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. Ron in Asheville, NC

    It's tempting to say, as several people here have, that Santorum is out of date–a "good candidate in 1776," someone said. But really, that's one of the biggest myths going. Americans of two centuries ago were a whole lot more savvy than that. The Christian right–despite what they may honestly think–aren't really talking about "going back" to something. They're talking about initiating something that has never been here before as the core of this society. Quote from John Adams: "I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved– the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!"

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

    And this is the best the Republicans have to offer.........Ha ha hahahahaha

    February 22, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  3. clarke

    "I will continue to take about what American's want to take about" Well Rick, I am an American and I am very tired of your social agenda. I don't want to hear about your religion and what you believe and I don't want to hear about Obama or anyone else. I want to hear you you tell me the truth, a plan and a solution to our countries problems. Please stop, you will not be elected Pope. Keep your religion to yourself, action speak much louder than words.

    February 22, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  4. Doyan

    I love it when the far left media like CNN pretends to give fair and balanced coverage of Republicans. The same can be said for all the comments posted by liberals that would hate and pick apart any thing any Republican says.
    ABO ( anybody but Obama )

    February 22, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  5. GaryM

    Standup Conservative? More like Standup Comedian. If I needed more faith in my life I would have become a priest – not vote Santorum for President. Here we are debating Satan in the same context with the Presidential elections.

    February 22, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  6. Doug

    Margaret, Santorum now is in the same ranks as Paul with being called nuts, and Paul is not nuts. Paul is the only one who not only predicted everything America has gone through, is going through and will be going through, but also has the only real plan to stop his final prediction of the fall of our dollar and government. He is the one that people need to start looking to.

    February 22, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  7. Andy Smith

    Isn't this the guy that has been questioning the President's judgement because the President (then senator) attended Jeremy Wright's church when the reverend said that America's actions are coming back to cause issues for America? How's that different from what he said? Cos Rick didn't say that it was America's actions that are causing these issues / attacks on American institutions? And the President didn't say it himself, whereas Rick said it himself (seems worse to me)? Same difference, except the President didn't say what he was accused of believing, whereas Rick said his and seems to believe it.

    February 22, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  8. Church of Suicidal

    Rick Santorum = Greg Stillson

    February 22, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  9. Rob

    To me, his speeches and ideologies sound a lot like the same rhetoric radical islamists use, just different "gods"

    February 22, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  10. ACG

    Wow, I do not think the Republicans could have a more unqualified pool of candidates... Huntsman was their only hope!

    February 22, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  11. Andrew

    2008? This speech reads more like a speech from 70 years ago in Germany by one of their future leaders.

    February 22, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  12. Perspective

    Anyone who ignores the reality of evil, Satan, bad consequences of bad choices, self-destructive behaviors or thoughts, or destructive of others behaviors or thoughts, whatever you want to call it...is a fool.

    Of course there is "Satan". For those of you who think we are talking about a man with a pitchfork and tail, grow up.

    February 22, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  13. NoKidding

    This guy's tactics remind me of GW Bush's tactics.
    GW Bush: Support me in the invasion of bad, bad Iraq. If you don't, you are not patriotic and you are on the terrorists side!
    Santorum: If you don't believe in what I believe, you are Satan!

    February 22, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  14. Perspective

    the more I learn about Santorum, the more I like him. I will vote for him..

    February 22, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  15. Lucky18

    Santorum has joined the ranks of Palin, Bachmann, Limbaugh, etc. Probably was there all along!
    Doesn't matter...None of these candidates are going to get the prize!

    February 22, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. Constitutional Thinker

    I want to make sure I understand the hypocrisy- In a speech to Christians and Catholics Rick is not allowed to say that he believes there is ultimate evil and it would like to destroy what is good? Is Iran evil when they say they want to kill every Jew in the world? Was Hitler evil? Stalin? It is possible to recognize evil and it would be safe to say that evil is grows? So what was wrong with what Rick had to say?

