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. Scott

    If Santorum wants to stay on message and talk about what Americans want to hear and are talking about...then why does he keep flaunting his religion? That's...not what Americans want to talk about. We prefer to talk about your hypocrisy and lack of solutions that don't rely on...religion. We are not interested in how well you can slam Obama – only in what you propose to do – outside of religion of course.

    February 22, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. David in Cincinnati

    Which is more dangerous to rational decision making: belief in the golden plates or in beelzebub?

    February 22, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  3. KellsBells

    Santorum is a joke. I really don't like him comparing himself to Reagan, either. Please, Santorum... you could never hold a candle to Reagan. All Santorum does is play to the crowd in front of him. What a sell out. And while I tend to lean to the left, I liked Reagan because he was willing to work in a bipartisan fashion. So is Obama. That's how stuff gets done in this country – the left and the right coming together and making compromises. I don't see Santorum, or any of the other GOP candidates, being able to do that. I know where my vote is going. It's all about moderation. Obama 2012.

    February 22, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  4. Ready

    When we finally get a candidate who says it like it is then we scrutinize him for being too honest. I never really knew a thing about Santorum until recently but I for one appreciate his honesty and that he does speak from his heart.

    I am so tired of these phony politicians who just say what they think you want to hear.

    The more honest this guy is the more I like him and he has my vote for sure against Obama.

    February 22, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  5. ithink122

    It's always amusing to point out the inherent contradictions you can find without even having to reference two sources, only a single article.

    “'I’ll defend everything I say,' Santorum said."

    "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."

    Refusing to answer the questions or address the subject twice when asked about something you previously said is not considered defending everything you say. I'm sorry, did simple logic defeat you again? The GOP really needs to just concede this time, get their acts together and come back with someone intelligent in 2016. The benefit of a two party system is that multiple points of view from intelligent participants encourage or force compromise. When the loudest points of view on one side lack intelligence and that side also refuses to even talk about compromising, the system suffers.

    February 22, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  6. DoubeW

    I'm going to talk about the things Americans want to talk about," Santorum said to CNN.
    Oh, reeeeeally? Then why isn't he talking about "Jobs, jobs, jobs" and the shrinking middle class?

    February 22, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  7. Dave

    If you are a believer you know the United States is under attact from Satan.
    Just look at the school system with God out of it.

    February 22, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  8. TRH

    It seems Mr. Santorum has been apologizing, back-peddling, and defending quite a bit lately. Don't be fooled...those things he said were by design and so are the "apologies." All he wants to do is get them air time. He wants to plant those ideas in the minds of the easily led, especially the Christian right. He does this because he is a classic demagogue, and probably the most pristine example of one that I have seen in decades. Here's the definition:

    "...is a strategy for gaining political power by appealing to the prejudices, emotions, fears, vanities and expectations of the public—typically via impassioned rhetoric and propaganda, and often using nationalist, populist or religious themes."

    February 22, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  9. John_D

    Satan is as real as Santa Claus – who by the way still owes me a ferrari...

    February 22, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  10. icecold

    Ok, this is why republicans like Rick Santorum can not be president. Just because you are a person of faith doesn't mean that you have to become so radicalized in your belief that you cant see another persons point of view or accept someone elses flaws bc they dont have the same religious view as you. If Santorum was running for Pope, Bishop, Reverend or whatever these ideas would good talking points. But when you are running for a position like leader of the free world, you have to accept some views and points that conflict with your beliefs. If you believe the devil is corrupting America or targeting america that's fine, especially from a religious standpoint, but to be talking about others as evil or statanical makes you look silly in front of other people. While your faith can be strong and you can be a devout christian, you still can maintain a sense rationale that says while i know that this is fact i still do not want to be insensitive or offensive to other countries, people, or groups that dont share my beliefs, therefore I won't bring religion to my job like most normal americans have to do. Rick Santorum touting his religious beliefs and demonfying others that dont agree is like radical muslims that carry out terror plots bc they believe others are evil bc they dont believe in Allah. My main point is that you can be christian and president, but you cant be a christian president, the two should be separate, bc we have too many other people that dont view themslves that way and soon you will divide the country bt christians and non chistians and things will only get worst.

