Will Rick Santorum's Daughter Declining Health Force Him to Drop Out?
Little Bella had a recent bout with pneumonia
After Rick Santorum’s big showing at the Iowa Caucuses, he gave a deeply passionate speech about he and his family’s background, striking a populist to his already Christian conservative message that appeals to so many voters in Iowa.
He really seemed to score points with audiences when he began to invoke the name of his 3-year-old daughter, Bella. Little Bella was born with Trisomy 18, a genetic condition that usually proves fatal within the first year of life.
Santorum has campaigned under the slogan, “faith, family and freedom,” and Bella's recent bout with pneumonia has her fighting for her life. It is something of a delicate situation for Santorum, who has seen his poll numbers drop, cash dwindle, and both Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney surge ahead in what has increasingly become a two-headed race.
“I don’t know whether her life is going to be measured — it’s always been measured — in days and weeks,” Santorum told the Washington Post late last years. “Yet here I am, because I feel like I wouldn’t be a good dad if I wasn’t out here fighting for a country that would see the dignity in her and every other child.”
Some feel that Santorum should simply drop out of the race and be by his daughter’s side during this difficult time. Many conservatives, however, view Santorum’s presence in the race as a triumph and testament to the sanctity of life; doctors recommended the Santorums prepare for Bella’s death instead of going forward of intensive medical treatment.
“Our phone is ringing off the hook with conservatives telling us that they know his daughter is sick but that they want him in the race,” said Santorum staffer John Brabender, according the Washington Post. “There has never been a call to us to get out of the race. We are picking up endorsements every day, and we believe that we are going to be able to create a unity coalition who respect Rick Santorum for talking and living as a conservative.”