Santorum returns to campaign, daughter out of hospital

Published April 10, 2012

| FoxNews.com

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum said Tuesday morning that he will return to the campaign trail today, after taking a four-day break to be with his sick daughter Bella.

The 3-year-old was taken to a Virginia hospital Friday with pneumonia. She has a life-threatening genetic disorder known as Trisomy 18.

The former Pennsylvania senator and his wife, Karen, made the announcement through the Santorum campaign.

We “are happy to announce that their daughter Bella has been discharged from the hospital and returned home earlier Monday evening,” said Hogan Gidley, the campaign’s national communications director. “The Santorums are truly overwhelmed by the prayers and support they've received.”

The campaign said Santorum cancelled his first two events Tuesday to allow the family time to “settle in at home.” But the campaign has adding a stop in Gettysburg, Pa. and said the remainder of the day's public and private events will continue as originally planned.

Santorum will join James Dobson tonight in the "American Heartland Conversation on Faith, Family, and American Values" at Lancaster Bible College.

Santorum faces an uphill battle against front-runner Mitt Romney in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Five states, including Santorum's home state of Pennsylvania, hold primaries April 24.

Romney is spending $2.9 million in TV ads in Pennsylvania. But in deference to Bella's illness, Romney's campaign pulled down a harsh ad that was running against the former Pennsylvania senator there.

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said Monday the campaign asked TV stations over the weekend to pull the ad and replace it with a positive, pro-Romney spot.

Romney is far ahead of Santorum in the race for delegates to the Republican National Convention and is the party's likely nominee. Santorum has said he won't drop out of the race, though he has acknowledged he will have to win Pennsylvania if his campaign is to survive.

Santorum carries a photo of Bella and often says she wasn't expected to live beyond her first birthday. Her story is well-known to religious conservatives who back Santorum because of his strong position against abortion.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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