February 21st, 2012
09:07 PM ET
3 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. jerry walters

    This guy is over the top. Saint Sanatorium has no chance at winning the general election playing the role of God. He is a laughing stock.

    February 22, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  2. Ipso

    Call for the Witchsmeller Pursuivant!

    February 22, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  3. Randy, San Francisco

    The problem with Santorum's conservative and fiery rhetoric is that only true believers understand and believe him. He will have a difficult time convincing main stream America.

    February 22, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  4. A True Centrist

    As I wrote yesterday, I believe Santorum is a good man but he is crazy. I believe President Obama is a good man but he is a failure in the White House. If it comes down to those two, it will either be the first time I don't vote, or the first time I write-in a candidate.

    It's amazing that these two are the best we could find in a country of over 300,000,000 people.

    February 22, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  5. Mike D

    Santorum believes in good and evil, but he doesn't seem to realize which side he's actually playing for.

    February 22, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  6. Dutra

    Drudge doesn't report anything. The page is simply a collection of links with some catchy titles.

    February 22, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  7. Punisher2000

    Since he is only seriously catering to his audience, the lunatic fringe, he has absolutely no elect-ability from the general public. Wher does GOP get these extremists? We have serious problems and he talks social conservative? His economic plan is nuts. Get rid of this moron. No wonder GOP is so worried.

    February 22, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  8. jim

    If you cast every viewpoint you disagree with as being corrupted by satan, then you leave yourself no room for compromise or even civil disagreement, and that does disqualify you from being President.

    February 22, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  9. jim

    This country was founded so people could be free from those like Rick Santorum.

    February 22, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  10. Ol' Lefty

    I believe in good and evil also. I happen to believe the GOP is currently doing everything they can to destroy the middle and poorer classes, which I consider evil.

    February 22, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  11. A Moderate

    This man is a buffoon. How could anybody possibly vote for superstitious crud like this?

    February 22, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  12. Not All Docs Play Golf

    Just when I thought Santorum was getting even more scary, he now says you can't be an environmentalist and be a Christian. What? What? What?

    February 22, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  13. Balls McGhee

    i believe in good and evil and Rick Santorum is EVIL!!!

    February 22, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  14. Anonymous Coward

    I have some major concerns about a man running for President who will base his official decisions on the belief that an undetectable evil spirit is attacking the country.

    February 22, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  15. davec.0121

    A true religious fanatic, right out of the mold of the Ayatollah. A black & white, intolerant, quasi-medieval belief set that demonizes his opponents as evil, godless people worthy only of scorn, or worse. No logical thought processes, with everything filtered through his narrow, rigid religious beliefs. A profound disrespect for the equality of women, who should all be happy to adopt the role he has prescribed for them. An unwillingness to acknowledge or tolerate the idea that people might not agree with his beliefs or want to live by them, and an eagerness to compel them to do so, using the government's power to enforce his standards of morality. Torquemada would be proud.

    February 22, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  16. RN

    I am like most folks in the GOP: I miss the old days, the way it is supposed to be, when peasants would rise up and overthrow the landlords and local corrupt leaders and burn them alive in the public square. I miss the stoning of all those people who rob us each day. Most of all I miss leaders with some intelligence and integrity. I need to leave the GOP for these last two things...

    February 22, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  17. eholl

    Supposing that "good and evil" exist as Santorum believes, the next question that comes to my mind is "How do you define the the good and the evil?" My answer to that question is that evil would be the unforgiving, hateful, evangellical rightwing of the Republican party. They are always judging, throwing stones, condemning others, and are certainly no friend to the poor. WWJD? Given what I know about Jesus and his teachings I think he would be appalled at the hateful ideas and rhetoric coming from some of these whackos.

    February 22, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  18. dc

    So...he'll defend everything he says, but yet he dodged the questions about Ave Maria speech. "I'm going to stay on message"? He's spent the past month attacking the morality of everything from contraception to pre-natal testing to civil rights. He's compared Obama to Hitler (yet another thing he said but wouldn't defend) and insinuated on multiple occasions that Obama and Romney are "evil".

    Honestly, at this point it doesn't matter who the GOP nominee is. I was prepared to vote for Romney or Huntsman, but if these are the kinds of positions that the GOP is willing to support candidates on, I don't want any of them anywhere near the White House.

    This election is just a disaster either way. Where-o-where have the moderates gone?

    February 22, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  19. mitch

    The fact that Drudge finds basic tenets of Christianity shocking (like a battle between good and evil and a real force for evil identified as Satan) tells you how far Christianity has fallen out of mainstream thought.

    February 22, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  20. bethjoyce

    There is no such thing as Satan. This is a fantasy and Santorum lives in fantasy land. I think we need someone more grounded in reality to be the leader of the free world.

    February 22, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  21. enbeuu

    This guy must have decided to go for the POTUS; when he saw the long odds of him going to the senate.
    Somewhere he heard a sermovn on putting his faith to the test.
    Oh well, this is what happened.

    February 22, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  22. realitybites

    Of course this doesn't reflect anything about you in these times. Wink, wink! Americans are more worried about other things than what Satan has managed to do w/ American commercialized megachurch Christianity and the GOP. Don't look over here folks. See the pretty shiny thing I'm waving? Does it make you feel good? Now here's some fear to scare you into not questioning things that really don't make a whole lot of sense.
    Rick, 1st of all, has as much chance of becoming president as a Gay man does of being a front runner for the GOP and 2nd, it is absolutely mindboggling the amount of money he and his contenders have raised and spent on getting nowhere for the 2012 election. I wonder what that kind of money could have do to help the less fortunate who continue to struggle daily in this country?
    Honestly, think to yourself. If you were Satan,if he existed, how would you enter the fabric of America? Right out in the open posing as an evil guy or a liberal who works tirelessly for social justice and common good or right in plain sight where desparate and deluded people feel that they are safe and taken care of by the religious leaders? I may not be a smart man but, I know what gullible is. Just because you believe in good and evil doesn't mean you're good or better than other's becuase you've been told you are. Evil comes in all forms, and those that are scared to use the brain God gave them are just as guilty as those that lead them to their demise. History has a nasty was of repeating itself. Pride is a deadly sin. I see far too much of it in Rick Santorum.

    February 22, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  23. BarackBacker

    Oh, I thought he was talking about fabric. I thought he said "satin" was attacking America.

    February 22, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  24. Bill in AZ

    The philosophy is simple. If you agree with The Most Holy Santorum, you are good. If you disagree with The Most Holy Santorum, you are a minion of the Devil.

    February 22, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  25. MrV

    Let me sort this out. He was against Satan four years ago and now it's not an issue? Hmmm. Sounds like a flip-flop to me.

    February 22, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
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