    Last part- Obama says his mentor was Sal Alinsky was one of his mentors. Sal dedicated his book, "Rules for Radicals" to Satan. Obama says, "Jesus taught a theology of social justice and socialism." So we not challenge the President on that if it's wrong? I'm still not sure what the problem with Rick is?

    February 22, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  17. mikithinks

    Santorm seems constant in his faith, and views and should be admired for that. The problem is, however, that his views are so off base. No public education, no insured birth control, (let alone abortion), no equity in taxation, (Santorm paid 28%, but Romney paid 14+%). He is constant, but constantly wrong. He is a missionary, not a visionary, not a man of the people at all.

    February 22, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  18. Tom

    So, Santorum is nuts for using his faith to strongly support traditional values, yet somehow those on the left are considered stable for supporting attacks on religion, attacks on marriage, attacks on innocent human life, and attacks on nearly all traditions this great country holds?

    I think people on the left need to buy some mirrors. :)

    February 22, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  19. GM

    I am profoundly happy to see a candidate that has a moral compass and actaully follows it without backing down at the slightest challenge. I believe in good and evil, if one has any faith at all, you can't believe one exists without the other and if you have eyes, you can't help but to see which one is advancing.

    February 22, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  20. DJH

    Where have all of you dullards lived your entire lives? Is it really news to you that Christians believe in the embodiment of evil in the personification of Satan? Really! So now this is game? And this CONCERN from folks that voted for a man who spent 16 years in the church of Jeremiah Wright? Perhaps you voted for him because he "really doesn't believe" in all of the Afro-Centrist stuff. Obviousely liberalism (ala communisim) is a worldview built around an absolutely intollerant ideology. Perhaps it would do some of you good to read up on Afro Centrism and Mormon and then consider how "crazy" Santorum's statements are. Or perhaps you really do prefer a leader who does not believe in absolutes, or good and evil, and who has no conviction to anything else but self and the almighty dollar and who has no moral character other than his allegance to the folks that provided the money that put him into office. Well, you got your guy. Now that we're looking at over 3 years of > 8% unemployment and $5 gas and massive pending inflation and VA quality forced healthcare for all, I hope you're pleased that your money is being consolidated in the pockets of the Obamas, politicians and the bankers, corporate bosses and union lawyers who funded his election.

    February 22, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  21. joe dokes

    I notice a large number of carefully-thought-out responses here from people don't like "Don't Google My Name" Santorum. They do things like cite specific examples of double standards used by Santorum. Yet, commentators supporting Santorum simply rely on fire & brimstone speeches and half-remembered bible quotes. Excuse me, but Santorum ain't running to be the Pope. He's running to be the President. Deliberating flaunting his religion in our faces shows exactly why he shouldn't be in charge of a TV remote, much less the nation.

    February 22, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. stephen

    It is quite laughable how C N N and the rest of the leftist radicals in the press are making a big deal out of santorums remarks at a catholic school 4 years ago but just last month Obama tells a group of evangelical christians that "Jesus" has told him that he should raise taxes on the rich and that the Bible says that the rich should pay more. Not a peep of that in the left wing press. Such shameful bias and dishonesty in the press is something that should be revisited in the supreme court as to the interpretation of the 1st amendment.

    February 22, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. Chad

    When was the last time 'O" used a Bible reference ..... and it was repeated over and over in the MSM.

    February 22, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  24. Patricksday

    Their is nothing more EVIL then the Republican Party, you cant do the things they have done to Humanity and call them self a follower of Jesus Christ. GREED, SELFISHNESS, FEAR, HATRED and service only to the Wealthiest people in America-their base.

    February 22, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. Ann Wilson

    I understand how impossible it seems to Evangelicals that people who are agnostics or athiests can be very
    moral and upright people. But they can and often are. A human being does not need religion to tell him the
    difference between right and wrong. We all DO need proper instruction on a moral and ethical philosophy
    of life.

    Some people need the threat of eternal damnation to make them do the right thing. That group assumes that
    everyone is like them and thus their zeal to "help" convert everyone.

    February 22, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
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