But on Sunday, Santorum campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley stuck by the candidate's use of the word, saying "Theology's a worldview. And Obama sees the world differently."
Throughout his political career, even after he lost his 2006 re-election bid by 18 points, Santorum has not been one to mince words or to soften his rhetoric, especially on social issues.
As a Philadelphia Inquirer columnist after he lost his Senate seat, he went after married women with children who worked outside the home. "For some parents, the purported need to provide things for their children simply provides a convenient rationalization for pursuing a gratifying career outside the home," he wrote.
That's quite a stern indictment at a time when so many households were struggling to make ends meet and care for their kids, often on an income that requires a two-earner family just to barely get by.
Someone dug up a speech Santorum delivered at Ave Maria University in Florida on Aug. 29, 2008, in which he warned that the United States was under attack by Satan.
"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 become) so deeply rooted in the American tradition," according to audio excerpts of the speech.
He said Satan has subverted the nation's colleges and universities, the Protestant church, and our culture and politics.
Excerpts were reported on the widely read Drudge Report Wednesday. Rush Limbaugh, one of Santorum's supporters, played segments of the speech on his radio show, saying, "It's just not the kind of stuff you hear a presidential candidate talk about. It's not ordinary in that sense."
Limbaugh said that "Santorum will have to deal with it. He'll have to answer it."
On Sunday, Santorum compared our present elections to the approach of World War II.
"Remember, the greatest generation for a year and a half sat on the sidelines while Europe was under darkness," he said at a church in Georgia. "We're a hopeful people. We think, 'Well, you know, it'll get better. Yeah, he's a nice guy. I mean, it won't be near as bad as what we think. This will be OK. I mean, yeah, maybe he's not the best guy after a while, after a while you find out some things about this guy over in Europe who's not so good of a guy after all ...'"
He had to defend these remarks Monday when he was asked if he was comparing Obama to Hitler. "No, of course not," he told a National Journal-CBS News reporter. "The World War II metaphor is one I've used 100 times in my career."
People can read all kinds of implications into a speech that the speaker never intended if his words, metaphors or sloppy comparisons leave room for an entirely different interpretation.
A presidential candidate who has to clarify and explain remarks that are peppered with innuendo raises troubling doubts about himself and maybe his agenda.