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. chelle

    1. Reverend Wright story was raked over the coals not buried. Taken out of context but none the less raked over the coals. Black churches have always been very political because that was the sole place that blacks could voice their opinions safely.
    2. Rick Santorum's words in this speech are relevant because he is the one continually bringing up religion. He opened the door on this.
    3. President Obama does not continually blather on about his religion and then say it won't interfere with his policy making – that would be Rick Santorum. Anyone who believes he will be able to separate the two has not been following the race closely enough.
    4. If you want to know more about President Obama's beliefs and morals, read his books. They will give a marvelous insight into his views. He hasn't been hiding anything. What he believes is out there in published form.

    February 22, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  2. ShawnDH

    metoo wrote: "Good and evil is a FACT of life! The EVIDENCE is all around you. "
    ______________________

    What's your EVIDENCE exactly? What are the FACTS that back up your claim? That ancient Middle Easterners said something? Your religious beliefs are fine, but the problem with people like Santorum is that he has zero concept that this is not a theocracy and he clearly wants his own version of morality to be the LAW, which is dangerous, un-American, and contrary to the founding principles of this nation as stated in the US Constitution. We don't want an American Taliban. How'd it work out for Afghanistan?

    February 22, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  3. The all potent one

    I wonder when we will vote an athiest as the POTUS.

    February 22, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  4. Wachet Auf

    If Mr. Santorum wants to believe in a literal "Satan", that is his decision. Personally, I think that Satan is not an existential evil being but a metaphor, only. Jesus himself admitted that he used metaphors (parables) for the purpose of bringing some understanding to very simple minded people who could not comprehend his teachings. What is obvious to me is that those who believe that Satan is an existential evil being are too simple minded to analyze very complex issues, making Mr. Santorum unqualified to be POTUS. That simple minded view of he world will inevitably bring us to Armageddon because he and his followers may believe that they are completing God's plan.

    February 22, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  5. Malory Archer

    Lamar Carnes, the phrases is "cast aspersions", not "case dispersions". If you're going to try to impress others by using big words, at least use the right ones.

    February 22, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  6. Malory Archer

    "phrase is" not "phrases is"

    February 22, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  7. Parsley

    If you DON'T believe the devil is infiltrating major institutions in America (banks, Wall Street institutions, regulatory agencies), then you have not been paying attention. I have no problem with Santorum's views.

    February 22, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  8. CoJo

    Wife and i would have considered Romney BEFORE this turned into a religious battle (see previous post). But Romney didn't stay neutral (meaning this country is suppose ot be freedom of religion). But he got pulled into the Santorum hatred towards Obama and any other non-extremist catholics. Romney should have said everyone has their rights to their religion. He might be a private conservative mormon (which is fine), but would not force it on anyone (like Santorum's group is doing).

    I didn't hear the comment, but read from someone else that Santorum had stated, that if ya ain't catholic, ya an't a christian. If Santorum really said that, I fail to see how ANYONE other than the hard core extremist catholics would vote for him. Ronmey should have stayed middle and address everyone.

    February 22, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  9. macbil

    President Kennedy was a Catholic too. In fact, more devout than most people realize. He never talked in this apocalyptic good vs evil garbage that is meant to excit the hard core right wing of the Reppublican Party and divide this country. It's extremely self-serving and dangerous.

    February 22, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  10. Barry G.

    If you believe in good and evil, Rick, why are you not doing everything you can to stamp out corruption in Washington, D.C.?

    I have yet to hear your or any other candidate (or senator or congressional leader, for that matter) acknowledge that Washington D.C. is awash in the corruptive influence of big money, vis-à-vis the lobbyists and the corporations and wealthy concerns who send them.

    Moses was against corruption. That’s why he told Israel to rid their homes (lives) of leaven, which was symbolic of decay, corruption and death.

    Jesus was against corruption. That’s why he warned his disciples to be on guard against the leaven of the Pharisees. That is also why Jesus chased the money-changers out of the temple.

    February 22, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. Genevieve

    Just because Santorum is a man of faith doesn't make him the Taliban, losers. Time to grow up.

