Santorum calls out Obama on 'evil,' mocks Romney
February 22nd, 2012
05:26 PM ET
3 years ago

Santorum calls out Obama on 'evil,' mocks Romney

Tucson, Arizona (CNN) – Speaking to a tea party audience on Wednesday, Rick Santorum mocked fellow Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and led the overwhelmingly friendly audience in a chorus of catcalls against President Barack Obama.

As Santorum harshly criticized the president on the economy and foreign policy during the speech in Tucson, audience members could be heard calling the president a "liar," "arrogant" – and repeatedly booing his name.

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The candidate did not use those words himself. Instead, his words encouraged his audience.

For example, at one point, Santorum accused the president of appeasing "evil" around the world.

"Ronald Reagan was courageous enough to go out and speak about the forces of evil," the former Pennsylvania senator said.

He continued: "Our president refuses to call evil – evil. He refuses to even name it, refuses to confront it. He tries to appease and cajole it in an effort to reduce America's commitments around the world - that if we just have paper or if we just try to make nice with those who are actively doing harm to America and its allies, that somehow or another that threat will go away or be ameliorated."

"And what we have found is that is simply, from history, it doesn't work."

On Tuesday, the former Pennsylvania said, "I believe in good and evil" in response to CNN questions about his 2008 comments that Satan had set his sights on the United States.

The previous comments raised eyebrows. Yet Santorum defended his words.

At another point during the Tucson speech, Santorum accused the president of trying to end core U.S. beliefs.

"Essentially we are going to have to hold together on some set of moral codes and principles," Santorum said. "And we are seeing very evidently what the president's moral codes and principles are about. We see a president who is systematically trying to crush the traditional Judeo-Christian principles in this country."

Such language directly appeals to Christian evangelicals and the conservative tea party movement – two groups Santorum is courting in the GOP race. Speaking just under an hour, the candidate promoted tea party ideals: adherence to the Constitution, lower taxes and less entitlement spending.

The candidate also addressed an issue of major concern to Arizona, one of four states that border Mexico.

"You have my pledge that we will secure this border," Santorum said. "We will deal with the issue of the drug violence and the cartels."

He also pledged, if elected president, to "deal with the national security threats to our country at the border and secure the border so that the people in Arizona can live in peace and prosperity just like every other state in the country."

The afternoon event was Santorum's only public appearance of the day ahead of the CNN/Arizona Republican Party Debate Wednesday evening. CNN's John King will host that debate – the last before Super Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Santorum appears to be increasingly wielding a double-edged sword: training as much fire against the president as he does against Romney.

On the same day the former Massachusetts governor played up his tax plan to revive the economy, Santorum mocked his rival.

"I just saw today that Governor Romney announced that he was going to be lowering the tax rates to – well, the tax rate I proposed," Santorum said.

"Welcome to the party, Governor. It's great to have you along."

And Santorum continued to draw contrasts between himself and his main rival.

"Look at the record versus the rhetoric of what you see of in many cases 'Johnny Come Latelys' to the conservative cause," the candidate said. "That's the decision you have to make here in Arizona. Who do you trust? Who is authentic? Who is believable?"

Romney's campaign responded with a statement linking Santorum to Obama.

"It's no surprise that Senator Santorum would try to associate himself with Governor Romney's conservative, pro-growth plan to cut taxes and grow the economy," Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said. "But there are crucial differences. First, Governor Romney's plan will not explode the deficit in the way that Senator Santorum's will. Second, Senator Santorum takes the exact same approach to tax policy as Barack Obama-he wants government to pick winners and losers."

Some national polls suggest that Santorum's double-edged slams may be helping him in the GOP race. However, in a new NBC News/Marist poll out Wednesday for Arizona, Romney holds a 16-point lead over Santorum.

A CNN/Time/ORC International poll released Tuesday showed Romney and Santorum in a statistical dead heat.

Arizona and Michigan hold primaries February 28. Twenty-nine winner-take-all delegates are at stake in the Arizona contest. In Michigan, the 30 delegates at stake will be divided proportionally among the candidates.

Santorum appealed to the audience about the importance of both contests.

"You are going to have a huge impact," he said. "Everybody is focused in on Super Tuesday."

"But more than anything else, what happens in Michigan and Arizona next week is going to have the biggest impact on Super Tuesday and this election than any two states."

Ten states hold primaries or caucuses on Super Tuesday on March 6.

–Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Rick Santorum
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Jake

    wow, playing from the George W. Bush playbook? And that worked TWICE! we should all be scared!

