholic man, to a religious Catholic audience several years ago? Good grief, these folks are really out of touch – and Mr. Romney is getting desperate.

    February 21, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  24. Fred

    Drudge report = mitt Romney's campaign
    I have been following drudge for years, but his decision to do everything he can to get romney elected will cost him one viewer.

    February 21, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  25. Debbie

    I'm a person of faith and believe in good and evil. Satan believes in good and evil. The question is why is Santorum claiming to follow Christ but his actions follow evil? He is a deciever.

    February 21, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
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