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. Ranger01

    Santorum is not my first pick for President, however having a belief in God, Holy Standards are under great attack in this country by our Government, and the news media, So is Patriotism for this country. I commend and respect Santorum for standing up for what he believes in. He is not condemning anyone, just holding fast to where his standards, for life are based. I think it is much better having standards based on Biblical beliefs that on nothing at all but self gratification, which is fast becoming the sick standard for life.

    February 22, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  2. Butter My Butt And Call Me a Biscuit

    I, too, believe in good and evil and I believe that you, sir, are evil.

    February 22, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  3. George L. C. Smith

    I like a lot about Rick Santorum, but I was deeply offended when he said he didn't believe that mainline Protestants were Christians. I would still vote for almost anyone in the General Election who would end the curse of the Obama presidency, but I would need to hear an extremely good explanation before I would vote for Rick Santorum in a primary.

    February 22, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  4. DT

    The liberals are all holding back, letting the Republicans divide the electorate on these silly issues. Both Paul and Newt should fold their tents and work for the best outcome for America. Santorum is the only option that presents a three dimensional personality. That he has a belief system outh to galvinize the electorate. If you don't believe in evil, just look at tyhe White House for clarification...and the majoy news media.

    February 22, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  5. BOBHALL

    I Guess if anyone knows Satan's plans it would be Rick Santorum

    February 22, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  6. Vicky Bevis

    What IS it with this guy that is engaging so many? I fail to see just what the attraction is? What is his stance on Iran/Israel? What are his ideas on reducing the national debt? How does he see the oil issues that will be affecting this country for at least the next 4 yrs.?

    February 22, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  7. Marry

    “I’m a person of faith. I believe in good and evil,” Santorum said-
    I hope, I am (politically) a person of reason but here I too believe in good and evil. At the moment one can simplify it this way: Democrats good for the country – Republicans/Tea party evil for the country.
    However, I can see how Ricky would see it different – but as most of the time, he would be dead wrong again!!

    February 22, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  8. Tom

    Its good to see a man take a stand. Bottom line its getting too ridiculous to be prez now a days. I dont think in the 24 hour news coverage we have some folks understand just how much they are hurting the chances of good people who are not even willing to run anymore, on both sides! This is worthless information.

    February 22, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  9. Sista in DC

    Good grief – Santorum needs to prepare himself because he is about to fall off a cliff.

    February 22, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  10. Mindie in Indie

    Santorum will never be POTUS. The country will never elect someone who is so far to the right.

    February 22, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  11. john

    All Rick has to do is to repeat his comments in full and in context. I am a republican so this game of gotcha is most irritating to me when applied to 'r' candidates. But its seemingly a new rule that if a reporter can re arrange any candidates words and sentences then its fair game to do so.

    Then we wonder why policitans talk like 8 year olds. They have to lie-proof their speeches. Impossible of course but the more pallid and amorphous the rhtoric the harder it is to make hay with it.

    February 22, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  12. Newtshistory

    Here's Santorum's problem: when people "dig up" inconsistencies about him, they are bad. However, when he "digs up" inconsistencies about others (e.g. Gingrich, Obama, Paul, or Romney) he is good (a truth teller, pro-freedom, like Reagan, etc.). In this regard, he is no better than Obama.

    If he doesn’t fix this flaw, he won’t win in the general nomination. Each opponent should properly "vet" this guy by lambasting this character flaw.

    February 22, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  13. Laurie

    Jesus did exorcisms. Priests are still performing them today. If you do not believe in Satan, then hang around an exorcist for a time...that will cure you of your nonbelief.

    February 22, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  14. Just Saying

    Santorum believes in good and evil.

    And he is doing everything possible to prove that evil exists in the world. He thinks he is godly but, in reality, he is evil personified.

    Just Saying...

    February 22, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  15. Ando

    He is right. While we ignore the unseen reality around us, the moral fabric of society is perverted and destroyed. It may not be popular to say we are in a spiritual battle, but that doesn't mean it isn't true.

    February 22, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  16. Scott

    "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.

    Yeah, Americans don't care about jobs, or the economy, or their houses. Santorum cares about the issues that Americans care about, like not helping black people by giving them other peoples money. Or telling a woman she's not smart enough to make her own decision about what to do with her body. Or making us fear a religion in a country where we are free to practice any religion we wish. Or telling gay people they aren't equal citizens in his eyes. Yes Mr. Santorum, THESE are the issues Americans care about.

    February 22, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  17. dave

    wow, the press beats up anybody with any kind of conservative bone in their body. You believe in good and evil? Wow you must be a lunatic. But Rev. wright, let's sweep that whole story under the rug. Yeah some people believe that what they see going on right in front of their eyes in this country is evil. Where's the story here?

    February 22, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  18. Perspective

    I believe in evil, Satan if you will, also. This is anathema leftists who, though mean well, have a hard time understanding that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions", but most of the rest of us recognize that evil sneaks in when we aren't aware, and guard against it.
    For an end-game look at evil masquerading as "good intentions', learn a little history, from Stalin to Mao to Hitler to Chavez.
    Be awake, America.

    February 22, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  19. dave

    what's worse is the guy doesn't have the back-bone to stand behind his comment!

    February 22, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  20. Greg

    Both President Obama and Santorum are christians and men of faith. Nobody, except Hannity, brought up Obama's religious beliefs, so why are drudge and the mainstream media bringing up Santorum beliefs. If most people can accept Obama's association with Reverend Wright, why can't most people accept Santorum's is a practicing catholic along with catholic values. Kennedy didn't destroy this country and neither will Santorum.

    February 22, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  21. Geno

    Go Rick. Stand strong.

    February 22, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  22. Gibby

    He will "defend everything he says." Yet, when questioned about the speech he gave in 2008, he decided it wasn't relevant. In other words, someone told him that POV won't go over well with the public so he doesn't want to discuss it. His record is enough to ensure I won't vote for him. If he's the nominee, I'm going to have to vote Democrat for the first time in my life!

    February 22, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  23. Peg McKie

    How can a speech to a religious group about good and evil be called controversial?

    February 22, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  24. Pam Tomlinson

    If you don't know that Americans are living in a time where pure evil is creeping into our schools, churches, our culture and most certainly our government – you are flat lining. You don't have to leave the front door, just turn on your TV. Try watching a rerun of the latest music awards and tell me were ok.

    February 22, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  25. Tim

    The nutty beliefs of a candidate, particularly one who knowingly belongs to an organization that has shown a pattern of hiding and protecting paedophiles from prosecution, ARE of significant interest to the voters.

    February 22, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
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