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Rick Santorum Suspends Presidential Campaign

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"It turns out that it wasn't really my voice that I was out communicating, it was your voice"

Rick Santorum is suspending his presidential campaign, effective today.

The Republican candidate announced the news at a conference in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Tuesday afternoon.

You can watch the full conference below:

"I want to thank everybody for the outpouring of prayers over the past weekend, we had a difficult weekend," Santorum began.  Though his daughter was recently hospitalized, he said she is a "fighter" and they look forward to spending more time with her.

The event led Santorum to consider his role as a parent, he said, weighed against concerns that his children would not be able to pursue the American dream in the future.

"I'm for Bella's dad," he recalls a supporter saying, demonstrating how his campaign was able to blend a strong family with a strong campaign.

"It's been wonderful, story after story," he continued.  "It turns out that it wasn't really my voice that I was out communicating, it was your voice."

Explaining how he tried to run a positive campaign, Santorum says he tried to embody the hopes of Americans, while addressing real issues like Iran.

"What I tried to bring to the battle was what Abraham Lincoln brought to this battlefield...that all men are created equal."  This is the heart of American exceptionalism, he said, and who we are.

"This presidential race is over for me, and we will suspend our campaign effective today, but we are not done fighting," he said.  They will continue to speak for the Americans that gave them the "air under their wings" that no political expert expected.

This country needs leaders who will "raise us up," instead of "trying to do for us what we can better do for ourselves," he added. "The game is far from over," he reiterated, he will just be acting in a different capacity in the future.

"Thank you very much, and God bless," he ended.

Rick Santorum is considered by many to be the last viable alternative to Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee for president.  Though he originally vowed to stay in the race and win his home state of Pennsylvania on April 24, recent polls show Romney was in "striking distance" of winning the state.

Reactions to Santorum's decision have been swift.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said:  "Today, Senator Santorum has made a commendable decision. He has decided to put his country, party, and desire to defeat President Obama ahead of any personal ambition. I applaud his decision and congratulate him on the campaign he has run."

Newt Gingrich said:  “Rick has waged a remarkable campaign.  His success is a testament to his tenacity and the power of conservative principles...I humbly ask Sen. Santorum’s supporters to visit Newt.org to review my conservative record and join us as we bring these values to Tampa...We know well that only a conservative can protect life, defend the Constitution, restore jobs and growth and return to a balanced budget."

This is a breaking story.  Updates will be added. 

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