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. AngryBob

    Real men don't skate hard questions about positions they've expressed in the past. Real men either stand by their past statements or they admit they were wrong in the past and provide their revised position, simply and succinctly. That's what people who have strength of character do and that's what we should expect from all politician. Santorum has shown that he is a wimp. He is not a man that will publicly stand by his convictions. It's time for him to go.

    February 22, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  2. jfire

    WAY TO GO Senator, I am so proud of you. Yes lets be proud of your old speeches, but that was then and this is now, and we have more important things to get involved in. Your Faith is your own, and you are not asking others to change theirs, but we do respect other Faiths. I am proud you stand up for your Faith, and do not make it an issue. Some people are saying you want to do away with all birth control, so that might be more clearly stated, that you are not trying to stop anyone's birth control, and what you do is your personal decision between you and your wife and your Faith. And you have a right to your Faith, and don't agree with anyone infringing upon it and forcing religion to change their doctrine. I am so happy you carry the Constitution with you. I saw you in Tacoma, and was very proud of you. I am sorry the police allowed the nasty "occupiers" to harass you,. They should all have been taken out. (I have your sign in my yard too)

    February 22, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  3. Alabama Liberal

    The Republicans really want to lose this election. They might carry Utah, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana. Popular vote will be a blow out.

    February 22, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  4. Gryphonwhip

    While I may not be supporting Santorum, I don’t not support him because of his religious views, I don’t support him because I don’t think he can win and I don’t think he can repair the massive structural damage done by Democrats and Obama to our nations economy. That said, I noticed something interesting about the response to Santorum’s statements. Why is it that Democrats take his statement personally, as if it’s aimed directly at them and their political party? I listened to Santorum’s speech, I kinda shrugged my shoulders because its kinda old news, Satan has been after mankind since the fall you don’t have to believe that but for those who believe in the word of God, it is a fundamental truth. I don’t want a Priest a Chief, but I also didn’t want a Community organizer in Chief. I just think its very odd that the liberal left immediately feels like they are the “Satan” Santorum is referring to in his speech. Really guys, everything isn’t about you, there is a bigger picture. One more thing for the stupid people, who apparently weren’t paying attention to when the speech was given, it was given in 2008 not yesterday or last month, 2008. Santorum is not making this a part of his Presidential campaign. While he does make morality a stand that he takes, I would think that all Americans would want their President to stand up for objective moral good. Just seems strange that the left immediately places themselves on the side of evil without being mentioned.

    February 22, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  5. Bryan

    It scares me that there are actually people dumb enough to vote for this guy. I'm not sure democracy is the best way to do things anymore....maybe there should be some kind of intelligence test that determines the value of your vote.

    February 22, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  6. Annie, Atlanta

    I, too, believe in good and evil, and Santorum's crusade is as evil as the last one. His anger and religious beliefs are a danger to the good of this country.

    February 22, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  7. thoughtsjustsome

    Good for Santorum! Drudge is bias. He represents the worst of the conservative movement.. All economics with no compassion or concern for the pain caused by liberal social engineering. The sexual revolution has led to decline of the middle class in America and the destruction of the low-income home. The inner cities of our nation give witness to the vile outcome of the social policies of liberalism. Jesus said that Satan has come to kill steal and destroy. When we encounter destructive, compassionless forces we can be sure who is behind them.

    February 22, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  8. Ghetto Bro

    No matter how you slice it, Santorum is not going to be the POUS. He consistently shows that he lacks the discipline to moderate his personal views from that of the office he seeks. A true leader suspends his or her own "self" for the greater good of a bigger purpose.and making choices that will hurt themselves at times politically.
    Religious types can't do that because they have already sold out to their imaginary friend in the sky and the whole charade that goes along with it.
    Sorry Rick, you don't have what it takes to be a leader.

    February 22, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  9. Gryphonwhip

    One more thing for Rick and you boobs who seem to think he has to admit he was wrong about something. Look back a couple weeks at the news and the man who blew up his house with himself and his kids inside, after killing his wife a few years before, stuffing her in a box and burying her in some remote unknown area. Look at the events of 9-11, Danny Pearl, you pick your horrible event. They just roll in every day and we are so numb to them. We make movies out of them in weeks of their occurring. We are so used to slaughter and mayhem now that its part of life. We expect it and some accept it. Entire cities like Chicago see the endless slaughter of their kids, and they are not up in arms. It’s the new norm. Tell their parents evil is not ever present in our country these days, and once you do that then you can tell Rick to apologize for saying something that isn’t true.

    February 22, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  10. Stu

    “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. At least they wont be freedom bashing religious fundies.

    February 22, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  11. The Left Wing

    Republicans have a problem. They have Romney, the I'm motivated by greed flip-flopper, who most don't like. Then they have all the anti-Romneys. These Tea Party/Evangelical candidates have all proved to be incapable of standing up to scrutiny. Santorum is failing the scrutiny test now. I'm sure that the Tea Party/Evangelical types will try and hold tightly to him since he is their last chance. However, these people naturally gravitate to people who are not presidential material. So, it is very unlikely that they will or even can find someone who could win a general election. And of course they have Paul who has something good for everyone and also something bad for everyone.

