Campaign says Santorum's daughter recovering, could be released from hospital soon

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum's young daughter could be released from a Virginia hospital Monday, his campaign said.

Spokesman Hogan Gidley said 3-year-old Bella was doing much better.

"The family hopes to take her home from the hospital very soon," he said.

Bella was hospitalized Friday as her father began a brief holiday break from campaigning. He did not campaign Monday so he could be with his daughter, who suffers from a rare genetic condition called Trisomy 18.

Santorum faces an uphill battle against front-runner Mitt Romney in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. The contest next turns to Santorum's home state of Pennsylvania, where Romney is airing $2.9 million in TV ads against Santorum.

Gidley said Santorum's campaign schedule Tuesday would depend on his daughter's health, but that "we have a full day of events planned tomorrow, so he should be back on the campaign trail."

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's acknowledged he will have to win Pennsylvania if his campaign is to survive.

The campaign has not provided details of his daughter's hospitalization.

Santorum carries a photo of her 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.