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. IslandAlpha

    The world according to Rick. H-m-m-m-. Scarey place indeed.

    February 22, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. Paul1st

    There is danger when someone like Santorum espouses evil in the name of good, thinking that he knows what is truly good and what is truly evil. This is a common trait among histories greatest despots and false prophets.

    February 22, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. J in MI

    The problem with Santorum's couching everything in religious rehtoric is that he is then free to make statements that have no basis in fact. Futhermore, there is no way for the American people to force him to reconcile his stated views with established fact when his argument is "Well, that's what I BELIEVE."

    February 22, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. TexasCentrist

    It's disturbing that such medieval thinking persists in this day and age. Good and evil? As in God and the Devil? This is on the same level as witchcraft, a belief which virtually everyone would laugh at today.

    February 22, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    If he'll be defending everything he says, then let the digging begin! I am sure willing to believe that someone is going to find some words from college and early runs for Congress (either house) that he'll have to defend in someway.

    February 22, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. Lars

    And we are to believe this man will not ban birth control?!?!

    February 22, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. crustaceon

    Oh my! I'm so very open-minded and I was considering voting for whats-his-face but now this!!! I'll just have to accept $5+ gasoline, 9% unemployment as the new normal, Iran with Nukes, government bureaucrat-run health care, higher taxes, home foreclosures, debt enslavement to China and our Constitutional government supplanted by Czars. Anything to avoid a President who... um... what did he say?

    February 22, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. TruthMan

    Why is that Barack Obama is never held accountable for all of the crazy things he says....and is NEVER asked about any mistakes he has ever made??
    The TruthMan

    February 22, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  9. MATT

    Rick is being forced to RESPOND to things that he believes in. Some of the posts on this article paint the picture that he is flaunting something and forcing his beliefs on people. Don't you understand that this line of attacks on his faith and his beliefs is done on purpose to paint him as a fringe candidate. The media is trying to control the sheep. Never once was Obama forced to defend his beliefs like this.

    February 22, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  10. the truth

    After German Roman Catholics were tricked by Hitler into supporting him with his calls for a Catholic Theocracy in Germany as part of Nazism – educated Roman Catholics KNOW from history that any politician trying to IMPOSE our religion onto others in our society – and restricting their freedom of choice – is NOT to be trusted.

    Santorum and Newt are the worst of Roman Catholic influence in society.

    February 22, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  11. bretaxis

    "I fear we will not survive our Paleolithic emotions."

    E. O. Wilson

    February 22, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  12. Brenda

    These are Santorum's own words. They were not taken out of context and he didn't bother to deny any of them. We need more questions asked of him and for the people to see who he really is.

    February 22, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  13. mike

    It's comical how the media ignored Obama and Jeremiah Wright in 2008, yet they're digging through religious minutia when it comes to Santorum.

    February 22, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  14. Joe The Plumber

    Santorum is giving Christainity a bad name.. No one purporting to follow Christ's teachings speaks such hate. So I DO QUESTION Santorums faith!!!

    February 22, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  15. Mike

    When this man speaks, he drives liberals nuts.

    He has my vote.

    February 22, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  16. JC in SC

    Yeah. And the last time we heard this from a self-proclaimed expert on "evil", George W. "Insane" Bush took us to a trumped up war in Iraq to take revenge against Saddam Hussein. And I'm hearing the same insanity from this Santorum dude who doesn't much care about coexisting in the world with anyone except other fundamentalist Christians. He and Bush both have no use for the Biblical truth that revenge belongs to God, our Creator. It is not for Santorum or any other human being to perpetuate the Bush "culture of hatred". Just remember what Santorum has said in debates about radical Muslims. He thinks they all are.

    February 22, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  17. the truth

    TruthMan

    Why is that Barack Obama is never held accountable for all of the crazy things he says....and is NEVER asked about any mistakes he has ever made??
    The TruthMan

    Really>>>? NEVER
    See I thought there was a major 24 Hour channel that does nothing but spread propoganda against President Obama.
    Oh and quite a few far right wing news sites also owned by the Main Stream Corporate world.

    Your comment makes you look a fool.

    February 22, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. Mrs. Reason

    Any fool that believes that a man with strong convictions in his faith will impose his faith on the country are just that, FOOLS. Did none of you actually pay attention in civics class? The President cannot, let me repeat that for emphasis, CANNOT impose his religion on the rest of the country. What a crock for ANYONE who says that if he is elected he will do just that. Now his religious values will definitely play a part in what bills he signs that come across his desk, but folks, HE DOES NOT MAKE THE LAWS. Hello? Geez you people are ignorant. Every single president we've had has had strong religious convictions. Are we a theocracy yet? Obama says he's a Christian. That means he believes in good and evil as well, doesn't it? So what you really don't like is he is not afraid to talk about it. He's not afraid to not be politically correct, but to be honest. Those on here that are trying to play this out like it's a bad thing that a man have strong convictions and believe in something, you won't be voting for him no matter what anyway, so no need to listen to your garbage. It's only meant to scare the stupid people who don't know better.

    February 22, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  19. Shore Wood

    Why is this absurd Santorum? These are your own words. You are the one insulting Protestants.

    I was shocked to see that he said,

    "We look at the shape of mainline Protestantism in this country and it is in shambles,
    it is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it."

    Santorum is scary. Is he running for President or Pope?
    He sounds like Satan !!!!

    February 22, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  20. Charlie

    God will save us? I sure hope God knows how to write better tax law.

    February 22, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  21. the truth

    TexasCentrist

    It's disturbing that such medieval thinking persists in this day and age. Good and evil? As in God and the Devil?

    God and The Devil are human constructs for something very real inside each of us – Good and Evil.
    Santorum just can not see the evil in himself – oh he will say "we are all sinners" but he does not SEE the real evil that has taken over his mind – blind faith, and the desire to control others.

    February 22, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  22. Get real

    2 Corinthians 4:4
    The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

    This is why it will take a miracle for Santorum to be elected; too many walking in darkness.

    February 22, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  23. Fair Taxes

    Science flies you to the Moon,

    Religion flies you into buildings,

    Where will Rick Santorum's religion fly America? To the moon or into a building?

    February 22, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  24. Kaylie

    I would much rather listen to solutions to the problems our country faces and currently has(such as lack of educated people in my town), then to hear about mythological beings causing them to happen. I believe if this candidate wins, all logic and reason will be thrown into the fire as he proposes to bring back the inquisitions.

    February 22, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  25. Paul

    Thank you Rick, from all of your hate filled, divisive speeches, hidden behind the robe of religion, you have proved evil really does exist!

    February 22, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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