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. silliness

    How I long for the day when we might have a president who doesn't believe in such fairy tale nonsense. Unfortuanately I'll have to be waiting a long time it seems.

    February 22, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  2. Dan

    This guy lies out of both sides of his mouth. “What we’re talking about in America today is trying to get America growing. That’s what my speeches are about," says they guy who's talking about contraception, abortion, theology–everything BUT job growth. LIAR.

    February 22, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. Gary Johnson

    Anyone that DOESN'T think that Satan is at work in America and around the world is a much bigger nut-job than the accused Rick Santorum. Anyone who cannot see that as a fact should be disqualified from running...not the other way around.

    February 22, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. LetsBeCivil

    Don't know about anyone else, but 2008 was not that long ago. I want to know his feelings on this: I don't want to vote for someone based on what HE wants to discuss and then find out later he's a nut job that goes off the religious deep end once he's in office.

    February 22, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  5. Lamar Carnes

    What do you mean defend his statements regarding good and evil and Satan! Are you crazy or something! People of all faiths regard such as being true and it is a reality of life man! Those who do not believe in such a relatively FEW in number and also not very wise!! So, defend, he doesn't need to defend anything – this is a red herring by those who try to case dispersions upon another person who they do not like. And it is a feeble deal at best!! Waste of space and breath to even mention it at all. Come on guys wise up and get real!!

    February 22, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  6. CoJo

    Remember, SAntorum got fired from Pennsylvania as their senator. And you wonder why?

    February 22, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  7. TR

    Keep your faith out of my government. It has no place there. Any more than any other religion has a place in government.

    February 22, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  8. Texas Patriot

    And he's right . . . .

    February 22, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  9. Randy

    How refreshing to have a man of principle running for office. Hang in there Rick. You can do it!

    February 22, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  10. Ken Andrews

    If Santorum had been alive during the Salem trials, he would have been one of the Witch Craft Judges and burned at the stake, those he saw as evil.

    February 22, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  11. Mr. Turtle

    Medieval Thought in 21st century America. Mr. Santorum, one question, does the Earth revolve around the sun, or vice versa?

    February 22, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  12. Katie

    There are no current GOP politicians who could hold a candle to President Reagan when it comes to personal character and integrity. Reagan not only understood the importance of diplomacy and respect, he displayed it every day of his life. And funny that no current GOP politician seems to understand that Reagan believed firmly that the poor and the elderly deserved a full safety net (which he would never have thought to call 'entitlement'), but also doubled the size of government, outspent all his previous predecessors, secretly supplied arms to Iranian terrorists in order to fund Nicaraguan terrorists, and pushed for de-regulation and big business tax cuts and investments in the name of his 'trickle-down' economics, which led this country to the brink of economic collapse. Which of those things do these current GOP politicians believe they stand for?? Santorum wants to align the government with the fundamental laws of his religion, and he has little regard for women. He sounds more like the Taliban than Reagan.

    February 22, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. Grundoon

    Well, isn't that special.

    February 22, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  14. Austin

    All these people complaining about Drudge being all for Romney.... WAKE UP! Anybody with any common sense what-so-ever wouldn't vote for Sanotrum, or Gingrich either. And Santorum because he hasnt done one thing that makes him suitable to be President... NOT ONE! Other than shoving his faith down our throats and unfortunately, the far right republican evangelicals are eating it up, because the truth is they dont want a Mormon in office. Our biggest problem is spending and debt, you cant look at both mens records and say that Santorum has the better record on either and its not even close. But vote for a man whose going to alienate, not only women but all people who dont want to hear about the devil and religion, because that garbage isnt Americas problem.

    February 22, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  15. AJ

    GW Bush again......... next thing you know the economics markets will re-collapse, we will go into another stupid war, and the rich will get another tax break.

    February 22, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  16. GRAHAME RHODES

    Where have I heard this before? Oh Yeh! Jim Jones aka David Koresh. Tell me Rick are you all going to go to the great spaceship in the sky hiding behind Halley's Comet. Maybe your the second coming of Christ or perhaps the 15 million. Please get the nomination because you will be laughed right out of politics forever, just like the other Jerry Springer impersonators

    February 22, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  17. lovetheusa1234

    Matt Drudge is my HERO! I loved the black and white pic too, says it all! We need to vet these people before it is too late. I don't understand how so many people believe it is only the establishment republicans who back Mitt Romney! His words after winning New Hampshire told me that I would be proud to have him run this wonderful country. I believe he will bring pride and prosperity back to the USA. I'm so glad that Santorum has opened his mouth over the last week because being a Catholic, republican female, my vote is staying with Mitt Romney.

    February 22, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  18. Joe

    Funny, if they aren't relevant today were they relevant words for 2008? Oh, but so much has changed, Satan is no longer relevant like he was in 2008? C'mon, you said what you said, "repent" and ye shalt be forgiven.

    February 22, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  19. asm_ith

    The problem isn't a belief in good and evil. The problem believing that those who disagree with you are evil. It's one thing to believe that the President's policies are wrong; it's another thing to believe that the President is evil and his policies are intended to harm America.

    February 22, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  20. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Did anybody ask Obama if he believes in good and evil? If he's a Christian as he proclaims, the answer would be yes. So he and Santorum would agree on this issue. But is the LSM making it an issue with Obama??? If not why not? Only one reason, to try and portray Santorum in a bad light and paint him as some religious zealot. The LSM media has to do this to get Obama re-elected in 2012 because he sure can't get re-elected on his record of failure.

    February 22, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  21. wonderwall

    Interesting that Santorum would shut down institutions such as the Dept of Education yet claims that "satan is attacking the great institutions of America." I guess he is the only one who can pick and choose which are the great institutions. Leave it to man to decide what is good and evil instead of GOD.

    February 22, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  22. pastmorm

    If there were a satan then I think we'd be able to refer to that other biblical reference of a wolf in sheeps clothes....If I've ever seen evil running for President of the United States of America, I've seen it in Santorum.

    February 22, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  23. pugszb

    The majority of the Nazi party were catholics. They had the same talking points about superiority concerning religion. I'll take a clear headed, calm leader any day. This guy is trying to get a lobbyist job for the catholic church. Obama 2012.

    February 22, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  24. Rick

    Ricky is lucky that SuperPACs are legal now, otherwise he would have dropped out of the race long ago. These godawful GOP candidates are still running because they have a rich old geezer with nothing else to do with his millions funding the campaign.

    Campaigns are for getting supporters, which Ricky and Newty have none. Ricky has his rich protestant supporter, and Newty has his rich Jewish supporters, writing the checks for millions every month to keep these bozos in the news.

    The bush supreme court appointees legacy of the citizens united decision will haunt us for decades.

    February 22, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  25. SCAtheist

    Please dear Jesus, God, and Holy Spirit give Santorum unto us. PLEASE!

    February 22, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
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