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Rick Santorum Daughter

January 29, 2012 by staff 

Rick Santorum Daughter, Rick Santorum will not be campaigning in person in Florida today so he can spend time with his youngest daughter, Bella, who is in a Philadelphia hospital.

Bella Santorum, 3, suffers from a rare and life-threatening disorder known as trisomy 18. The GOP presidential candidate has often talked about how Bella was not expected to live past her first birthday.

The Santorum campaign announced this morning that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, whose large family is featured in the TLC reality show 19 Kids and Counting, will instead stump for the former Pennsylvania senator at events today in Sarasota and Punta Gorda.

The Duggars were out in force in Iowa, where Santorum had a surge in support and eventually declared the winner of the nation’s first GOP caucuses.

In Florida, Santorum has picked up support since Thursday’s GOP debate — in which he attacked both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich on health care and other issues. But Santorum still lags in third place, well behind Romney in the latest Florida polls.

“Rick himself intends to return to Florida and resume the campaign schdule as soon as possible,” Hogan Gidley, Santorum’s communications director, said in a statement.

Bella Santorum was admitted by her parents to Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia late Saturday. Her father told The Washington Post last year that his daughter’s fragile condition has often weighed heavily on his mind as he campaigns for the presidency.

“You think she’s fine and then one cold and she’s this close to dying,” Santorum is quoted as saying in the November 2011 story.

The Duggars’ five oldest children will be on the campaign trail with their parents, and Santorum will be represented by his eldest daughter, Elizabeth, who is 20.

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