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Rick Santorum's views on Satan may scare off voters

santorumRick021412_optBY ADELE SAMMARCO
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

Republican Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum is riding the wave of recent primary victories in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri and is vying with fellow GOP candidate, Mitt Romney, for first place in the national polls and in the upcoming primary states of Arizona and Michigan.

Santorum’s meteoric rise has left fellow candidates Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul jockeying for position. Gingrich, who was once on top of the polls with a win in the South Carolina primary, is said to be on the attack, ready to pounce at a moment’s notice on any perceived foibles by his rivals.

The four candidates are, in the meantime, gearing-up to face-off in another nationally televised debate. This time in Mesa, Arizona where the Pennsylvania Senator will try to reposition himself as the ultimate conservative candidate of the pack, which will leave him open to questions about his beliefs.

Four years ago, Santorum claimed "Satan is attacking the United States" and is now back-peddling, standing behind those comments after they resurfaced to much controversy, telling reporters he plans to “stay on message” and continue to talk about jobs, security, and “taking on forces around this world who want to do harm to America.”

The Satan comments are getting renewed scrutiny after several web-based publications dug-up the audio and text of his remarks over the President’s Day weekend.

While appearing at Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida, Santorum said, “This is not a political war at all. This is not a cultural war at all. This is a spiritual war. And the Father of Lies has his sights on what you would think the Father of Lies, Satan, would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country: the United States of America.”, according to the National Journal.

Santorum further defended his comments by stating, “I believe in good and evil. I think if somehow or another, because you’re a person of faith, you believe in good and evil [and it’s] a disqualifier for president, we’re going to have a very small pool of candidates who can run for president.”

However, when asked whether he still believes "Satan is attacking the United States," he shrugged off the question by calling it, “not relevant to what’s being discussed in America today.”

“If they want to dig up old speeches of me talking to religious groups, they can go ahead and do so, but I’m going to stay on message and I’m going to talk about things that Americans want to talk about,” Santorum said, “which is creating jobs, making our country more secure, and, yeah, taking on the forces around his world who want to do harm to America, and you bet I will take them on.”

To further deflect from the Satan controversy, Santorum cited his own proposal to overhaul Social Security, which is often called the “third rail of American politics” because it is dangerous for politicians to touch it", and awkwardly joked, “I’m riding the rail on a skateboard, ladies and gentlemen.”

Recent polls in Arizona show Mitt Romney losing ground to Rick Santorum, whose appeal to social conservatives has forced Romney to position himself further to the right where many still see him as the moderate former governor of a liberal state.

Satan isn’t the only remark that has thrust Santorum into center-stage spotlight.

Just last month, Santorum wondered if women should be on the front lines at war.



 

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