Rick Santorum announces campaign suspension | News | DW | 10.04.2012
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Rick Santorum announces campaign suspension

US Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has announced he has suspended his campaign to earn his party's nomination and face President Barack Obama in the general election.

Santorum's decision on Tuesday clears the way for the leading Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, to secure the party's nomination and run against Obama in November.

"While this presidential race is over for me and we will suspend our campaign effective today, we are not done fighting," Santorum said in Gettysburg, in his home state of Pennsylvania - adding that he looked forward to taking part in the Republican's efforts to defeat Obama.

Romney had nearly twice as many delegates as Santorum and is well on his way to gaining the critical number - 1,144 - needed to clinch the Republican nomination.

Primary elections are scheduled for Pennsylvania in two weeks, and polls showed Santorum trailing Romney. Santorum said his decision had been made over the weekend after the hospitalization of his three-year-old daughter, Bella, who suffers from a rare genetic condition.

During his exit speech, Santorum made an appeal to blue-collar voters by placing a focus on manufacturing, as well as the Republican Party’s conservative wing with an appeal to family values. He played down defeat, claiming to have scored a victory by addressing issues that could have otherwise been ignored.

"Over and over again, we were told, 'Forget it, you can’t win.' We were winning, but in a different way." he said. "We were touching hearts, we were raising issues that - frankly - a lot of people don’t want to have raised," Santorum said in the news conference.

Primary races remain, most notably on April 24 in five states that include New York and Pennsylvania. However, even Romney's remaining Republican rivals have acknowledged he is now the likely challenger to Obama.

mz, rc /slk (Reuters, DPA)