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. robonono

    with this common mean he's not fit to be a president, he so despert to win this election and try to woo the brain wash people, leaving the religion out of how to lead the country as a president. all the candidate are so pededic , what a joke. if us vote for these people i don't know how we gone end up, like muslim country, maybe. back to thousand years ago, use religion as a weapon and harm a lot of good and innocent people.

    February 22, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  2. DAn

    Please keep religion out of politics. I'm not a Christian but I am a citizen, I don't want to be ruled by zealots.

    February 22, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. LV

    GOP = circular firing squad of nut jobs. Leaves it wide open for Obama. I think Obama will win by a landslide.

    February 22, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. Jack

    OK this is easy. He and those who think exactly like him are good. Everyone else is evil. Simple minds simple idea simple solutions.

    February 22, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. Dan

    Are you kidding me! Do of you conservative constitutional experts know anything about the separation of church and state! If you want religion, go to church! If you don't believe in contraception, or abortion, then what are you going to do with the population explosion that will soon follow? Are you going to dictate how much can go on behind closed bedroom doors? I really do not understand the GOP. I get that they want smaller government. But they want more involvement in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and now a women's body! They want no tax increase on the wealthy, or big corporations. The same big corporations that have shipped the manufacturing jobs overseas to take advantage of cheap labor cost. The game has been rigged to extort money from the untied states, and the rich do not create jobs! So if you want a government that takes programs from your parents! Hates mandates on anything so people can ride the medical system on those premiums from the insured. Tells you when and how to have relations with and whom they think you should. Tells you how to pray, and when. Then vote republican. And women all over America need to get ready for there Burka's. Soon you will need to where a star on your arm, listen to Rush Goebbels Hannity Limbaugh.

    February 22, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. ak2k

    “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,” – Yes, but will your goals remain this secular if you win the Presidency???....highly doubt it.

    February 22, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Dominican mama wrote:

    Santorum keeps getting portrayed as a liar, and getting called on "these things" because he keeps opening up his Chrishun mouth and talking about them. Period.
    ---------–
    Exactly. There are more recent Santorum quotes from last fall that are more troubling than these remarks. If he stopped talking about this stuff on the campaign trail, then this stuff wouldn't be an issue for him. But yet, this is the narrative fight that he wants to fight.

    February 22, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. richunix

    Yes I believe in good and evil, but it is "good" and "evil" men do to each other, not based on some made-up deity. That would be to easy.....as Flip Wilson used to say: "The devil made me do it"!

    Stephen F Roberts: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

    February 22, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Santorum needs to stop letting the LSM play him like a fiddle. He needs to stay focused on the economic disaster Obama prolongs with his policies and the debt fiasco Obama has brought. Wake up Santorum!! Get back on track!!!

    February 22, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. CBinKY

    So lets see if I have this right. Santorum:
    1. Opposes that insurance companies should have to provide certain types of coverage since they are "people." (Guess killing off start up companies is abortion then).
    2. Doesn't understand the meaning of THEOLOGY (since he claims a Obama has a "false theology").
    3. Thinks women shouldn't be in charge of their own body.
    4. Thinks the devil is out to get America (and just wait he will soon say the Devil is trying to get him as well).
    5. Brings home dead fetuses to show his children.

    How much longer should we tolerate this type of bull in the name of religion? If he wasn't invoking god as his source, he would have already been considered suitable for a "Sanitorium".

    February 22, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. Columbus

    Isn't the conservative message that we are responsible for our own actions? Sounds like his defense would be: "the devil made me do it"

    February 22, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  12. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    "But if America is to avoid financial catastrophe, the next president must be willing to downsize government, jettison some of its operations and slash a federal work force that has grown by 12 percent over the past four years," the board said. "Romney is best equipped for that task."
    =============================================================================================
    Well it's nice to know that these people don't have their heads up their backside as most liberals do.
    Note that the federal workforce GREW under Obama even when the country was in hard times and running huge deficits.
    Obama is NOT the answer, but a huge part of the problem.

    February 22, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  13. T'sah from Virginia

    ►New York Nick
    The way this country mocks people of faith would make our founders sick to their stomachs. They came here for freedom to practice their religion unfettered from the English Crown◄

    Okay, but they came here and STOLE the land from the Indians and MURDERED them; then they brought slaves here to do their work then HUNG them; others followed because at the time it was allowed; then more came but now they want to EXPORT them – The forefathers really got it right all right – And I wonder if they were praying the whole time they thought hanging someone from a tree was justified or slaughtering innocent people through their experiments (Tuskegee, to name one) was right!! The constitution was written for those who lived centuries ago – it’s NOT today and that is why there are AMENDMENTS!! There are all types of religion here and NO ONE should be forced to practice what came here in the first place!!