    February 22, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  12. CoJo

    to Parsley:
    That is not Satan, that is human greed, no more, no less

    February 22, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  13. joe

    So, when the next hurricane destroys an American city, will he blame it on the devil and send in FEMA or say it was God's will and thus we are powerless to intervene?

    February 22, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  14. Bill

    Parsley – what happens when we find out the devil is a card carrying republican?

    February 22, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. Lynne

    He professes to be a good Catholic, a good person of faith...man of faith, he must believe in "original sin" that would explain why he has been attacking women's right to make decisions about their own reproduction processes...why he wants us to go back to 1956 when it comes to women and work ...we poor women are just too emotional to be president!

    My theory, and I suspect that of many women, is that if men were the ones that gave birth their would be questions ever asked about birth control or abortion!

    February 22, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  16. CoJo

    to macbil
    That's the point a lot of people are trying to say. Each has a freedom of choice. But not the freedom to force a religion/way of life onto others. The republicans (minus Ron Paul) do not preach nor practice this freedom. Their actions speak louder than any of their words!

    February 22, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  17. GOP Hate America

    I believe in good and evil too. and Christians are evil

    February 22, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  18. Genevieve

    Jesus struggled with Satan in the wilderness for forty days. To deny Satan is to deny Jesus.

    February 22, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  19. joe

    Jesus was a liberal. Still is, as a matter of fact. Which means that all the right wing conservatives are the devil's helpers.

    February 22, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  20. SoCon

    Someone wrote here that Santorum would be a good candidate for 1776 but she wouldn't want to go back to that time. Are you kidding me? Those were the days of our nation's founding. Limited government, defying tyrants, and insuring religious freedom were in the hearts and minds of every citizen. Obama may want to mold America into something it wasn't meant to be but our Founding Fathers would have had him tarred and feathered. The lamestream media and other leftists try to paint Christians as crazy but it's just a ruse for their anti-Christian beliefs. Gee, if we have to obey God we can't have fun anymore. Yes, I'd say Satan has already conquered the souls of many Americans. I think Santorum was accurate, by the way, about many Christians being weak in their faith, their obedience to God, and their understanding of the Bible. I have no argument there. But, a complacent lazy populace gets the government it deserves. As for Christians, they end up getting persecuted.

    February 22, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  21. RoninIrvine

    I will not vote for Mitt Romney for the simple reason this November is all about repealing ObamaCare and I cannot trust Romney to do that since he signed RomneyCare. Most independents will hold their nose and vote for Santorum if he is the Republican nominee for the simple reason that Obama is not a tenable leader anymore. Obama has done the wrong thing at nearly every step and our economy is worse off today than when he took office. If Obama is re-elected and ObamaCare is not repealed, our federal budge deficit will go from $1.5 trillion today to $2.5 trillion. The most expensive portions of ObamaCare do not go into effect until after this presidential election. Postponing the real expense of ObamaCare was one of the most deceitful things about ObamaCare. Independents will not vote for Obama. They will simply hold their nose and vote for whoever is the Republican nominee. But I do expect Santorum, if he is the nominee, to be a one term president.

    February 22, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. PDXguy

    Call in the Church Lady...seriously, this guy is promoting fear about an extreme Liberal Ideology while blatantly promoting his own extreme religious ideology, isn't that the definition of a hypocrite?

    February 22, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  23. mec

    EVERYBODY is a Christian. Nevetheless when a candidate starts talking about Satin and Jaysus, it scares the living crap out of them and makes them question the candidate's sanity. It is unfortunate that Santorum hits the Jesus trail every now and then because, when it comes right down to it, nobody including magical christians and effectively non=religious liberal democrats like jesus preachers

    February 22, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  24. PDXguy

    Forgot to mention- greed is a sin, which means most of his rich politician buddies are sinners too.

    February 22, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  25. jw

    somebody get out the time machine and get him back to Salem, Perhaps he can sort things out there. He sure don't belong in 2012!!!

    February 22, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
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