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. gold

    "Person of faiith" =believes in fairy tales and should be disqualified from public office in the US. We're a secular country

    February 22, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  2. jncarlos007

    @ DRJ- did you just make that up? Or get it out of a BAM self-help book? Seriously, cite a source here

    February 22, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. EaSy

    I wonder how often does he visit church to pray and not to pander evangelics?

    February 22, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. PoeCohen

    So Santorum says "What we’re talking about in America today is trying to get America growing. That’s what my speeches are about." ?Really? It seems he's been talking an awful lot about Catholicism and religious issues lately. This man is not intelligent enough to be president of anything.

    February 22, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  5. jncarlos007

    I like how "people of no faith" (giggle snicker) say that in order to have faith one has to deny the facts, but when asked questions of certainty (such as why the universe began, or the source of matter and energy) they say "I don't know", at which point I tack on "But it couldn't be God right?"

    And the crickets begin their symphony (or else the name calling)

    February 22, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  6. Ron Barger

    It's interesting that so many people want to attack Santorum because of his faith. So many of you leberals are afraid to confront your lack of belief in good and evil. You and your offspring are quite lost.

    February 22, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  7. johnnyZ

    Just what the country needs: A guy that can blame every decision, every reason, every failure and every stupid statement on supernatural make-believe. Amen fool.

    February 22, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  8. Seth

    Please Satan let Man-on-dog Santorum get the nomination.

    February 22, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. RoninIrvine

    Dr. Bob,
    There is a big difference between mainline protestants and hardcore evangelicals. The mainline protestants are the older denominations like episcopalians and lutherans etc that ordain gay pastors and priests and that marry homosexuals in the church. The hardcore evangelicals would never do that. The mainline protestant churches have been shrinking for decades and are nearly irrelevant now. Far more Americans attend Catholic or evangelical churches.

    February 22, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. miller

    As the old saying goes: "without religion it would be straigh forward: we'd have good people doing good things, and evil people doing evil things, but for good people to do evil things - that takes religion."

    February 22, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  11. Ron Barger

    Correction: Liberals

    February 22, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    "These liberal elites and their minions are WILLING and DEDICATED to the undermining of the First Amendment to FORCE the US Bishops to bow in submission to the secular government in denying their 21 centuries foundational tenets."

    What complete and utter radical rightwing fearmongering rubbish. All that has been demanded is that whenever the church engages in commerce (ie, hospitals, etc,) they abide by the same rules as anyone else engaged in commerce. It's really quite simple and it's not an anti-religion conspiracy.

    February 22, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. Windy City Al

    Hard to believe that in the year 2012 we are considering electing a man who believes in "Satan" and "the devil" to the nation's highest office.

    February 22, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  14. mark

    I lve my faith and it's a choice I freely make. I don't want the government telling me how I should worship. Keep the seperation of church and state. Rick, as a catholic shouldn't tou be condemning divorce? Shouldn't you be condemning capital punishment?

    February 22, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  15. GimeeABreak

    miller – Old sayings are exactly that old and meaningless

    China, Russia and Korea gave up religion – Are you SERIOUSLY expecting us to believe that those countries are FULL to bursting with Charities – Mother Teresas – Dr Barnados – and palliative care Hospices ??????????????? Pffttttt !

    February 22, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. Stacey

    Hugo Chavez can sniff the air in the UN after Bush had just given a speech and stated that he smelled Satan. Everyone thought Chaves was oh so clever. Obama's mentor, Saul Alinsky, dedicated Rules for Radicals to Satan and everyone thought Alinsky was oh so clever. Santorum mentions how the devil is the root of the downfall of morals in America, and he is labled a nut. Typical liberal, communist double standard.

    Well Santorum is a nut – a right-wing nut at that. He'll never be president of the USA. You may call all the names you want, since that's all the conservatives are good for anyway – hate. Doesn't bother me one bit. But that crazy man Santorum will never shove his hypocrital religion and values down my throat. You can swallow all the garbage that comes out of his mouth but I don't have to.

    February 22, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  17. mike from ct

    This should be a easy win for Obama. The thought of having this religious nut as president is very scary.

    February 22, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. Randolph Phillips

    If only the media had given the same kind of "critical" scrutiny to Obama's old comments during the four years before 2008, perhaps we wouldn't have to be so worried about the current state of America and about the prospects of Obama for four more years. We might have President Hillary Clinton, a smaller debt, and better progress on the economic meltdown than we have with our neo-marxist in the White House. We likely would not have Obamacare, either.

    But then we would also not have "America's First Black President", who got the Nobel piece prize and besides continuing the current wars, is about to get us into another one to get himeslf re-elected.

    February 22, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  19. Jimmy

    Believing in Good and Evil, and believing in Satan are two very different propositions. I do not believe in god or satan, but I believe in good and evil.

    February 22, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. SkyKing

    Comedy! And we don't even have to pay admission!
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha.
    HA HA HA HA HA HA.
    Bwahh ha ha ha ha ha ha!
    BWAH HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!

    February 22, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  21. DrBob

    RoninIrvine,
    Interesting conjecture, but I doubt that Santorum really distinguishes between Lutherans and Southern Baptists. If he's truly a devout Catholic, he believes that all Protestant religions are Satan inspired apostates. It would be interesting to ask him who he considers "real" Christians (and what gives him a right to judge). He's proven his willingness to suck up to evangelicals to get their votes, even though he probably believes most of 'em are going to hell.

    February 22, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  22. Reborn

    Only religous zealots want a litmus test for the Presidency yet Article 6 of the Constitution states that a religious test shall not be given.

    February 22, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  23. tony

    Defining Evil as an Abstract, without any bad people involved is kinda tough. Is a killer tsunami evil? Is parting the Red Sea to let one tribe live to conquer another land good?

    February 22, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  24. John

    The devil made him say it.

    February 22, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  25. THETERP

    Drink the koolaide all, I think Jim Jones has beeen reincarnated!!!! There is nothing more evil and devilish then taking or reducing support for the poor and the retired on fixed income. There is nothing more evil then taking away school meals from poor children which affects their learning ability. There are many more cases of these types of evil and devilish ideals the GOP wishes to apply.

    February 22, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
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