    February 22, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  11. Barry

    With God on his side how can he lose, Richard J. Santorum POTUS #45...go Rick!

    February 22, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  12. WagTheDog

    Santorum is a phony as a $3 bill. He has two expressions: dead fish and angry. He's a man out of control. We gotta dump this fool before it's too late. And then let's broker the convention and put Rand Paul in with Christie as VP.

    February 22, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  13. Shawn Irwin

    Insanitorum wants to go to war with Iran, and, he will defend Israel right or wrong . . . . he is a George Bush clone, or worse!

    February 22, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  14. Lori

    He's just one step away from joining the Westboro Baptist Church. Next he'll be protesting military funerals because of America's tolerance to homosexuals. Scary!

    February 22, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  15. Dave

    Wolf/CNN show the whole speach instead of taking things out of text by showing the parts you want.
    Anyone can look bad if you edit it to sound the way you want it to.

    February 22, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  16. Jose

    Yay, Rick Santorum wants big government to run everybody's lives. What is conservative about him again?

    February 22, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  17. Grapefish

    Religion poisons everything.

    February 22, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  18. Scott

    Satan is attacking America. America, a Christian nation since it's conception, has always been a shining example of God's blessings. America's people knew God's hand was blessing our country. Satan has been successful at convincing the people that we don't need God in our school system, government, and way of life. When God goes so does His blessings and that is evident the shape we find our country in. George Washington: ”Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor." Rick Santorum is completely right and the right man to be our next president.

    February 22, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  19. Dilip Samuels

    Its amazing that the GOP leadership hopefuls really play up the right wing INTOLERANT Christian vote ..every other person is evil except the religious bigots

    Does America need a religious bigot

    February 22, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  20. seriously

    Rick Santorum - If "Satan attacking America" is not what is on the minds of the voters, why are you out talking about it anyway?

    You're a politician of AMERICA. You can have your religion and moral values, but don't bring them into politics. Independents like me have a habit of tuning you out immediately.. how will you ever beat Obama that way?

    February 22, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  21. James Ruston

    Dave: Which God should be in our schools? Your God obviously, but Santorum's God? or Romney's God? The God of Abraham? The God of the Jehovah Witnesses? How about Allah for all the Muslims in our schools? Or just some vague spirit God in the misty heavens with no attributes at all? Also, you need to get a hold of a logic book and look up the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy.

    February 22, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  22. Sapient

    And this guy wants to be President? No thanks. The last time religion was the law in this country dozens of people were accused of witchcraft, hanged and or simply left to die in prison. Santorum would have made a great candidate if he were running in Salem, MA in 1692 but in 2012, he's just another psychotic religious fanatic.

    "A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything." — Friedrich Nietzsche

    February 22, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  23. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    This election cycle is truly a circus. The GOP has totally lost it.

    February 22, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  24. Marlene Delugish

    Wrongo – Drudge reports JUST what others say – so if more talking heads are for Romney, GOOD FOR THEM! SANTORUM IS A LOSER - A WANNA BE POPE, a pious man who NEVER DID A WRONG IN HIS LIFE, NOR EVER CHANGED HIS MIND! NOT!! Give it up Rickie and go back being the lobbyist you were before and after you were in the Senate. Whether Romney wins MI or not, he will still be our nominee ... let Santorum and Gingrich fight it out for second place!

    February 22, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  25. Motorcop2

    Whats with the media. Who cares if Santorum is religious, believes in God, and good and evil? JFK apparently shared those beliefs and he was a pretty good president. Could we focus on the pending disaster in the Middle East during the debates. I want to know what specific plan each of these men have to deal with this. I know Obama's plan, he will wait 4-months to make a decision like he's done in the past. I would like to know what Obama's specific plan is going to be after the nuclear Holocaust in Israel.

    February 22, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
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