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. David

    Hey Rick,Earth is not flat. Go back to 13 centuries if you wish to live under Christian theocracy.

    February 22, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  2. NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    Ricky Santorum wants to be in charge of Assassinations ... and new wars

    Just like the Romney Robot and Newton Leroy

    February 22, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  3. yoshi

    This guy is all talk – Satan? We don't need a TV preacher as president, we need a guy who can get things done. Who has the best track record of doing that and is very successful – Mitt Romney – he's run businesses and created jobs, fixed the Olympics and balanced the budget in Mass. I don't know why the GOP hasn't picked this guy yet. Santorum is all talk about "values" – imposing values is not the government's job. Fixing the economy is and Mitt is the guy to do it.

    February 22, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  4. b.mclane

    Please everyone whether you approve of Saint Santorum or not please Google his voting record. He is NOT the Conservative he pretends to be. ITS NOT WHAT YOU SAY IN A CAMPAIGN ITS WHAT YOU DID WHEN YOU HAD THE CHANCE. "TALK" is cheap.

    February 22, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  5. Steve Martin

    Santorum sees his previous speeches under increased scrutiny? Amazing. The man sitting in 1600 Pennsylvania Ave has yet to see anything he has said go under national scrutiny. Wow...it's almost like a dark force is keeping the things he wants hidden, hidden. And the things he wants to be seen, seen. But that's a little to deep for the intellectual heavy-weights in reporting circles who are so eager to get invited to the latest White House Party.

    February 22, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  6. jovibul

    Rick Santorum is the AntiChrist!!!! He is a major moron and should be laughed off the stage. Who are these people that are supporting him. The man is Hitler reincarnated!!!

    February 22, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  7. Mr. Turtle

    Satan? I think perhaps Mr. Sanctum Santorum watched the "church lady" skit on TV one too many times. Satan?
    Medieval thought in 21st Century America. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't read it here, but there it is. I have
    one question for Mr. Santorum, does the earth revolve around the sun, or vice versa?

    February 22, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  8. Deaner

    Drudgereport has devolved into garbage...Romeny cannot win...Santorum / Rubio is a our ticket to victory

    February 22, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  9. tymtrvlr

    What he meant to say is that the marxist leaders of American society's parasites are infesting and perverting all the great American institutions while demonizing them. They offer nothing better in return. liberalism and marxism is a mental condition that needs to be stamped out in our lifetime.

    February 22, 2012 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  10. andybud

    No, Rick, the problem is not that you believe in good and evil.

    The problem is that you believe in the Devil, which makes you an imbecile (granted, an imbecile with lots of company, but stupid x 100 million is just more stupid, not less).

    February 22, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  11. jovibul

    Go home Rick Santorum!! You are the EVIL in this world with your bigotry and phony belief in God. The God I know doesn't spew venom the way that you do!! YOU ARE A PHONY!!! Talk about the issues and not a good man's faith in God!!

    February 22, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  12. Boldtruth11

    How is believing in good and evil controversial? Although liberals don't like to discuss this–THE GREAT MAJORITY throughout all the world believes in a God. That is the norm. And many of those religions believe in some form of evil vs. good. We all just don't happen to have the same name for either. Rick Santorum is completely in line with the founders of this nation. The media isn't.

    February 22, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  13. hazmat77

    What does Faith have to do with good and evil?

    One doesn't have to believe in religion to believe in the fact that both Good and Evil exit!
    The evidence is all around us in the present; and history is replete with evidence of them both – with or without resort to religion.

    Santorum represents politics via biblical beliefs, and as such could NEVER win enough votes from citizens who have intelligence and don't need to hide behind the supernatural.

    February 22, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  14. Jeffery Dahmer

    Santorum in 2012 – Because I like to play with dead babies, too.

    February 22, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  15. Buffmuffin

    He's right to call Drudge absurd...

    The Romney bias of Drudge has been apparent to anyone with a pair of eyes...

    And if you happen to believe in the devil, satan, ha-satan, shiva, lilith or any other proverbial bad guy, as 84% of the world does, then there is something patently absurd with anyone finding fault with someone's warning against his influence.

