Critics Set Sights on Rick Santorum's Satan Comments

A quote from 2008 has caused another controversy for Santorum.

By + More

Another day, another controversy for Rick Santorum.

His latest problem arose when reports surfaced of a 2008 speech in which he said the United States was displaying moral weakness and Satan had set his "sights on" America to cause more spiritual decay.

Santorum is vying with former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts for front-runner status in the Republican presidential race, but his comments about values and cultural issues have prompted critics to argue that he is too extreme to appeal to moderate and swing voters.

[Obama Campaign Targets Santorum.]

Another problem is that Santorum seems to be trailed by controversy as his prominence in the race grows and as every word he utters is scrutinized. Republican strategists not aligned with any GOP campaign say Santorum could be hurt if GOP voters believe he is ripe for caricature as an ideological or religious zealot.

Santorum told reporters Tuesday that he believes in good and evil, and he won't back off from analyzing issues and announcing policies from that vantage point.

Regarding his 2008 speech that is causing such a stir, the full quote in question was, "Satan has set his sights on the United States of America. Satan is attacking the great institutions of America, using those great vices of pride, vanity and sensuality as the root to attack all of the strong plants that [have] so deeply rooted in the American tradition."

[Poll: Ronald Reagan Still Held in High Esteem.]

Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, criticized the media Tuesday for digging up these old quotations and asking him about them. He said reporters who emphasize such matters are dealing with issues that are "not relevant to what's being discussed in America today," notably unemployment and the economy, which he says he is addressing in his speeches and policy statements.

However, Santorum is expected to be quizzed further about his views on social issues during a Republican presidential debate tonight in Arizona.

Arizona holds a primary election on Tuesday.

  • See pictures of Rick Santorum.
  • Social Media Analysis Predicts Big Romney Win on Super Tuesday.
  • Obama Feels Your Pain at The Pump.