Huffpost Politics

Rick Santorum Talks Daughter Bella (VIDEO)

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Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum answered a tough question about the youngest of his seven children, Bella, Sunday on ABC's "This Week." Bella was born with Trisomy 18, a genetic disorder that Santorum has said makes her life "measured in days and weeks."

"Well, it certainly is according to the medical statistics," he told Christiane Amanpour. "But we've been very blessed. I mean, she is three-and-a-half years of age, you know, I was with her last night, got a chance to spend some time with her. She's an absolute joy. She's really the center of our life. And we feel so blessed to have her."

Amanpour asked Santorum how he can justify continuing his campaign, given the polls and his daughter's situation.

"Yes -- no, I understand," he said. "Well, I don't worry about the polls. I worry about what I'm trying to do to be the best father and the best husband I can be. And obviously a big part of that is making sure that we have a country that respects her life, and a country that is free and safe and prosperous for all of my children. And I just felt like given this, this is really, I believe, the most critical election in the history of the country, that I had to step up and make sacrifices, like everybody does, to make our country a better country."

The former Pennsylvania senator is now polling only 5 percent in Iowa, trailed only by Jon Huntsman, but no matter.

"I think we have a very good chance of winning Iowa," he told Amanpour.

Santorum has previously spoken about his daughter's struggle and given similar justification for running for president during her limited life span. The Washington Post reported his remarks at an October "Defenders of Freedom" event:

"Life expectancy wasn't particularly long, and just the idea of going off and doing something like this was something I really struggled with," he said.

The deciding factor, he said, was that "we see with every socialized-medicine country, which is absolutely where we're headed, those on the margins of life are treated differently... They're not given the care, the resources aren't allocated because it is very costly, and my little girl would probably be seen as-- I hear, not only from anecdotal but actual evidence from other countries -- that children like this simply do not get care."

Around the Web

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