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. Tony in Maine

    didn't read past the headline – but Sanctus Santorum has the potential to do great evil – not on the level that he's accused, unaccused and reaccused our non-white President of, but serious evil.

    That said, note to my fellow Democrats. The Republicans are on the verge of following the Whigs into the trash barrel, don't help them by suggesting someone other than the current clowns for president.

    February 22, 2012 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  2. cisbio

    Santorum isn't even funny. I find him chilling. Imagine how suggestible he is!

    Pinning everything back to God and the devil requires no cognitive effort whatsoever. Of course, he is playing to the most vacuous Republican base right now- but even so.

    He may well take all the way to Tampa -Obama's secret weapon.

    February 22, 2012 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  3. Stu

    Any candidate that makes statements that are intolerant of anyone's religious beliefs should be automatically barred from running for any elected office.

    February 22, 2012 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  4. GI Joe.

    ha ha ha. So do we, brainiac. And with all your lies, innuendos, and distortions, you're beginning to look and sound evil. NOT IN THIS CENTURY.

    February 22, 2012 06:14 am at 6:14 am |
  5. Marie MD

    I finally agree with this moron. Yes, I do believe in good and you are the perfect example of what evil is!

    February 22, 2012 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  6. Jay

    I cannot be any more gleeful that this man has a microphone and keeps talking. I support the president and we can pretty much sit back and watch the Republicans destroy their party. Women who are CONSERVATIVE are scared of this guy.

    You right-wingers who have deluded yourselves into thinking more than 20% of America supports vaginal probes and banning contraception and chiding the GIRL SCOUTS...you just keep on talking.

    The Republican party is destroying itself. The damage the freaks in your party are doing to it now will last well beyond 2012.

    Nice work, FELLAS!

    February 22, 2012 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  7. quail

    Rick, your anti 2nd amendment voting record is enough for me to consider you an absurd candidate for President. Please drop out of the race.

    February 22, 2012 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  8. Michaele Hughes

    People who believe in God and the Bible know that Satan has been on the attack of humans since humans were first created in the Garden of Eden. Mr. Santorum's statements are no big surprise to anyone who believes that the Bible is God's word and these sort of statements are heard from pulpits all across the land every Sunday.

    February 22, 2012 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  9. James

    As the next POTUS he should go with Red white and Blue curtins.

    February 22, 2012 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  10. reconphil

    "Excerpts of Santorum’s speech were splashed across the CONSERVATIVE leaning Drudge Report for much of Tuesday." Now they are appearing in the LIBERAL leaning CNN! (Caps added).

    February 22, 2012 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  11. riordon

    Drudge is obviously in the bag for Romney and the purpose of the headlines and articles is to make Santorum look like a wild-eyed fanatic. I'm don't want to bag on anyone's religion, but if you know what Mormons believe, Santorum sounds like a moderate. His speech about the devil was fine with me.

    February 22, 2012 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  12. Brian Faulker Jr.

    I pose to you these quotes form the King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.) Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” and Matthew 24:24 “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect–if that were possible”.

    This is what we see today in Santorum's remarks and actions while bidding for the GOP nomination. But the followers of Christ follow Santorum without concern, desperate for salvation that cannot be found in man. To stand before another and say that he is one with god, then deny others the right to choose their own path goes against the teaching of the bible and show his true intent.

    Do not preach the bible unless you intend to present it all equally. We cannot pick and choose, and apply passages in a means to cause harm or to present hate towards another.

    February 22, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  13. philly jim

    i think most people of faith would essentially agree with what Santorum said. How can you look at the decline of this country and feel differently? If Santorum made this comments yesterday as part of his presidential campaign, then yes, it would be an issue, as he's running for President, not Chief Theologian. but having this thoughts because of his faith, and making these statements 3 years ago when he wasnt a presidential candidate, whats wrong?

