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U.S. GOP candidate Rick Santorum quits presidential race

(Xinhua)

09:06, April 11, 2012

File photo taken on Jan. 3, 2012 shows U.S. Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum attending a caucus night event in Johnston near Des Moines, capital of Iowa, the United States. Former Sen. Rick Santorum announced on April 10, 2012 that he has dropped out of the presidential nomination race. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)

WASHINGTON, April 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is suspending his campaign, the former Pennsylvania Senator announced on Tuesday in his home state, which further cleared a path for front-runner Mitt Romney for a seemingly inevitable GOP nomination.

"We made a decision over the weekend that this presidential race was over for me and we will suspend our campaign effective today," said Rick Santorum, surrounded by his wife and children at a news conference in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, just two weeks before his home state's presidential primary.

The second-place GOP nominee hopeful said that the condition of his youngest daughter Bella, who was hospitalized over the weekend caused him to think about the role as parents. The three-year-old girl, born with a rare chromosomal disorder, was just released from hospital hours before the news conference.

Santorum also signaled he is not leaving the campaign field all behind, vowing "not done fighting."

"We will continue to go out and fight and defeat President Barack Obama," Santorum said.

Santorum declared his campaign team and supporters "made the history", adding "no other presidential comback race like ours." He stressed their "different" accomplishment on the campaign trail, saying that "against all odds, we won 11 states, millions of voters, millions of votes."

The longtime favorite of social conservatives almost surprised everyone with his win in Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses and his rise as a "non-Romney" alternative. As he mentioned in his speech, the former senator did win hat tricks, even sweeps, in several campaigns. But he failed to prevent former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the much-better-funded candidate, from cementing the status as an inevitable GOP nominee.

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