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. Chris

    I'd like to know how he would defend this statement: “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." So now Mr. Santorum is against Protestants but wants their votes.

    February 22, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  2. Scott

    Good vs. Evil
    White vs. Black
    Republicans vs. Democrats
    Rich vs. Poor
    Us vs. Them

    Who's creating class warfare? It sounds like Mr. Santorum himself.

    Good Santorum, it'll be funny

    February 22, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  3. Anthony

    His words weren't a mistake. This is what all practicing Christians believe. There is nothing for him to apologize for. It's amazing to me how exotic the everyday beliefs of people of faith are to the Left. You guys who have a problem with this should maybe try poking your heads into a church on more than just Easter Sunday and Christmas. Anyone who is trying to make hay out of these comments is just revealing themselves as out of touch with common religious beliefs.

    February 22, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. ShawnDH

    Dear The Truth:

    Ummm, just because ancient Middle Easterners wrote something down doesn't make it real or true. It's just mythology and nothing more. And it's not even the original myth. It has been translated, re-written and re-interpreted so many times, but I'm sure you know that (not). And finally, we live in a secular democratic republic not a theocracy so Bible passages are totally irrelevant to modern political debate. Do you have a point?

    February 22, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. Willyboy

    Oh, please... Someone force feed Senator Frothy a gallon or so of rancid santorum. Anything to shut him up.

    February 22, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  6. Lenny Pincus

    On one note, RoninIrvine is insane. Would we agree that lying is Evil? Ron? Then explain Santorum's pitch about euthanasia in the Netherlands. Every single thing he said about it is a lie. A pure, simple fabrication. A raping of the truth. An abortion of facts. As though he has a prophylactic over his head. As if he's had a D and C of the brain. And that is just one of many he lies, all to support his fanatic religion. I would call that the work of the Devil. Ron??

    February 22, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. Taran

    It is said that the greatest trick perpetrated by the "devil," "satan," or whatever you want to call the entity, has been convincing the world he does not exist. Hmmmmmm. Looks like his trick worked for a whole lot of people on here.

    February 22, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Devil with a blue vest, blue vest on. He's the devil with a blue vest on.

    February 22, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  9. george of the jungle

    he believes in the tooth fairy too. Great just what we need a president who scares the crap out of people. Lets take that to the next worlfd leader conference

    February 22, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  10. sandgeer

    I do believe that satan has taken its strong stance in the minds of liberals who know what is good and evil and choose evil willingly. You can curse at Santorum's remarks only because they hit you right where your liberal mind excuses you from doing what you know to be right. Santorum is right and I honor him for being man enough to say it out loud and to the world! I also pray for all of you who cannot see the difference!

    February 22, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. JeramieH

    Taran: The Flying Spaghetti Monster did it better. I bet you believe he doesn't exist.

    February 22, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. Taran

    It is said that the greatest trick perpetuated by the entity sometimes called "lucifer," was convincing the world he does not exist. From reading this blog, looks like the trick worked pretty well.

    February 22, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. Charlie from the North

    Thank God and Thomas Jefferson for the separation of Church an State. A lot of folks think that it is to protect the state from religious interfering when in fact it protects the Church from the government as well. Sanatorium seems to want a theocracy. Very dangerous idea. With the exception of the Vatican, can you name any successful theocracy in the world today? Okay now can you name an unsuccessful country ruled by religion? Many more right. So why on earth would we want to join them?

    February 22, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. metoo

    Good and evil is a FACT of life! The EVIDENCE is all around you. There are sources behind both. I agree with you, Rick. So what if a bunch of people I don't know calls me nutty or even fanatical. When I stand before God on judgement day the last people I'm going to be worried about is a bunch of peeps I don't even know. God's opinion of me is really all that matters to me. He'll have the last say.

