Politics
STEUBENVILLE, OH - MARCH 06:  Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum waves during the election night rally at the Steubenville High School gymnasium on March 6, 2012 in Steubenville, Ohio. FILE (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) STEUBENVILLE, OH - MARCH 06: Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum waves during the election night rally at the Steubenville High School gymnasium on March 6, 2012 in Steubenville, Ohio. FILE (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)  

Santorum drops out of GOP race

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Will Rahn
Senior Editor

Rick Santorum has ended his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

Speaking at a press conference Tuesday afternoon in his native Pennsylvania, the former Senator announced he has suspended rather than outright terminated his campaign, which will allow him more flexibility to deal with campaign debts and also continue to raise money.

“We made the decision over the weekend that while this presidential race is over for me — and we will suspend this campaign effective today — we are not done fighting,” Santorum said.

Citing his daughter Bella’s time in the hospital over the Easter weekend, Santorum noted that the experience gave his family time to pause and consider his place in the campaign. Bella had been admitted with pneumonia, which was exacerbated by her rare genetic condition called Trisomy 18. She was released from the hospital Monday night after Santorum had suspended campaign events over the weekend to recognize the Easter holiday and spend time with her. “She is a fighter and she is doing exceptionally well,” Santorum said.

“What I tried to bring to the battle was what Abraham Lincoln tried to bring to this battlefield,” Santorum said during the Gettysburg, Pa. announcement.

Santorum’s exit allows him to avoid a potentially humiliating loss to Mitt Romney in the Pennsylvania primary on April 24th. With Santorum out of the race, Romney, who was already enjoyed a commanding delegate lead over his rivals, now has an essentially unobstructed path to the GOP nomination.

Mitt Romney’s campaign responded to the news in a statement immediately following Santorum’s announcement.

“Sen. Santorum is an able and worthy competitor,” said Romney, “and I congratulate him on the campaign he ran. He has proven himself to be an important voice in our party and in the nation. We both recognize that what is most important is putting the failures of the last three years behind us and setting America back on the path to prosperity.”

After the speech, Santorum communications director Hogan Gidley told MSNBC that while his boss had not yet agreed to endorse Romney, a meeting between the two is likely.

“I just know Rick is open to the meeting,” said Gidley.

“We’ll get them together soon, and we’ll work something out.”

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