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ENDGAME: Santorum Suspends Campaign

NEW YORK TIMES: Rick Santorum suspended his presidential campaign on Tuesday, bowing to the inevitability of Mitt Romney’s nomination and ending his improbable, come-from-behind quest to become the party’s conservative standard-bearer in the fall. “We made a decision over the weekend, that while this presidential race for us is over, for me, and we will suspend our campaign today, we are not done fighting hating,” Mr. Santorum said. MORE

ASSOCIATED PRESS: From obscure former senator driving a pickup truck across Iowa, Rick Santorum made a surprising — he calls it miraculous — leap to become the most formidable threat to Mitt Romney’s march to the Republican nomination. His shoestring campaign, which ended Tuesday, was a constant reminder of Romney’s trouble connecting with the party’s conservative core. Santorum’s presence in the race pushed to the fore polarizing social issues, such as abortion, access to birth control and gays in the military, that many in the party preferred not to delve into as the GOP prepared to court independent voters in the general election campaign against President Barack Obama. Although he accused the media of unfairly focusing on that part of his broader campaign, Santorum was unapologetic about taking on such issues.

Early on, Santorum wrestled with competing images: He was the sweater-vest-wearing, smiling underdog, a devoted father of seven taking on the Republican establishment and a multimillionaire front-runner. But he could also come across as a stern moralizer, worried that birth control was harming the nation and government-funded preschools were indoctrinating America’s children into liberalism. He seemed to think working mothers would do better to quit their jobs and home-school their children, as his wife, Karen, did.

He called Obama “a snob” for wanting all Americans to have the opportunity to go to college. And he said fellow Roman Catholic John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960 speech about the separation of church and state made him want to “throw up.” He reveled in his underdog status, reminding supporters that his campaign lacked the money and slickness of Romney’s effort and that he spoke from the heart rather than prepared notes. At times, though, he appeared to talk himself into unnecessary controversies, as when he said the economy wasn’t the race’s top issue and unemployment didn’t concern him as much as the federal government’s threat against individual freedom. MORE

RELATED: The Eight Dumbest Things Rick Santorum Said On The Stump

PREVIOUSLY: I Was Rick Santorum’s Pen Pal

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