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Santorum thanks God as he defies odds in Iowa
Rick Santorum addresses a crowd at the Stoney Creek Inn on January 3, 2012 in Johnston, Iowa. Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Rick Santorum addresses a crowd at the Stoney Creek Inn on January 3, 2012 in Johnston, Iowa. Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images News/Getty Images
By Michelle Bauman
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.- Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum thanked God and the people of Iowa for his success in the state’s caucuses on Jan. 3.

“I’ve survived the challenges so far by the daily grace that comes from God,” said Santorum, who is Catholic, in a speech shortly before the final caucus results were announced.

With slightly more than 25 percent of the vote, Santorum placed a close second, only eight votes behind former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

The Iowa caucuses kicked off the 2012 primary season, during which voters in each state will determine the GOP presidential nominee who will run against President Barack Obama next fall.

Santorum caught the attention of viewers across the country by winning 30,007 votes in the caucuses, coming in a fraction of a percentage point behind Romney in one of the closest races in the state’s history.

Both candidates surpassed the next closest contender, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, by more than 3,500 votes.

After previously lagging in the polls, Santorum surged ahead in recent days, beating the expectations of many political analysts.

The former Pennsylvania senator resorted to a more traditional face-to-face campaign, visiting all 99 Iowa counties in the months leading up to the caucuses and holding hundreds of campaign events throughout the state.

In his Jan. 3 speech, Santorum began by thanking God and his wife, Karen.

He then recalled how his grandfather came to America to escape fascism and made sacrifices to give his children the opportunity to have a better life.

As president, he said, he would work to boost the economy and restore America to a land of freedom and opportunity.

The GOP contender also spoke about the importance of family, saying that the American people understand “that when the family breaks down, the economy struggles.”

Freedom and safety require families that “instill values into their children,” he added.

Surrounded by his wife and six of his seven children, Santorum thanked his family for their continued love and support.

He also spoke of his youngest daughter, Isabella Maria, who was absent from the event.

Isabella, whom Santorum described as “our little angel,” has a genetic disorder known as Trisomy 18.

Santorum explained that although children with this disorder have only a one percent chance of survival after one year, Isabella is currently three-and-a-half years old.

He said when he is asked what motivates him, he replies, “The dignity of every human life.”
And Isabella, who is “deeply embedded” in his heart, energizes him to continue working to defend the sanctity of life. 

The GOP contender also turned his attention to the New Hampshire primary that will take place on Jan. 10.

Although Romney is favored in polls across the state, Santorum remained optimistic, believing that his message will not remain confined to Iowa but “will resonate across this land.”

He expressed confidence about New Hampshire and other future primaries, telling his audience that he is capable of succeeding “with your help and God’s grace.”

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