    I'm not a Santorum fan, and would favor someone less religious than him, personally, but i would vote for him over Robama in a heart beat, because if conservative credentials are stronger not because of, but rather in spite of his religious fervor.

    We need conservative ideals, and actions. I'm voting for Ron Paul, unless he is not an option. If he's not an option, i'm voting for Santorum; if he's not an option, then i'm going to weigh my heart and figure out whether voting for Romney or not at all, and thence by proxy for Obama, is the greater evil...

    My heart is still out on that one...

    February 22, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  16. Bruce

    Romney's people must be slow....there is a whole bunch of info out there about Karen Santorum that would absolutely sink his campaign and no one is touching it...wonder why?

    February 22, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  17. Jose Alvarez

    Santorum is absolutely accurate about his Satan remarks. America is being deceived by Satan and has been falling into his hands. Period.

    February 22, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  18. David

    Good vs evil is not the choice between God and Satan. It is a personal decision, either for the good or the bad, decided in the mind of real earthly beings.

    February 22, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  19. Teresa H

    This is exactly why I like Santorum. He doesn't pull any punches when he is confronted on something he has said or done in the past. There is no spin with this guy. So what if a man of faith made a speech at a religious organization a few years ago. It does not make him a wacko!! That's what the left would want you to believe !

    February 22, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  20. johninlongmont

    well, if Drudge starts printing out the documented beliefs of the Mormon front runner, people may raise their eyebrows a little higher

    February 22, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  21. Harold Johanson

    It's obvious Drudge has chosen his candidate. He's doing everything he can to prop up Romney. I'm not saying that it's not fair, that's just the way it is. If MSNBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, etc, can use their networks to promote their candidate, Obama, Matt is within his rights to promote his. We don't have to buy what he's selling, though.

    February 22, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  22. B. F.

    Controversial speech??? What conroversial speech?? Since when is a talk on the existence of Satan deemed controversial?? Some people need to wake up. Satan DOES EXIST, and he desires every single person be eternally damned. And if you do not believe it then you are making Satan smail; because he has you duped.

    Way to stand your ground Rick Santorum!!!!!!!!!

    February 22, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The old vet (?) standing there looking at him seems to be thinking: "If I could just get my hands around his neck". lol! Maybe not.

    February 22, 2012 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  24. Liberty Stone

    I have to agree with Santorum on this one. I usually love drudge but this is beyond stupid coverage. I think it is because Santorum connects with real people. It seems that the left and right in the media fear Santorum's real policies because this is the only dirt they can find on the guy, and they cannot help themselves but create a controversy out of nothing. As to the Satan comment, I dare say most people feel Washington and religion has become PC, and form over substance. Ask this question, if Satan is not attacking our great instutitions then who is? And why are our great institutions getting sickier and sickier? Think about this: how did our country go from personal responsibility/natural law, to relativistic hedonism as the fundamental philosophy underpinning our morals?

    February 22, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  25. Michael DeBinder

    I think 100% questions about faith and religion are relevant, it goes directly to the character of the individual and what their belief system is. If you want to be the leader of the free world than your religious beliefs are just as important an issue as the rest of your core values. If Santorum was an atheist it would be relevant just as it is that he is a christian, if your going to put yourself out there as a conservative christian and pander for their votes than speeches you made and positions you took or take are relevant. The problem among many things with what Santroum believes in is that he wants to pick and choose what issues he thinks are relevant and he wants to talk about.

    I think there are many women voters who disagree on his position on many issues about women, prenatal, contraception, and in the work place, just as I refute that Satan exists, that is just a radical religious right wing philosophy. Having faith in God does not mean you have to have a faith or belief that Satan exists, is there evil in the world, yes, but to have the notion that Satan exists is simply ridiculous and that in my opinion goes to the question of who Santorum is. Personally it frightens me to think that people in the Republican party are voting such a right wing radical religious view, Santorum's views would oppress women back a century and the idea that any women voter would support a candidate that wants to date them back in time is crazy. But I guess its the same view of most middle and low income Republicans who continue to vote for Republicans that want to help the 1%, I can't remember the last time a Republican President that helped the middle class, can you?

    February 22, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
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