    February 22, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  2. Rick in AZ

    I thought it was against the law to incite a mob. Perhaps the Secret Service should take a good look at Santorum

    February 22, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  3. Tired of republican lies

    I wish there was a like button for these posts...Thank you Fred Riek @6:20 p.m. That truly is the best post.

    February 22, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  4. Jo Jo

    What are we in preschool? What's up with all the name calling? Santorum has taken on the role of Newt by becoming the bully on campus. Oh yeah, this guy really proves he can handle the day to day highly stressful agenda of the presidency. I can just see it now, his handling of foreign policy will be throwing out insults such as calling every country godless. GOP has bottomed out completely.

    February 22, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Rick Santorum is getting scarier by the day. Today, he sounds like he wouldn't mind being a martyr.

    As for the idea of more trickle-down tax cuts, the American people made their opinions clear in 2008 when Barack Obama ran on ending the Bush Tax Cuts. Republicans ran on jobs in 2010, and gave us radical right wing social engineering in 2011, instead. Now Republicans want to return to their boom-and-bust tax policies that took us to and over the brink.

    Pres. Obama saved our economy with the Stimulus [ go ask Jeb Bush about it, they threw him out of the party when he appeared with Obama and asked for more because it worked ] He probably saved the global economy, too, by saviing the world's largest economy. The only jobs plan that Republicans keep proposing are more of the same proven failures, tax cuts and deficit spending. Santorum's plan would add a trillion dollars of annual debt.

    February 22, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  6. Charlie from the North

    I have an theory. It is impossible to prove but read on tis kind of scary. If the south had won the civil war they would have become a theocracy years ago. I wonder how long it would have taken them to abolish slavery had they not been forced to do so by the Union. Even if they had eventually banned slavery how much longer would they have kept up segregation. At any rate what made me think of it is that while Rick Sanatorium is hopelessly unqualified to be President of these United States he would have been a perfect candidate for President of the Confederate States of America.

    February 22, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  7. Liz the First

    This person calls himself a 'good Christian,' yet stokes hatred against a good man who has done nothing to deserve it except try his best to do what's right for the American people. against overwhelming opposition and obstruction from the people who almost destroyed this country, Obama has brought us back from the brink of another Great Depression! and the idiots who brought us to that brink hate him for it. what has become of this country that there are this many stupid, hate-filled people in it? i pray there will be enough good, decent people voting in November to clean out the republican infestation and get the country moving even faster toward recovery.

    February 22, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  8. Filipino Daly City

    Romney has always been the media favorite, and Santorum the media heel. Mitt has always gotten away with easy questions by the media and is the center of attention. Mitt Romney probably has the main stream media in his deep pockets.

    February 22, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  9. Charlie from the North

    Oh and by the way where the......(i'll say heck incase kids read this) are all those folks who told me during the "Bush Error" that I should "respect the office of the President" I mean really think about it America I am sure you know the type and if you are part of this blog you see their hatred spew over the screen. There are a bunch of things I thought about saying about George W that I did not. Out of respect for the office, yet now that our guy is in there they forget it. I know it is not all Republicans but every time I hear or see any of the Tea Party folks it burns me up. They have no respect at all. I bet this is the way main stream America felt about the hippies in the 70s.

    February 22, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  10. RWB1956

    And you know, all this is because the Republicans and tea people used hate and fear mongering to get the older people who always vote in the midterms, to vote in all these Archie Bunkers come to life people elected and this country has gone downhill since. It has nothing and everything to do with President Obama. They just can't accept the fact that the majority of the country elected this man President over their candidate. Their heads are spinning. Everyday it's some new lie. And their only mantra disrespct the President and "beat" Obama. They do not care what damage they cause or who gets hurt or killed. And they not accept the consequences of their action. I'm a Democrat and never had a problem with a Republican President but all that has changed. These people cannot be allowed to get control of this country. Vote them out in November. Use your own mind. Thanks and have a nice day.

    February 22, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  11. Silence DoGood

    vote Obama to talk and do little.
    vote Santorum to do something really, really bad.
    vote 3rd party for a Change.

