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. AEK

    "Satan is attacking the great institutions of America, using those great vices of pride, vanity, and sensuality as the root to attack all of the strong plants that has so deeply rooted in the American tradition."

    In other words, 'the devil made me do it' is a fashionable and viable excuse for inappropriate, immoral or illegal activity?

    I'm confused....

    I thought it was the Democratic Party that promoted and adopted policies inferring that people was blameless for their own irresponsible or reckless behavior, whereas the Republicans were the party of 'grown-ups' who acted responsibly and accepted responsibility?

    Recent examples of "The devil made me do it!" behavior and appropriate government policy responses:

    - Reckless financial management resulting in financial bailouts for banks and over-extended home mortgage owners: "The devil made us do it!"

    - Sexual promiscuity resulting in free condoms, birth control pills, morning-after pills, abortions: "The devil made us do it!"

    - Obama's 'Apology Tour' for America in 2009: "The devil made us do it!"

    February 22, 2012 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  2. geggyg

    Since this was brought up by Drudge and the Drudge Report will Santorums supporters claim this is all a dem plot by the MSM to ridicule Santorom and the repubs

    February 22, 2012 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  3. defff

    i'm a republican and i think this guys is a total jerk. he will force his moronic beliefs on people just as bad as any democrat, only his aren't based in reality at all. at least the democrats can make a logical case, although flawed, for what they believe. separation of church and state? personal freedom to choose? what has happened to my party..

    February 22, 2012 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  4. BK

    Santorum believes in good and evil, but he doesn't realize what side of that line he is located on.

    February 22, 2012 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  5. Jak

    The irony here is that Santorum himself IS evil.

    February 22, 2012 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  6. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    I do think Saint Orem believes in good and evil. Anyone who agrees with him without reservation is good. Everyone else is evil. Catholics are good. Every other religion is evil. Right wing psychos are good. Everyone else is evil.

    See, it is simple once you look at it from the viewpoint of the theologically dogmatic. Every thing that the church tells you is good. Anything else is evil.

    February 22, 2012 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  7. Jonathan

    How was the Drudge article absurd? All they did was quote him......

    February 22, 2012 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  8. Jenni

    In the context that the speech was given, to a religious audience, I see absolutely nothing wrong with what he said. This was not a speech given to the Better Business Bureau. Right and wrong is viewed through many lenses, one of which is religious belief (moral conviction) another of which is observations, another.... life's experiences, this is what makes up our attempts to sort out what is happening around us and makes us individuals. In this instance, Santorum was asked for his opinion as seen through a religious lens and he gave it.

    February 22, 2012 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  9. John A

    Romney has the same financial backers as Obama. When the spot light is shone on Santorum or Gingrich they are revealed as Lobbyist who support big spending, big government, more wars and they use the trust of the people to benefit their personal bank accounts.

    On the other hand Ron Paul is financially sound and a traditional conservative. He acts as a servant of the people and realizes when a president does not follow the constitution or the rule of law, then the president has become an odorous King.

    Most people already know Ron Paul is the only responsible choice for president, even though TV media always attempts to direct peoples thoughts towards the establishment choices of Obama, Romney, Santorum or Gingrich.

    You can vote for a lobbyist who will funnel your tax money towards the military industrial complex and big banks, or you vote for Ron Paul who will deliver a sense of self respect and liberty to the American people.

    February 22, 2012 03:42 am at 3:42 am |
  10. Bill

    It is a bit worrying when a candidate for President thinks Satan is attacking America...it does not suggest good judgement.
    If by some chance he should get the job keep the nuclear football away from him like they did with Nixon.

    February 22, 2012 03:53 am at 3:53 am |
  11. Paula W

    Of ocurse he is right ...satan is attacking America.
    Just as the enemies of Israel attacked Israel when she went astray a from God.
    God said in the Old Testament that he created evil and good, and he is using evil to judge America who has through pride and arrogance become puffed up with pride, and no longer follow the narrow path...
    Inbstead they have become puffed up with pride, just as Israel did. before god JUDGED her.

    February 22, 2012 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
  12. truthmonger

    "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.

    So he admits that he tailors whatever he's saying to every group he addresses, and those opinions exist in a vacuum and are therefore meaningless – even when they echo his supposed core values.

    “Guys these are questions that are not relevant to what’s being discussed in America today,” Santorum said.

    So Americans are no longer concerned about evil in their society?? Wow. And with that, our last, best hope for a true conservative candidate dies. Suddenly Newt is looking a lot more appealing (despite his phony "I'm the REAL conservative" campaign). Let's face it, nobody makes it to national politics without compromising themselves repeatedly. Nonetheless, ANY of these Republicans would be a huge improvement over Kommisar Obama, International Man of Mystery.

    February 22, 2012 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  13. Mike F.

    sorry, I would rather vote for santorum than Romney any day. Obamacare, Romney care? Rombacare. hhhmmmmm? buy the health care or we gonna get ya (we tell ya what to buy!). And next how bout anything we think ya need as a government, Like eat this (or else) vegies/and fruits and don't do this but do this? cause the government want's ya to!
    forget about mountain climbing (to dangerous) or wind/hand sailing (dangerous) walking/Jogging/kite flying etc. and last but not least....................... now you be FAT! get on government diet plan OR WE GONNA FINE YA! Can ya say MO Money? Forget rock climbing ya physical nut jobs we aint coming fer ya! without a hefty insurance policy! that pays US! yep the govment. have a nice day! oh i aint gonna be gawd over my own planet anytime soon...............pretty sure of that! sorry romney but yeah...................................................WOW really?