    February 22, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  12. Taran

    I am not a huge fan of Santorum's, but virtually anybody would do a better job than the current occupier of the oval office.

    February 22, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  13. REG in AZ

    We see people trying to hype emotions and create fear over America becoming more like Europe, more socialistic, when what they should be concerned with, what is actually happening is that we are becoming more like Central and South America, those countries with only the few very rich and the many very poor. “The few” with their insatiable “more” (never enough) appetite are pushing this country to become a two-class society with those few (1%) competing in having it all while the majority (99%) is left struggling to “stay above water”. The middle-class is literally disappearing and we really need a prosperous middle-class as it is the real America; they are who make things work, who support the economy, who are the foundation for everything else and who make America strong. What should be going on are more efforts to benefit the middle-class and to move the poor up to middle-class, as that is what really benefits everyone; imagine how long the rich would stay rich if dependent only on their own spending. Yes, everyone wants the American dream, the opportunity to become wealthy, but without a strong middle-class that becomes increasingly difficult, literally just a dream.

    Those with the wealth and the “more” mentality are catered to by those politicians who seek their financial, powerful and influential support. Together they take the voters for granted and assume that with their aggressive efforts they can simply con the people and manipulate public opinion to have their will. The Republican / Tea Party has become owned and controlled by this concentration and, as has been demonstrated, they are now incapable of ever honestly and responsibly governing. Their stubborn arrogance is a clear indication of their irresponsible self-focus and unless the people, the voters can reject the subterfuge constantly thrown at them, become upset over the assumption that they can be used and abused, and firmly reject “the money’s” puppet politicians, then we could be returned to “more of the same”, Bush-Cheney style, and the majority’s downward slide would just continue.

    February 22, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  14. Caeli Francisco

    Greetings from South Africa. Hang in there, Mr Santorum. God is on your side. May you have a fruitful Lent.

    February 22, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  15. pat

    Devils, spirits, demons...You can still run for president thinking the county's problems might be caused by invisible forces but
    what's sillier than that is that an atheist has no chance to be elected.

    February 22, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  16. happyjackrich

    God,Satan, the Bible = superstitious hocus pocus

    What a waste of breath that candidates even discuss this junk.

    February 22, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  17. Cebes

    Interesting comment, to believe in good and evil. Would have been better to have said, believe in good and understand there is evil., or was that a Freudian slip? "Trust but verify".

    February 22, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  18. Valco

    If this man gets anywhere near the White House,we should all run screaming into the night. Not only will he be in our lives,in the bedrooms,in the Drs' offices with women but the Catholic Church, at its most extreme, will be there with him. Anytime people cannot keep themselves and their religious fanatisism out of our lives, we need to worry. The other three Republican candidates are really not much better but their deeply held beliefs on various subjects do not come off as crazy as Santorum's. In my opinion,they are all far more dangerous for our country than President Obama.

    February 22, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. Riptim

    Please run this religious nut case as your candidate, so we can link him with the tea party idiots in congress and take back the congress. The American voter is just starting to realize what its all about, by election time they will realize just what the conservatives stand for and it won`t be pretty when it comes to the election. Obama in a landslide case closed

    February 22, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. ian

    i wish he were a true christian. sorry, but catholic doesnt count. nice try though.

    February 22, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  21. maff

    Here is the thing. If you believe in God of the Bible, shouldnt it be assumed you also believe there is a devil too? So why the headlines? If satan is real, he sleeps in america. That man said nothing wrong.

    February 22, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  22. Loren, Keene NH

    Romney, conversative enough with the X-treme...

    Santorium is way to far right to get the independants vote!

    Romney/Rubio 2012!

    February 22, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  23. DaveM

    This man is absurd. It is terrifying that he is running to be President of this country and there are actually supporting him. It's people like him that burned innocent people as witches in past centuries. This man is far too concerned with peoples sex lives – not just who people sleep with but how they have sex – to be taken seriously. He honestly believes you can legislate morality, which is NOT what our government is for. Make no mistake, when he talks about "family values" and "morality" he is talking about controlling the most inimate aspects of peoples lives and taking choice from their hands. He is toxic to the American way of life.

    February 22, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  24. jem

    I don't know how someone can say " I'm a practicing Christian" and think they can judge whether Rick Santorum is a real Christian or not. Oh the irony of that statement! I spent time listening to Rick Santorum in NH when there was no news media following him to "create the candidate" they wanted to create. Rick Santorum is honest, genuine, knows what he believes, doesn't try to force it on people and cares about our country. Why don't all you channel surfers try to open your minds to more than is fed to you in a blog or opinion show.

    February 22, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  25. Jack

    There are so many good Christians who don't believe as Santorum does. They believe in birth control, abortion, offering help to those in need, expecting the wealthy to pay portionately their share of taxes, being inclusive and not exclusive, living a simple humble life of faith. These Christians are, in many ways, better Christians than the Santorum kind who feel self-righeous and conceited in their faith. His view is St. Paul's view, not Jesus' view. Paul was a nasty soul who spent his career chastising and condeming. Jesus sought to accept and forgive and help.

    February 22, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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