    February 22, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  12. NVa Native

    Fred Riek

    This forum will not let me or many others express the deep revulsion we feel with the verbal abuse that our President and our Country is being subjected to daily by this group of miscreants. If there is a just God, voters will turn out in droves to let all Republicans know how much they have fallen from grace. It is time to end the Republican Party. Any party that turns away moderates and people who are willing to compromise for the good of our Country do not deserve to be in office. They were very clear when Obama was elected president; their number one goal was to defeat Obama and not let anything pass the Congress that could be interpreted as a success for Obama. THEIR IS NO GOOD USE FOR A REPUBLICAN INCUMBENT. They have purposely been hurting our Country by not participating in helping to solve the problem that the Republican administration caused. The Republican Party brings out the worst in those who support them. It is up to us, the true patriots to throw the Republican bums out of every office possible. We need a solid moderate Independent Party to ensure that creeps like the current crop of Republican wannabees never win an election.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Truth is good..........

    February 22, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  13. manhandler

    I don 't care which party you're from or whether you like Obama or not..........showing such blatant disrespect for the President of this country is inexcusable. These people are the true evil. Agree with him or not, this President is sincerely trying to do the best he can to improve things in this country and this vile hatred has got to stop. Where are the Republicans who should be speaking out against this gross disregard for the leader of our country? This November we will remove the Republicans from control of any segment of Government.

    February 22, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  14. Mark

    Yeah keep demonstrating those "moral values". Santorum is about as legit with moral values as Newt Gingrich is with family values. Republican hate resulted in their party being taken over by wackos. We'll see how far that gets them. Here's to 12 more years of watching them throw temper tantrums:

    Barack Obama 2012
    Hillary Clinton 2016
    Hillary Clinton 2020

    February 22, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  15. casey

    Here comes Santorum. Tea Party kicked the democrats rear in 2010' And the Tea Party and Santorum will make history in the fall.

    February 22, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  16. Russ

    How much more infantile can Republican candidates get? I mean name calling? This is what you expect from a bunch of 3rd graders on a playground, no disrespect for 3rd graders intended. To start with they can complain all they want about what Obama has or hasn't accomplished, but in the end with the BS in congress none of these morons would have been able to accomplish much either. When I'm President I'm going to do this and I'm going to do that. No you aren't because just like the Republicans have done for almost 4 years the Democrats will block every stupid idea you have.

    February 22, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  17. Greg Buls

    If you support this President, at least be clear what that means.
    Obama has repeatedly said that the fundamental weakness of the Constitution is that it does not confer 'positive rights'. What are positive rights? They are the right to food, shelter, education, cash, medical care, etc. If you think that's fine, at least recognize that others have to be enslaved to meet your demands. And recognize that it means an massive growth in the scope and power of government.
    How well stocked would our grocery stores be if the government was in charge of food production and stocking stores? A government which can give you whatever you like has to take it from someone else, at gunpoint (try refusing to pay 40-60% of your income in various taxes, and wait and see how long it takes before someone shows up with a gun, ready to kill you or put you in a cage, like an animal.) That's the world you are begging for if you are still an Obama supporter. He sees no legitimate limits at all on government power. This year he insisted that the government have the power kidnap US citizens and rendition them to foreign governments who are more willing to torture them, or to hold them in solitary confinement, without charges or legal representation, until 'the end of hostilities'. But that's not evil, no.

    February 22, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  18. The GOP opens mouth and inserts foot

    To Charlie from the North: You're right. Respecting the office of the President even though you don't respect the person sitting in the Oval Office.

    However, there is one thing I'd like to toss into the mix - during the "Bush Error," Americans were repeatedly told that going against the President or disagreeing with him meant you were siding with the terrorists. Well, the GOP repeatedly go against the President and disagree with him. That should tell anyone of the mentality of the current crop of GOPers.

    February 22, 2012 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  19. lovetheusa1234

    Mitt Romney is the candidate who will bring pride and prosperity back to the USA. When he speaks, his love for this country comes through. He is not in this for a power grab as is Santorum. Why would Romney give up a successful career? It’s because he wants to get this country back on track. It’s not the establishment republicans only who back Mitt Romney, it is the common person like me. We are the ones sending in our $25 to help him win this election. We don’t care that he is a Mormon, we look beyond the “categories” and look to a person who deeply wants to set this country on the right track. Let’s elect Mitt and watch a real American presidential campaign in the fall.

    February 22, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  20. lvh

    @NVa I don't see any compromise. Check history and see the damage the dems have created.
    If u are a true independent u would not support either.

    February 22, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  21. fishb8

    Strong . . .conviction . . .speaks his mind .. . .will not be bent . . .starting to sound like a real candidate . .. .
    not from manchuria like the President we have

    February 22, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  22. Mark

    Santorum is a slimy weasel. Way to stoke the flames of hate for your own benefit, you leech.

    February 22, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  23. Mark

    Way to stoke the flames of hate, Ricky.

    February 22, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
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