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. matt2717

    Santorum says something four years ago, the media crescendo begins. Obama spends 20 years in a "GD America" church. Nothing said—the crickets are deafening. Obama says he's a Christian. Though he goes to no church known to anyone, the media takes him at his word and moves on. Santorum actually acts like a Christian, and the banshee wails begin, as does the digging. Oh, apparently, according to the media, it's fine to be a Christian, but only if you're a Democrat. It's okay to talk the talk, but if you walk the walk, you're some kind of knuckle-dragging evolutionary throwback.

    February 22, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  2. Joseph Sheppard

    So now we come to it at last! We will see if people who vote are relativists and atheists or people who know of the existence of good and evil, and the good God. If nothing else has been accomplished, the battle lines have been drawn crystal clear. May the media reign of misinformation be crushed forever!

    February 22, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  3. Dave

    You can't deny there is good and evil in the world. (You can, but you would have to ignore the obvious) I admire Santorum for speaking the truth. I don't think truthful politicians get rewarded with votes. Obama's State of the Union speech is a prime example. The media fawned over it, in spite of it's obvious bending of the truth on so many fronts.

    February 22, 2012 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  4. reggie patrick

    The battle lines, in these last days are drawn between individualist vs collectivist; between faith in the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ vs faith in atheistic belief and unto believing in everything up to a 1,000 points of broken lights.The results of this election will determine whether we are revived in freedom or sink faster down into collectivist bondage. I pray Rick Santorum wins, because i pray we will be renewed again.

    February 22, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  5. Sam

    What is it about the Saten remark that makes it an issue. Seems to me that the Good Book expresses this as a theme throughout. As is usual, the press is struggling to find issues to excite folks. These tatics no longer work.

    February 22, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  6. Kely

    SaI also believe in good and evil. And I think that you stand on the wrong side of the cross, Mr.Santorum.

    February 22, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  7. Thomas

    Santorum: 'I believe in good and evil'

    Ok , what about open-mindedness , acceptance and forgiveness ,

    February 22, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  8. Marylou

    Mr. Santorum is right, so speaketh this very wise OLD lady – I have a degree in Life so I am an authority., I saw him change positions of Bob Shiefer's rear end Sunday. I was cheering, too. Bet Bob S has not found the original one yet. Before this is over, there's gonna be many sporting new ripped ones, too.

    February 22, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  9. Brian

    He's right. Pray for the United States and peace throughout the world. ALL things are possible with God! Put your faith in God. Take courage. You were made to meet your Maker!

    February 22, 2012 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  10. Dave Mowers

    Save Us Ricky! We Christians Need Relief from Gayness and Women's Rights, oh the horrors of liberalism and Satan, please stop these people from having freedom or we are all doomed.....bwaaaaaaaa

    February 22, 2012 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  11. Kevin

    As someone who will vote for any of the 3 conservatives... Paul, Gingrich, or Rick if they win the nomination... I can say also as a guy who does visit Drudge's website... it's obvious they have an agenda to protect Mittens and smear the other 3.

    February 22, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  12. Bill

    What's absurd is the preposterous contention that Santorum is a conservative. He's a Big Gov statist.

    February 22, 2012 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  13. Sarah

    freak. I hope he gets the GOP nomination – then Obama will win easily.

    February 22, 2012 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  14. Americanadian

    Rick was correct to say Satan is “attacking the great institutions of America.” When he wins, many will see the grace of God answering our prayers for the salvation of this country and our children.

    February 22, 2012 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  15. Angelo

    2012: We Don't Need an Ayatollah ☪

    America needs a Constitutional President not The Ayatollah Santorum ☪

    It's not the president's job to be our Ayatollah.

    It's the president's job to defend the Constitution and uphold the rule of law.

    This is America.

    Not Iran!

    February 22, 2012 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  16. mk1

    And I believe you are evil. Not really hard to figure that one out.

    February 22, 2012 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  17. rds

    Watch out for the National Sunday Law. It's where thsy want to legislate their morality of keeping the Catholic church's Holy Day Sunday on everyone – even those that don't hold that view.

    February 22, 2012 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  18. carol hanson

    A non issue- Is this the best the media can drag up ?

    February 22, 2012 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  19. Marry

    Good morning to you Ayatollah Santorum and your first Bishop Romney!
    God must be busy elsewhere – or he would send lightening down into every one of these GOP/TP people. Who knows, perhaps an electric jolt would bring a little “enlightenment” to them…
    What a disgusting group – and people that do not think for themselves and run after these fakes (clapping) show no good character and no smarts either! What has become of (the) US even contemplating anyone coming from the GOP/TP representing nothing positiv, nothing good, nothing to help the country recover?

    February 22, 2012 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  20. Fred Riek

    Like Santorum, I was a Catholic Pennsylvanian. Now I am neither a Catholic nor a Pennsylvanian. I still love Pennsylvania but leaving the Catholic Church was one of my best moves. As we all know, there is a lot of evil in the Catholic Church, even though the evil was compounded by the priests, bishops, cardinals and the pope. Santorum has made religion a talking point of his campaign and his holier than thou approach may play well with the crazed far right of the Republican Party, but I believe that most people have been turned off by this strategy come the general election if he became the Republican candidate (hard to imagine that happening, but then they did give us Bush II that put us in the many messes that Obama inherited). Santorum should consider starting a mega church and rake in millions from the sheep, I mean good people, who would buy his good vs. evil BS. At least Reagan pointed to the Soviet Union as the evil empire instead of our own President. Bush II should have taught us that we do not need another Republican idiot leading the Country.

    February 22, 2012 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  21. Paul

    Santorum needs to stop milking this religion thing. Its starting to get obnoxious, instead of focusing on issues he is trying to preach. Unnecessary.

    February 22, 2012 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  22. Black Eagle

    The problem is, everyone has different views of "good" and "evil". Santorum believes contraception, abortion, divorce, and all the developments of freedom in human family and sexual life are "evil". The Catholic Church used to burn people alive for such "evil". Apparently he does not appreciate such facts, or that many conservatives are sick of religious fanatics. Why bother to fight against Islamic Sharia Law if the alternative will be self-righteous and quite demonic Chrisitan Talibans using Big Government to arm-twist the nation down to their frequently ugly agendas. Please do Vote For Santorum and Help Elect Obama!

    February 22, 2012 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  23. vesuvius13

    The problem with candidates like Santorum and his constant talk about his Christian values is other people in this country, rightly or wrongly, hear that his views will become ingrained in our laws and regulations. This country is about individual freedom within a framework of laws. Most of us want a moral leader that focuses on strong economic values that develop freedom and opportunity for all not a leader pushing to pass laws and regulations that force their form of religion on the rest of us.

    Christianity has many different adherents and many sects don't agree with the religious interpretation of another sect.

    A President should focus on freedom and liberty in the economy, individual religion or to have no religion, and a Constitutional limit on the powers of the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary branches of the Federal gov't leaving all rights & powers not listed in the Constitution to the People and States.

    February 22, 2012 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  24. ceoco

    I expect this from CNN and MSNBC, but not from Matt Drudge!

    February 22, 2012 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  25. Bryan

    Santorum is right... the devil has taken over America... from perversion to politics, Lady Gaga to Nazi Pislosi... I don't get what the big deal was when he said what he said [which was in the correct context... a church]...it made me a bigger believer in Santorum.. heck, I may vote for him twice now!

    February 22, 2012 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
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