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. The Real Tom Paine

    mantra, sorry, was laughing too hard when I posted.

    February 22, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  2. marinedad05

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

    Yet, he had the gall to question the President's faith, and tie any issue currently discussed to faith, & to the right brand of Christianity (obviously, his brand).

    Methinks, the guy is back pedaling.

    February 22, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  3. Michael

    Good for him...he was speaking at a Catholic college, on a religious topic, to a religious audience. Anything that came out of his mouth would be "inappropriate" for American political discourse. While I don't agree with Rick on a number of things, and worry about his electability in such a secular society, especially among independents, I applaud his standing by his principles...something sorely lacking among our elected leadership.

    February 22, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  4. kim

    Righteous Rick represents exactly what the framers of the Constitution feared, and the reason they wrote in a separation of church and state. Sanctimonious Santorum wants nothing less than a theocracy ruled by his Opus Dei beliefs and a religious dogma born in the dark ages. It is utterly amazing how many people are suckered by this narrow-minded and fanatical fundamentalist. I would have hoped the most Americans are more enlightened than this.

    February 22, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
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    February 22, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  6. Jeff

    Mr. Santorum is leading the extreme right wing back to the days of the Crusades. He is gathering his forces to fight and defeat the "infidels" and "heathens" in 21st century America. Backward thinking Ayatolla Rick will not succeed.

    February 22, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. Bob Smith

    The fact that he is getting so much heat from the main stream media, career politicians, and establishment republicans is reason enough for me to consider him a worthy candidate.

    February 22, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  8. Muldoon in Ohio

    Next Santorum proclamation: A vote for Romney or a vote for Obama is a vote for Satan. I wonder how a campaign of fear will go over with most voters....

    February 22, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  9. Redfray

    People we know the ideology of seperation of church and state is not define according to the American dictionary. Any elementry students could explain the Constitutional definition of seperation of church better than most of our politicians. The propaganda by the evil politicians is the same as satan, turn the truth into a lie. Satan did this in the Garden of Eden, and look where we are now. If spiritual integrity is not necessary for our political elected people, why is American going down?

    February 22, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  10. 333maxwell

    Ya.. this cat talks about Satan infiltrating our institutions like Education, and now the churches. These great institutions in American have been hijacked.

    He never once takes notice of Satan hijacking American Politics and politicians.Hmmm go figure.

    February 22, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  11. arizona today

    CNN: I am shocked to find believers in churches. Shocked!

    Controversy? It's not controversial that Christians talk about biblical things like Heaven and Hell, God and Satan in church. Maybe it seems strange to atheist media. You don't think John Kennedy or Jimmy Carter knew Satan was real? Should every pastor apologize for talking about righteousness and evil? Most of the American people believe and stand amazed at examples like this of a clueless media that politicizes people living out their free expression of faith. Visit a good church this Sunday morning.

    February 22, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  12. JJJJ

    So, believing in good and evil is a problem?Since when. I can give you many examples of both. More piling on and trying to make a person of strong religious beliefs look like a crazy person.

    February 22, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  13. Faith

    Destroy all candidates is the mantra behind Romney and Obama to set up the continued marching of the left agenda even if Obama goes down in flames. Satan? Socialism is satanism. Taking out the individuals desire to succeed and ability to reach for ones dreams is evil. That is liberalsim in a nut shell. Folks who want to be protected and supported off the work and efforts of others. Too weak to stand on their own. Too scared to make thier own financial way they look toward society to be their "parent". I will turn over all my humanity and joy of life as long as I am safe with some food in my mouth and roof over my head. Pathetic.

    February 22, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  14. Mike

    I tell you, the more things the media finds to crab about a candidate, the more I like him.

    February 22, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  15. jeff johnson

    Ricky, you don't have a platform. What about taxes, jobs, foreign affairs and on and on and on?

    February 22, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. Todd

    If Santorum believes in good and evil, then maybe he should recognize the evil in is voting record and bow out.

    February 22, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  17. Citizen

    And Mr. Sanctimonious has the gal to criticize theocracy in the middle east; what a hypocrite

    February 22, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  18. Bob

    So he only cares if Satan is attacking America if it's of social interest, if it gets him elected? This is not relevant in America today??? 2008 was Osama...Obama, maybe 2012 is Satan...Santorum?

    “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.

    February 22, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  19. Wisconsingirl

    I believe in good and evil, too, and, sir, you are evil.

    February 22, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  20. Amazing

    What he really means is that everyone who agrees with him is good and everyone who disagrees with him is evil. Remember this is the same man who said there is no such thing as a liberal Christian.

    February 22, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  21. oman

    Samtorum believes in all evil and because he is no good. Faith without good deeds is dead.

    February 22, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  22. Desert Red

    "The devil did it" and "God did it" is so much easier than searching out the tangible causes of what's wrong and what's right with the world.

    February 22, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  23. 'Nother-Son-'O-Ursus

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

    Rick Santorum ISN'T on the minds of the voters either!

    February 22, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  24. desmond24

    Mr. Santorum, if you can't stand the heat stay out of the %#@& kitchen!! You are what you say – given the context! If you are going to be a superstitious, anti-intellectual, anti-science candidate, you have a long row to hoe. How in the world do you ever think that you will get intelligent, well educated, democrats, independents and women to ever consider voting for you? You might as well become a preacher because your political days are numbered and, anyway, you may even have a penchant for that.

    February 22, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  25. Ozzie

    Little Ricky never speaks about the issues that are on most people's minds. His message is filled with racist overtones, moral righteousness, a disdain for people who do not share his religious beliefs, and an absolute hatred for President Obama. He attracts and feeds the narrow-minded. Ricky is the male equivalent of Sarah Palin. Lots of immature, silly, fear-mongering, divisive chatter.

    February 22, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
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