    February 22, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  15. ShawnDH

    Greg wrote: "I am heartened to see that Santorum converted from pro-choice to pro-life when he decided to run for congress in the 1990's. Wish more would make the conversion, no matter the reason."
    _____________________

    Greg: In a free country, the government doesn't force women to give birth against their will. That is extremely oppressive, intrusive, authoritarian and un-American. Santorum should support policies that reduce abortions (like accessible contraception) if he's so "pro-life", but he doesn't which makes him an ideologue and a hypocrite, not a rational person with strong values. Santorum doesn't care that 45,000 Americans DIE every year because they have no health insurance. He wants to invade Iran which could kill millions. That's "pro-life"? Please stop confusing "pro-forced-birth" with "pro-life." They are not the same and it's hurting your cause (which is very misguided).

    February 22, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. A California Conservative

    I find it interesting that the very few Santorum supporters on this thread are complaining about "liberals" and the "main stream media". Obama and others have put up with their childish name calling, birther nonsense, and shouting about all that is wrong with the US, as if Obama has just completely turned the country for the worst, all while ignoring the obvious damage Bush and others have done. I have a bit of advice. Quit whining. Get your message out. Don't name call. That's schoolyard stuff. And for candidates like Santorum, start talking about your life and beliefs, as you demanded other candidates do. If you don't, the vast majority of Americans will kick you to the curb in the elections. I will vote conservative, if a viable conservative candidate runs. If it's Santorum or Gingrich, I guarantee my vote will not go to those two. I don't need someone who was kicked out of his position as Speaker of the House for ethics violations, and who is a serial adulterer (Gingrich) as president. I don't need someone who will blame all his problems on Satan, and put the nation in "God's hands" because he himself is such a poor president (Santorum). I need someone to stop whiining about Obama, and tell me what he is going to do to change things. Whiners need not apply for my vote. They won't get it.

    February 22, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  17. Scott

    I don't mind Rick believing in Satan, I mind his attempts to draft me against my will into his war effort against him. I think you're doing his work, Rick, by campaigning on anger, resentment, anti-intellectualism, insecurity, jealousy and self-loathing.

    February 22, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  18. interested 48

    How do you defend a delusion??

    February 22, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  19. CoJo

    to Scott:
    Graham and Santorum certainly have the right to their opinions on abortion or any other topic. But there is SUPPOSE to be this freedom of religion in the US which THEY do not preacher nor practice. Their actions speak louder than any of their words!!! Supposedly this country (and the catholic religion) was built on freedom of choice. If that is true, why are they pushing their religous bigotry???

    February 22, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  20. cyberCMDR

    Things I bet Santorum believes:
    – Insanity is caused by demons, and not by neurochemical or emotional causes
    - Note: A little over 100 years ago, sanitariums treated inmates by trying to beat the demons out of them. A returning methodology in medicine if Santorum wins?
    – The universe is about 6000 years old
    - I guess all those big craters on the moon happened over the last 6000 years. Why weren't we hit as hard/often?
    – Prayer is an effective way to fix problems
    - Worked for Rick Perry to end the drought in Texas, didn't it?
    – The Bible condoned slavery, said women should be submissive to men, and said homosexuals should be killed.
    - Probably wonders if it's too late to bring those moral standards back

    February 22, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  21. vince

    personification of evil in the form of Satan is just to shift the responsibility from ourselves and refusal to acknowledge that each of us have the capacity to do great good or great evil - it's part of human nature. the devil made me do it is an old argument that doesn't fly. According to the Bible, one of the first great evils was in the Cain v Able story and that had nothing to do with fallen archangels, but rather simple human jealousy. it is us humans that are the cause of our own problems - we don't need external supernatural forces to do evil. besides, once you start believing that fallen archangels have power over us then you have start believing in jinns, gnomes, ghosts, evil spirits and every other product of the human imagination that we can blame for problems instead of own stupidity

    February 22, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  22. Taran

    There are stranger things in heaven and earth, Horatio (jeramie), than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

    February 22, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  23. Lenny Pincus

    Odd that wingers decry the general lack of responsibility people have these days but are willing to say that evil comes from outside the human brain. Also odd that winger politicians lie like dogs–Santorum on Dutch euthanasia laws for instance–the sure sign of an evil mind.

    February 22, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  24. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Keep talking Ricky. That's all we need. Obama 2012!

    February 22, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. M1sf1ts

    Santorum has my full support for these comments. I see nothing he needs to amend or take back.

    February 22, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
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