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Liz Santorum: ‘My dad today is exercising his most important role; being a dad’ as 3-year-old hospitalized

by Andrew Abramson | January 29th, 2012

Santorum and daughter Bella

SARASOTA — Just two days before Florida GOP voters go to the poll, Rick Santorum stayed behind in Pennsylvania to care for his ailing 3-year-old daughter, Bella.

Santorum’s 20-year-old daughter, Liz, appeared in his place, giving a brief speech to a crowd of about 250 at an airport hanger in Sarasota.

Liz Santorum

“My dad wishes he could be here with all of you today,” Liz Santorum said. “My dad today is exercising his most important role; being a dad.”

Bella Santorum suffers from Trisomy 18, a genetic condition caused by the presence of all or part of an extra 18th chromosome. Santorum has teared up speaking about Bella at past campaign stops, saying she wasn’t expected to live past the age of 1.

Liz Santorum didn’t provide many details about Bella’s condition, telling reporters after the speech that “we’re hoping and praying she’ll be better soon.”

Liz Santorum said on Sunday that her family knew from the beginning that the presidential campaign “would not be the easiest campaign for our family.” She said they knew there would be tests and trials, “but we knew this would be worth it because America is worth it.”

Liz Santorum would be a junior at the University of Dallas, but she took off a year of school to help her father “fundamentally change the world.”

“The founding fathers understood, they knew what was happening at that moment was important, history was being made right before their eyes,” she said. “Like them, you will not sit on the sidelines and let history happen. You have three days left.”

Santorum is polling a distant third behind Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich in Florida and was expected to leave the state for good after a Monday morning appearance at Boca Raton Synagogue. It’s not clear yet whether Santorum will make the Boca stop.

Jesse Biter, Santorum’s Florida campaign chairman who usually works behind the scenes, told the crowd that “It’s with a heavy heart I stand here today.”

“I think it’s appropriate for us to continue on,” Biter said.

Biter told the crowd how he started a .com business that had only five employees, but grew to 150 employees thanks to the Bush tax cuts.

“I saw first hand that the government has the ability to help small business grow simply by getting out of the way,” Biter said.

Several members of the Duggar Family, the TLC reality show stars of “19 and Counting” about a family with 19 children, opened up the rally.

Joshua Duggar, 22 and the oldest Duggar child, made a forceful push for Santorum, saying Santorum was “a Tea Party guy before there was a Tea Party and it wasn’t popular.”

“Women of Massachusetts still walk off the hand of Gov. Mitt Romney and they get an abortion for $50,” Duggar said.

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10 Responses to “Liz Santorum: ‘My dad today is exercising his most important role; being a dad’ as 3-year-old hospitalized”

  1. Ajay on Amelia Island Says:

    And I commend Rick on his decision as both a father and a candidate. We need more fathers who care about their families and children.

  2. Margaret Bates Says:

    I commend Rick Santorum, as a Father. I think, in this case, that he made the right decision. There are some things that transcend politics and everything that is part of this earth…and Fatherhood is one of those things. Bless you, Bella, and hope you recover soon!

  3. larryh32 Says:

    Every Republican I see in my party is a hypocrite! I have a war criminal as a senator “West” Another who is just a bold faced liar ”Rubio”, who lies about everything from his family’s heritage to his race? I don’t think this country could survive another Bush! Who are the idiots who vote for these people? It should be a requirement that everyone have a minimum 2 years additional college to Vote!

  4. ricardus Says:

    larryh32: If 2 years additional college be a requirement, Obama would still be back living in Chicago. You must be a real loser to refer to Col West as a war crimninal and Marco Rubio as a liar. What in the world does that make you!!!

  5. Kay Says:

    @ ricardus : are you retarded??? DO you know anything about Obama ? Or are you just a plain racist??
    Obama is educated you moron, …..perhaps you should get some education, you trailer park trash!!!!

  6. Kay Says:

    I agree with larryh32.

  7. Dmann Says:

    Hey larryh32, I don’t think this country can survive, you, or kay, or Obama’s education much longer.

  8. Ajay on Amelia Island Says:

    Yo harryh32 and Kay: This article is about a very sick little girl and a father who rushed home to be by her side. Yes he is a candidate, but this is neither the time nor the forum to express your intolerance for any party. I was always told that if you cannot say something nice about anything, hold your tongue. It is people like the two of you who have neither the grace, tact or courtesy to offer this child your very best wishes for a speedy recovery, and her parents some hope that she will get through this.

  9. Tea Lady Says:

    I wish you the best at this difficult time in your lives, Rick and Karen Santorum.

    And yes, there will be people that criticize your actions .. kick you when you’re down. (Like “V” does.) But most of us are keeping you in our thoughts!

    Best wishes during this difficult time!

  10. Toni Says:

    larryh32 – hit the nail on the head perfectly describing my Republican representatives. Kudos.

    As for candidate Santorum hope his baby girl continues to improve.

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