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. max33333445555

    More people have seen UFOs than have seen Satan (or God) yet we still consider religious folks sane while we consider UFO sightings to be hoaxes and those reporting them to be nuts. How about an atheist that believes in UFOs for president?

    February 22, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  2. CoJo

    Graham and Santorum certainly have the right to their opinions on abortion or any other topic. But there is SUPPOSE to be this freedom of religion in the US which THEY do not preacher nor practice. Their actions speak louder than any of their words!!! Supposedly this country (and the catholic religion) was built on freedom of choice. If that is true, why are they pushing their religous bigotry???

    February 22, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. ja

    if rick was so religious he would be a fulltime preacher not a politician, politics are inherently secular by its nature, hands down, imagine spending the type money spent to get elected, hypocrit

    February 22, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. Gregg

    Rep Waters (D) CA can call members of the GO{P demons and the media give her a pass. Santorum states a basic belief in GENERAL and get raked over the coals

    February 22, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. Log Cabin

    This simplistic good/evil worldview is evidence of an undeveloped brain. This guy wants to drag America into the Dark Ages. I hope he's the GOP nominee!

    February 22, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  6. Valerie

    I think Rick Santorum is right when he says that his religious beliefs are not the issues that voters are concerned with, at least conservative voters aren't. I recall in the 2008 election cycle that the MSM wasn't concerned with Barak Obama's religious ideology, even though it was somewhat out of the mainstream of American Christian beliefs; i.e. Rev. Wright.
    I also think that the senator is correct in saying that the majority of Americans believe in good and evil-so the MSM trying to make something out of a speech he made to a Christian group is out of context in the political realm, in my humble opinion.

    February 22, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  7. Jack in Florida

    Our Founding Fathers had the wisdom to separate, Church and State. We allow people of ALL religions to worship however they choose to worship. Rick Santorum's 'holier than thou" attitude, with his self righteousness is the EVIL that is hiding behind his proselytizing about GOD. Judge not, yet thee be judged!! (Funny, when you spell check Santorum, the computer wants to replace the word with Sanitarium.......what does spell check know that we don't???)

    February 22, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  8. gran

    Santorum's Christian way seems to be to instill fear into the American people. Now is that WWJD? The American people have wised up to the GOP's similar tactics that they have used for oh so long. All the holier than thou attitudes only fuel me (a practicing Christian) to think that there is a lot of hostility behind those delivering such harsh words. The more he speaks, the more he looks less Presidential!

    February 22, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  9. The Other Dale

    "I'll defend everything I say ..." by ignoring and sidestepping the questions. Because, after all, that's what a man fighting for good against evil does – cowers away, afraid to speak his mind unless he's with a room full of cronies. So it appears that he's not only insane, he's gutless as well.

    February 22, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  10. John

    Rick is acting like our spiritual leader and needs to start acting like a government leader.

    February 22, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  11. Faith

    Anyone who truly believes in God, knows there is a Satan. We are told in the bible the things we come up against are dark forces (Satan.) We are told he roams the earth looking to destroy. But, God's provision and protection is greater than the dark one. If people have a problem with this, then quit saying you "believe in God." Do not call yourself a Christian. Satan isn't some spooky man in a red robe and pitchfork. He is seen in the lusts of the flesh (greed, fornication, idolatry, murder.) The bible says ALL sin is from Satan. And no one can argue that we are a very sinful nation. And it is getting worse. But, if we turn from our wicked ways and uphold God as THE one to look to, we will be covered by his protection. I haven't been a Santorum supporter, but I am starting to like him more and more. I think he has my vote.

    February 22, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  12. Bill

    That what we need, America's answer to Ahmadinejad.

    February 22, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  13. Jon

    "the conservative leaning Drudge Report" ~ LOL. Drudge is a liberal RINO. He has been bashing every conservative that has risen to the top of the field and has treated liberal Matt Rino with kid gloves.

    February 22, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  14. Leticia Velasquez

    Taking Santorum out of context is the favorite occupation of the Obama sycophants in the media. Those who view the killing of unborn children as evil might say that a certain party is evil. This is not news!

    February 22, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  15. Chuck

    Well from what I read of the speech, it would appear that he slammed protestants of having fallen to Satan. If this is true, as a protestant (Presbyterian), I don't think he would represent my interests if he were president. So maybe he should address this issue to assure me he does not think I may be a satanist.

    February 22, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  16. DJM3

    If you don't believe what Santorum said, you are blind. Our Country is being assaulted in every way.

    February 22, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  17. james pfeiffer

    Santorum is one very very dangerous man. The fact that there are actually real people who think that he would somehow make us a better nation is unfathomable. It really speaks to the sad level of American sophistication and global wisdom. This guy lives in a real, paranoid burning-bush fantasy world. Beware women's rights, beware seperation of church and state, beware revisionist history, beware health care, beware environment, beware global warming, beware science. This guy is a dinosaur. For Santorum, satan lies behind every corner and has taken refuge in just about anything that this limited evangelical egotist is unable to intellectually process.

    February 22, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  18. ObamaJoe

    If Mitt unite Michael,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Michael will unite GOP for him,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    It seems Mitt did not get it yet,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    February 22, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  19. silliness

    Satan told me he wished that we could someday have a president who didn't believe in fairy tale nonsense. Unfortunately that doesn't seem likely anytime soon.

    February 22, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  20. JohnW

    If you want proof Satan is working in America, I give you exhibit A: Santorum's rise in the polls.

    February 22, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  21. RJP3

    Oh I believe Evil is real - and I believe in the EVIL of those who misuse religion to try to impose THEOCRACY for POWER GRABS.

    Santorum and his own kind running around screaming about evil and Satan – never realizing it is they who are fully possessed and spreading evil as an agent of the worst in inhumanity.

    February 22, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  22. Mark

    One side of his mouth states " I'll defend everything I say."
    The other side says "“Guys these are questions that are
    not relevant to what’s being discussed in America today."

    There aren't enough voters in America who buy into that.

    February 22, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  23. Anti-Santorum

    This Santorum guy sounds just like the Ayatollah Khomeni, except without a beard. When a culture becomes so morosely fanatic and backwards in its thinking, it crumbles. If this guy gets elected, or even comes close, you will know America has reached the end of its life as a nation.

    February 22, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  24. asdf

    If he believes in the devil then he has clearly let the devil manipulate his strong faith into doing his bidding. What good things does he produce? We only hear hatred mixed with an “us against them” thought process. He speaks of nothing that lifts us all up and guides us to a better future. "Judge a tree by its fruits" as Jesus says – but then again Jesus would never attack poor people (if you have never read the bible he tended to help them), only the devil would do that.

    February 22, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  25. Lolita

    Santorum is right. Satan is attacking the very institutions of this country. How many millions of babies have been aborted? That is just one instance. Filthy language, nudity, debauchery is all over our tv screens and movie screens. If you don't believe Satan is constantly on the attack then you don't believe in the Bible.

    February 22, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
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