By Brian Bearden
Sen. Rick Santorum picked up campaign victories in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri on Tuesday then hit the campaign trail again Wednesday morning in McKinney.
Santorum’s campaign has been making up and down progress during the first two months of the year. First he finished eight votes behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in Iowa, then a recount gave Santorum the Iowa caucus. … Next, he dipped in polls after falling in New Hampshire and Florida, then rose again last night in three states with victories.
Just as Santorum’s run for the presidency has been making progress despite a few ups and downs, the campaign’s hot air balloon (sans Santorum) had its own ups and downs in McKinney on Wednesday.
The Santorum balloon rose quickly off the ground in McKinney’s Croatian village, then began moving southeast but a little too close to the Bella Donna Chapel in Adriatica before rising above the church and over the lake.
The balloon dipped to one side, and appeared not quite full of air, and the basket started sinking slowly toward Stonebridge Lake. As the flight almost became more interesting than it was supposed to be, the balloon pilot sent flames up and managed to clear the shoreline and sail past the homes on to the next stop for the Santorum for President campaign.
Outside the chapel, Santorum also picked up a following of families, especially a number of mom’s with preschoolers and babies in strollers on the chilly North Texas morning. The former Pennsylvania senator grabbed the attention of area pastors and clergy as he spoke inside Bella Donna Chapel. One pastor told The New York Times he could see Santorum had a heart despite earlier media coverage.
Showing his support of families and the Pro-Life movement, Santorum told the McKinney audience that his daughter Isabella has had her own close calls. Doctors told the Santorum’s that their daughter would be born with a serious genetic disorder. The Santorum’s chose to have the baby despite hearing she may not live more than a few days.
“No matter how long it was going to be, we wanted her to be a part of our family. We brought her home on hospice care. We started celebrating Bella’s birthday every week,” Santorum said. “Then an amazing thing happened – she didn’t die.”
Bella is stilling fighting for her life each week. The Washington Post reported Jan. 30 that his 3-year-old daughter almost died that weekend after a serious bout with pneumonia.
“A simple cold can kill her, and it almost did this weekend. She ended up with pneumonia and a cold,” Santorum said. “But she was able to get great care and really made a great turn around.
“We give her everything we would any child we have, especially our love,” he said in McKinney.
Santorum said that while his daughter Bella has battled to survive, he has tried to be strong for his family.
“I love Bella, and decided what’s best for her and my family is that I had to be the rock we could lean on. … She is such a special girl.”
Santorum champions Pro-Life causes and told the McKinney audience that Conservatives have to battle against the intolerance of the Liberal “Left,” especially when it comes to abortion and traditional marriage. He cited a recent court ruling.
“Where is the tolerance in that?” Santorum asked. “What that says is that the only way you can possibly believe in traditional marriage between one man and woman is if you are a bigot and irrationally full of hatred.
“This is the intolerance of the Left,” Santorum said. “It is a religion unto itself. They fear reason, and they fear dissent. Dissent comes from folks who use reason and common sense. The Left believes that if you hold these views, your voice and you should be obliterated from the public square.”
From McKinney, the campaign moved on to North Dallas’ Northwood Country Club, where WBAP (820-AM) talk show host Mark Davis served as emcee for a fund-raising luncheon hosted by Tait and Joy Cruse.
On Wednesday evening, Santorum has a rally scheduled at 5 p.m. for tea party activists at 5 p.m. in Allen at the Courtyard by Marriott, east of U.S. 75 on Stacy Road. He will be in Plano at 7 p.m. at Fairview Farms (Corral Barn – 3314 North Central Expressway #100 at U.S. 75, just north of Parker Road).
SANTORUM ON MARRIAGE
In response to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling on Proposition 8 – the 2008 ballot initiative codifying the traditional definition of marriage as one-man and one-woman, Santorum said: “The decision by the 9th Circuit is another in a long line of radical activist rulings by this rogue circuit – and it is precisely why I have called for that circuit to be abolished and split up. Marriage is defined and has always been defined as ‘one man and one woman.’ We simply cannot allow 50 different definitions of marriage.
“The people of California spoke clearly at the ballot box that they wanted marriage defined in the traditional manner of one man and one woman. And for a court, any court, to usurp the power and will of the people in this manner on an issue this fundamental to the foundation of our society is wrong.
“We need to have a Judicial Branch that acts within its Constitutional bounds. We need to have a President that is willing to stand up to the Judiciary. We need to have a President who will fight to protect marriage once and for all with a federal marriage amendment. I am committed to being that President.”
On Thursday, Craig James of Celina endorsed Santorum. James is running for U.S. Senate.
Colorado — Rick Santorum 40.3 percent, Mitt Romney 34.9, Newt Gingrich 12.8, Ron Paul 11.8.
Minnesota –– Santorum 45.0, Paul 27.1, Romney 16.9, Gingrich 10.8.
Missouri –– Santorum 55.2, Romney 25.3, Paul 12.2.
DFW.CBSlocal.com interview video
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