    February 22, 2012 04:12 am at 4:12 am |
  14. fulredy

    Santorum is too radical for me. I am a lifelong Republican and a Christian, but I dare say that this guy does not (based on his past performance) represent either. He is where he is because of anti-Romney supporters. I an really hoping that the Convension will produce a man or woman who can beat Obama with solutions based on Republican values. Further, that person, in my opinion, is not among the current candidates. Those candidates have done nothing positive for the Republican party, only slinging mud at each other and making the party look like a party of fools. A party that is playing right into Obama's hands.

    February 22, 2012 04:25 am at 4:25 am |
  15. Michael H.

    The sad part is that Santorum is hiding behind the religious smokescreen to mask his uber-progressive agenda. Unfortunately, this is a strategy that will work to coalesce the Evangelicals around him and make him a viable contender for the nomination. At the end of the day, you'll have a religious zealot that will use his power to make government even bigger and even more intrusive into the average American's life. Luckily/Unluckily, he cannot win the general election because the Evangelicals will not be enough to carry the day as they did for Bush ii. The independents will flock to Obama and deliver him a decisive victory over this theocratic wolf-in-sheep's clothing. That leads to entirely different, yet also dire problem. Love Obama or hate him, you have to agree that this man loves the throttle of power and I do not think he will let go of it if given the opportunity. That opportunity will surely present itself as America declines to near 3rd world status on the failure and ultimate collapse of the dollar. There is only one man in the running that will return the Republic back to the people after a crisis, and I don't even need to say his name. But that won't stop some from labeling me as a "crazy" or "paranoid" or whatever. That's fine with me. Just remember, when they come for your stuff and you sit there powerless, unable to defend yourself, and unprepared, you can harken back to this comment and realize that YOU were the leading cause of the destruction of this country by your apathy and failure to assess the severity of the situation we are facing.

    February 22, 2012 04:35 am at 4:35 am |
  16. Greggy

    Santorum's comment wasn't out of line or inconsistent with what has been preached in tens of thousands of churches across the nation for decades, The underlying media message is that Santorum's crazy because he actually believes Satan exists – even though well over two thirds of Americans are religious, believe in God, and the vast majority of them therefore also believe Satan exists. If one believes God exists, and therefore believes Satan exists, and one looks at the greed, corruption, drug use, alcoholism, violence, dishonesty, perversion, pornography, hedonism, profanity, abortion, societal decline, and other maladies affecting the nation – how could it be considered delusional for a believer to say that he thinks Satan is attacking the nation? If one is an atheist, then I'm sure this all sounds crazy to them – but to a believer, whether Christian, Jew, or Muslim, it's perfectly logical to look at our moral decline, and see the prince of darkness playing a role.

    February 22, 2012 04:53 am at 4:53 am |
  17. Mark Hillyard

    Make an argument against Santorums speech!

    Then make an argument against this...Ezek 22:12 "In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord GOD." Speaking to us, we are Israel. Check your history and track Christianity. "...there it will be said, "You are the sons of God."

    This whole nation is quilty of these things, all of us.

    Paul said, "I didn't know sin until I read, "Thou shalt not covet!"

    This entire politcal, religious and social [ist] system is based on coveting our neighbors goods.

    Prove that to be untrue.

    February 22, 2012 04:59 am at 4:59 am |
  18. Abe

    If a person beleives that a mythological being is attacking america, I'd like to know that. Besides, santorum has made it clear that his version of government is a type of theocracy light and that he has no problem sticking his nose into every cultural issue as long as it coincides with his ancient book. He has no concept of individuality or individual freedom, and if that means an expansive government to acheive his theocracy then so be it. So, YES, his mental soundness should be in question and a beleif in magic faires and devils should cause serious doubt amoung any rational person.

    February 22, 2012 05:17 am at 5:17 am |
  19. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I believe Rick is losing touch with reality, but is still better that the rest of the GOP field.

    February 22, 2012 05:22 am at 5:22 am |
  20. Spagetti Monster

    Today...
    "I'm going to talk about the things Americans want to talk about"
    "Guys these are questions that are not relevant to what’s being discussed in America today"

    Yesterday...
    "Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology. But no less a theology.”

    So he brings this all up, then it is not relevant...

    February 22, 2012 05:27 am at 5:27 am |
  21. Jay Weaver

    Santorum is right, and as a person of faith, it is and has been for awhile a battle of "good vs. evil" It is okay, say what you want, I have read the end of the book and I know who wins!

    February 22, 2012 05:40 am at 5:40 am |
  22. jar59

    So, is he going to defend his comments, or dismiss the report about them as "absurd"?

    Mitt must beat this man, he is going to hand the election to Obama on a silver platter.

    February 22, 2012 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  23. JOHNTHEBAPTIST11

    I suppose for all the doubters they believe Thomas Jefferson is right now in the whitehouse, well I have news for you this person america calls its president is not anything but the beast sent to destroy this nation, tell me anything this man has done to improve our standing in the world or tyhis nation and I don't mean killing people, innocent until proven guilty with drones and the lies and excuses keep coming!

    February 22, 2012 05:48 am at 5:48 am |
  24. JOHNTHEBAPTIST11

    When you go to vote this year justremember you had the opportunity but not the passion for the country that gave you the change to be great but said NO!

    February 22, 2012 05:51 am at 5:51 am |
  25. Sage Sophos

    Life is all about two spectrums "The Holy Spirit, evil Spirits, Good, Bad, etc". Rick have nothing to apologize for! the road towards the holy spirit is narrow with few travellers while the road towards the devil is well travelled by many!!

    February 22, 2012 05:53 am at 5:53 am |
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