    February 22, 2012 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  14. John Ralston

    Rick's peaking at the right time... Drudge gave him a boost tuesday.
    Bring God ( in the form of Jesus ) back to America, or watch her die a slow & painful death.

    February 22, 2012 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  15. Tony P.

    What was so controversial about it? because he talked like someone who believes in God and also believes there is a Satan? Funny, Obama can talk "Faith" all day and the media says nothing, let Santorum do it and the media and Far Left Nuts lose their minds and foam at the mouth.

    February 22, 2012 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  16. old white guy

    santorum is correct. if you believe in God then you also are aware of satan. those who believe in God and read their bible do not need cnn or anyone else to denigrate their beliefs.

    February 22, 2012 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  17. Anonymous

    Just Drudge shifting from Gingritch attack mode to Santorum attack mode. Anyone still not convinced that he's in the tank for Rino Romney needs to start paying attention. Drudge has done fantastic work exposing many legitimate items over the years, but it's clear where his loyalities are-with Rino Romney.

    February 22, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  18. DavVictor

    When so-called "journalists" (If they know what the word means) want to discuss Satan, then put the subject of Satan in context. Pulling out odd-ball subjects which are clearly out of context is simply knife throwing in a vein attempt to discredit a person. That's not journalism but it is great example of how America views bias in the media.

    What makes me laugh is about this subject, being a Christian, is the quote (ROFL):
    Eph 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

    February 22, 2012 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  19. maury duncan

    Rick Santorum gave the speech at a religious institution, not a secular one. What was he supposed to talk about, the history of breadmaking !?!?

    Every Christian I know is aware of the reality of Satan, the author of all lies, evil, and hate. Is it any surprise that Satan would seek to bring about the destruction of the U.S. and the misery of our people ?

    It appears to me that Santorum gets it. And he is brave enough to stick with the truth, rather than waffle and twist and change in order to do whatever it takes to please the media, in order to get elected. America is tired of phony politicians.

    February 22, 2012 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  20. Lee

    Why would Satan prefer to atatck the US (330M people) over the other 7B people in the world. The guy is a little strange.

    February 22, 2012 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  21. Drudge for Romney

    Just Drudge shifting from Newt Gingritch attack mode to Rick Santorum attack mode that's all. Anyone still not convinced that Drudge is in the tank for Romney really needs to start paying attention. Drudge has done a fantastic job over the years exposing many items, but it's clear where his loyalties are-with Rino Romney. First it was headlines and links galore attacking Newt, now its Santorum.

    While it's true Gingritch is only slightly more conservative than Romney, Gingritch is a far superior debater to go against Obama with the ferociousness that is needed. Santorum is the most conservative of the three.

    February 22, 2012 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  22. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    He thinks birth control is evil and should be done away with-he has just lost %100 of the womens vote and why is it he doesn't have 15 kids-a little birth control maybe?

    February 22, 2012 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  23. Big Jack

    Christians believe in the existence of God, and they believe in the existence of Satan. Both are clearly described in Scripture. Those who do not believe Scripture will dismiss one or both, but so what? Whether Satan cares about the U.S. particularly is a matter for individuals to evaluate, but anyone is entitled to his view on it. In any event, those views will not become a policy statement or a new law, so who cares? Suppose a candidate is a vegan, or someone who refuses to wear leather products, or who thinks nudism is wicked? So what? His administration isn't about to make those things the law of the land. Relax already.

    February 22, 2012 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  24. Joe Sixpack

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

    And why isn't it relevant today, Ricky? Oh yeah, you're trying to run for president. Just like you don't believe we have a right to privacy. You know, that pesky Constitution isn't relevant today either, right?

    Ron Paul 2012

    February 22, 2012 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  25. Forgotten Man

    While not a big Santorum fan, what is wrong with the idea of Satan, or evil personified, and an ongoing attempt to attack any institution? If you accept the Bible it is not a loony position to hold. If you do not accept the Bible than it should be on no matter to you.

    February 22, 2012 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
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