At a campaign stop at a megachurch in Cumming, Ga., on Sunday night, Rick Santorum told the crowd of almost 3,000 that the United States is currently facing a situation not so different from the one it faced on the brink of World War II in 1940.
The former Pennsylvania senator explained that during that era, Americans were hopeful that the situation in Europe would right itself, and the United States sat by as Nazi Germany conquered the continent.
According to the Washington Post, Santorum described the pre-WWII rationale regarding Hitler:
Why? Because we're a hopeful people. We think, 'Well, you know, he'll get better. You know, he's a nice guy. I mean, it won't be near as bad as what we think. This'll be okay.' Oh yeah, maybe he's not the best guy, and after a while, you found out things about this guy over in Europe, and he's not so good of a guy after all. But you know what? Why do we need to be involved? We'll just take care of our own problems. Just get our families off to work and our kids off to school, and we'll be okay.
Reporters questioned Santorum on Monday about the comments, asking him if he was making a Hitler-Obama comparison.
"No, of course not," he responded to a National Journal-CBS News reporter, "It's a War World II metaphor. It's one I've used a hundred times."
Dana Milbank of the Washington Post points out that Santorum has used Hitler analogies before, specifically as a senator when he argued against a Democratic filibuster, saying, "The audacity of some members to stand up and say, 'How dare you break this rule?'--it's the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942 saying, 'I'm in Paris. How dare you invade me? How dare you bomb my city? It's mine.'"
Santorum has been no stranger to controversy in the past few weeks, as media outlets have started to take his candidacy seriously, exploring his political past. This week, critics dug up a 2008 speech where Santorum warned that Satan had set his "sights on" America to cause more spiritual decay.