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Santorum drops presidential bid

 Republican U.S. presidential hopeful Rick Santorum Tuesday suspended his campaign, citing his young daughter's medical condition.

"We made a decision at our kitchen table to get into this race against all odds," Santorum told a Gettysburg, Pa., news conference. "We made a decision at our kitchen table this weekend to suspend this campaign. … It's over for me," adding he will continue to fight for the things he believes in.

Santorum's 3-year-old daughter Bella, who suffers from the rare genetic disorder Trisomy 18, which is generally fatal before or during birth, was released from the hospital Monday. She had been admitted last week for the second time in recent weeks.

Santorum said he and his family spent a "difficult weekend" but Bella "is a fighter."

"She is doing exceptionally well," he said. "She is back with us and we are looking forward to spending time with her."

Santorum said he spent the weekend in "prayer and thought" in coming to his decision.

Earlier in the day, Santorum had canceled several campaign appearances for the day in his home state of Pennsylvania, where Republicans hold their primary April 24.

Santorum reflected on the last year, saying though pundits kept saying he wasn't winning the race, he was "winning in a different way -- touching hearts, raising issues."

"Against all odds we won 11 states. …," he said. "We won more counties than all others in this race combined. I found a deeper love for this country."

Santorum has been running second to Mitt Romney in the GOP presidential sweepstakes. The withdrawal likely will give Romney a lock on the nomination.

Romney issued a statement praising Santorum and congratulating him on his campaign run.


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