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. Soylent

    Fun fact: Catholics don't believe in Satan as the antithesis of God. They also accept evolution, and they discovered the Big Bang. This guy is a serious discredit to Catholics everywhere. He's saying whatever he can to pander to clueless right-wing evangelical types.

    February 22, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  2. jboHDrider

    Just what we need is a religous nut job to take the oval office. He will be passing his form of judgement on everyone he deals with. Luckily there is no chance of him winning but If this is what the GOP wants as their contender, they will be a long time in getting to the oval office again. As an independant, I am amazed that the GOP has let him get into the race and make it this far, they really don't want my vote at all. Santorum is a joke but a really scary joke!

    February 22, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  3. LordFlashheart

    I hope you win the nod Rick, I truly do.

    Obama 2012

    February 22, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  4. v_mag

    Ricky Sanctimonious believes in good and evil. Unfortunately, he can't tell the difference.

    February 22, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. Paul

    The biggest lie that Satan tells is that he does not exist.

    February 22, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. Get real

    @ the truth (?) It's interesting that the evidence is so contrary to your stated view. This country was THRIVING when the general population was either Christian or conducting themselves in a Christian principled manner. Now that we have fallen away and don't even believe in the GOD who created us and gave us a standard to live by, we (generally) each live by our own standards- thus the morally and financially bankrupt nation we have become. Our only hope is that we turn back to GOD. No, I'm not speaking of theocracy; I am suggesting individual repentance and revival – beginning with "the church".

    February 22, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. ncsteve

    Anyone that doesn't believe Satan is at work in this country, and the rest of the world, isn't paying attention. To the extent that any government entity encourages anyone to take more than they give, then evil is at work there.

    February 22, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. ab

    He's delusional. And now he's the frontrunner in the race for the republican nomination. Seriously? This is the guy republicans want? He's way too conservative for most Americans.

    February 22, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. Sees Reality

    Since Santorum believes in the fairy tale of Christianity, it's no wonder he believes the fairy tale that he's electable as president. Go, Rick, Go!

    February 22, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. Mr. Izz

    If you can't handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen. Herman Caine knew he couldn't, so he left. If you can't handle the media scrutiny, Rick, then leave. As President, every single thing you do will be scrutinized. If you can't handle it now, then how on earth will you be able to handle it as the leader of this country.

    In addition... Come on ol' Ricky. You say you want to talk about the things that America wants to hear... then why aren't you doing that? All I'm hearing is religious this, religious that, etc. I'm not hearing anything about what I think this country is in trouble with. I'm just hearing your personal views hitting home with the extremists that call themselves right-wing conservatives. Seriously, no one wants a President that is far left, or far right. The country wants someone near the middle, someone that can compromise, and someone who isn't bolstered forward by spouting religious "santorum."

    February 22, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  11. Jonathan

    Does it matter? Romney, Santorum, Obama, Gingrich, Paul – they're all the same. Politicians who won't do anything to fix any of the real problems that we have. Not that they could even if they were inclined to do so, since they have to contend with a few hundred other yahoos in Congress, and none of them have shown that they're willing to take on the real problems we have. So we'll just go along with the status quo for four more years.

    February 22, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  12. jim

    I, too, believe in good and evil. The greatest evil I have seen is in the religions of the world.

    February 22, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  13. Church of Suicidal

    We can bring the dark ages back if we really try! Santorum 1012!

    February 22, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  14. tstorm

    After hearing Santorum worry about Satan, after hearing Romney say he doesn't care about poor people, after hearing the Indiana senator call The Girl Scouts a bunch of perverts, the only conclusion I can come to is that being a Republican is a "mental illness"!

    February 22, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. Chuck

    If you wonder why good people won't step forward and offer to serve their country as President, the answer is right here: "Rick Santorum offered no apologies Tuesday for a controversial speech he gave in 2008." A speech he gave in 2008? The reason why good people won't step forward and offer to serve their country as President is that nobody wants to have every word they've ever uttered dredged up, chopped out of context, twisted, and then held up as something which they have to now account for or apologize for.

    February 22, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  16. Mark

    Christians believe in Satan. They also believe that Satan is evil, and that his goal is to corrupt the hearts and minds of mankind. Liberals are all in a slather because they don't believe in Satan – probably because if he did exist, they know he would approve of most of their behaviors. For example: The killing of unborn children – is this something Satan would approve of, or disapprove of. See the point? So now we have a Christian candidate who says what he believes, and the left wing media is beside themselves. I think it's beautiful.

    February 22, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  17. Jake

    Most Americans believe in good and evil, and unfortunately the more I hear you speak, the closer you get to my "evil" column!

    February 22, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  18. Julie

    Of course Satan has his sights on America; he has his sights on the whole world. Why would America be exempt? Satan's biggest accomplishment was convincing people that he doesn't exist....now the whole world can be brought under his control. What Santorum doesn't realize is that he (and other conservative political Christians) is playing right into Satan's game. As Christians, we are supposed to reject worldly things: seeking money, playing politics, war and war and military, etc. We aren't supposed to care who is in the White House. "Friendship of the world is emnity with God, whosoever therefore shall be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." James 4:4

    February 22, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  19. C Holland

    Go Rick Santorum! Stay aggressive. The conservative message does prevail if you stay with it.

    February 22, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  20. Allinit123

    At the behest of my X wife I attended several "NON" denominational churches and let me tell you, it was scary. It's not apparent unless you get into the core group of the church, those who attend every service and are the most devoted. These people are made up of many border line personality disorders. Typically one of the spouses has a border line personality and uses the church to control the other spouse and the family. If you don't believe this then read the book "The face behind the mask of religion"

    Just a note: I am a confirmed Lutheran and have a strong belief in Christ and the life ever after on the conditions that God has outlined in the bible. I am not a hater, nor am I out to say that all people that go to these churches are crazy and cannot be trusted. I just want to point out what my experience has been which I believe is an accurate depiction of this type of Church overall since it was similar in all the different churches we attended.

    The concern I have with this Tea Party movement and the far right is the numbers of these types of people are either growing, or they are congregating and trying to control our political process with their warped views..

    I hope at some point America can see this, cause if that group of people start to control our Government it's going to be a scary time. I truly believe the country would turn out like the middle eastern country's which govern by religion.

    Sad Day if this happens. .

    February 22, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  21. govteach51

    The thing most Protestants on here are missing is his attack on the Protestant Church. Cure the mess in the Church of Rome first Rick.

    February 22, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  22. John in Oakland

    I don't see what the big deal is. One imaginary, invisible spirit is as good as another.

    February 22, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  23. Corey

    #Margaret: I see you've fallen for Gingrich's BS hook, line and sinker without giving it any critical thought. You and others of your ilk will deserve the crap that will be served to you by any of the Repubs if elected. Saul Alinsky WAS NOT Obama's mentor. Alinsky died when Obama was 11 years old. I have a copy of Alinsky's book and there is no dedication to Satan. Moreover, your heros, like Gingrich, use the tactics espoused by Alinsky. Of course Gingerich also follows the tactics of Joseph Goebbels.....tell a big enough lie long enough and soon all the dumb, uneducated folks will believe it. It is really sad, and scary that a very large percentage of American citizens are such dumbasses.

    February 22, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  24. Jozsef

    Good same America from such evil "Republicans"

    February 22, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  25. Julie

    If anyone doesn't believe in evil, let me introduce you to some people I've met.

    February 22, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
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