    And doggone it – YOU ARE a KNICK fan????

    February 22, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. Alger Dave

    Well, the Detroit News just endorsed Romney, saying that Santorum in incapable of beating Obama in November. I guess there are 2 main problems with this argument:
    1. Romney, a social moderate (or whatever you need him to be today) and a fiscal conservative looks a whole lot like the guy Obama beat 4 years ago! Remember him, Senator McCain – decorated war hero and fiscal conservative. Republicans got about as excited about him as they did about cold toast. Blame it on Bush you say? Well I'd counter with the fact that one of the most famous Republicans in our country (McCain) was walloped by a political newby (Obama). Think it can't happen again? Just wait to see what the unexciting Romney will do...
    2. As we continue to see the economy improving, the skies ahead are looking a bit more shiny....for the Democrats. That's particularly true if the Republicans field a 'one-issue' candidate like Romney. He's the 'CEO' ready to fix our nation's economy. But wait, he's about a year too late as it's already fixing itself (or, God forbid, Obama has fixed it). So, it's looking more and more like we don't need a 'fixer' very much going forward. I'm not saying that our government and economy don't have serious, long-term problems that need fixing, but who's really going to care about that in the voting booth next November, when unemployment is on the decline (and around 6-7% by my estimate) and everyone is feeling good. Why vote for the 'fixer' then? Not particularly appealing.
    So...this is why Romney will be weak in November, but why will Santorum be any stronger? Mostly because when folks AREN'T deathly afraid of losing their job or house, they're afraid of the government doing something stupid like forcing churches to violate their consciences, or letting our country become weak, or other issues. This fall, the economy is going to be fine, and Santorum will be seen as a reasonable alternative to Obama on non-economic issues. Romney going to be left without an issue, looking a day late and a dollar short.

    February 22, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  15. JBSPuddintane

    But he's right, you know.

    February 22, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. ART

    A vote for Santorum means trying to bring crazy to the white house

    February 22, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  17. Michelle

    I absolutely love this guy. He's exactly what this country needs right now. Amen brother.

    February 22, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  18. jack johnson

    Every time santorum opens his mouth it makes me wonder if he is running for president, or PASTOR OF WESTBORO CHURCH. This man sounds more like an antichrist than the saten himself. Saten moves quitley, but Santorum is out spoken!

    February 22, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. theo

    Christians believe in Satan, duh, nothing new here. Maybe Drudge should have a splashy headline about how Romney believes Jesus and Satan are brothers, and how Jesus is just another spirit like us, not God, not a member of the Trinity. That's basic Mormon teaching.

    February 22, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Did anybody ask Obama if he believes in good and evil? If he's a Christian as he proclaims
    ------------------------
    "IF he is a Christian..." You almost had me engaging you Truth. Thank God for that Birther-like, idiotic comment. Snapped me right back.

    February 22, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Truth and Nothing wrote:

    Wake up Santorum!! Get back on track!!!
    ---------------
    If you listen to Camp Santorum, he is on the right track. This is the national discussion of Santorum's dreams.

    February 22, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  22. mouse

    The problem is, and all religious people should be aware of this, that there are TOO many religions out there. Yeah sure this time you MIGHT pick someone of your faith but what if you don't? Seperation of Church and State means something and really to be honest it should mean something to everyone, religious or not!

    February 22, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  23. Backdoorpalin

    "Leave it to Santorum" It's a 50's show about a man in a sweater vest, who is happy in his ideal world where women stay at home and take care of the kids, there are no coloreds allowed at his club, and only people who believe in God his way get ahead....

    February 22, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  24. BDM

    Well, the radical pious use the devil as an excuse to not change in the way they act or speak about others, and then they use God as an excuse for not taking responsibility for the outcome of their narrow minded attitude and intolerant actions. Its called playing both ends against the middle... or politics in the 21st century.

    February 22, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  25. arale norimaki

    Rick Santorum is the anti-gay, anti-abortion anti-womyn, anti-science.Who is running on these social issues. Never mind health reform or jobs. Or anything important or non-discriminatory, for that matter.

    February 22, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
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