This is an historic moment. It's always an honor to be in this beautiful town of Gettysburg. It's such a historic town. First and foremost, I just want to thank everybody for the outpouring of prayers over the past weekend. We had a difficult weekend. Good Friday was a little bit of a passion for us, a passion play for us with our daughter Bella who is unfortunately getting very sick.
We ended up in the hospital all weekend. I'm here to report to start out things that she is a fighter and she is doing exceptionally well and is back with us and the family. We are looking forward to spending a lot of great time with her.
But it did pause us to think. The role that we have as parents in her life and with the rest of our family, and that was this was a time for prayer and thought over this past weekend, just like it was frankly when we decided to get into this race.
Karen and I and the kids sat at the kitchen table and talked about our hopes and fears and our concerns.
We were very concerned about our role as being the best parents we
possibly could to our children and making sure that they had a country where the American Dream was still possible.
And I think a lot of concerns that we had that Karen and I had in particular for our family was that with what was going on in Washington, D.C., and all of the problems that you heard me talk about on the campaign trail, that American Dream was not just slipping from the hands of average Americans but for all Americans. That dream was slipping away.
And that we had to as good parents to go out and do what we could to take on that responsibility for our children and for children across the country.
And so we started out almost a year ago now in Somerset, Pa., and I told, well my story, our story, of our family. Of my grandfather who came to this country and worked in the coal mines.
Throughout the course of this campaign, I talked about my stories and tories of our families.
But after a while it became less about my stories and more about your stories.
Is one such story was a guy named Chuck who had a pickup truck and joined our team and drove us around in his Dodge Ram pickup truck for months on end and did so as a volunteer because he believed.
He believed that we provided the best opportunity to turn this country around.
And I met a lot of folks in Iowa that I'll never forget.
Folks like Sam Clovis who is a talk-show host.
I'll never forget this fighter pilot. A man of very strong convictions, welling up and tearing up about what's happening with our country, particularly with national security.
And laying out not a thee-legged stool of Ronald Reagan but a four-legged
tool with the Constitution being one of those vitally important legs that we had forgotten about.
Wendy Jensen, our best volunteer, 5,000 phone calls. A few days before the primary, because she was someone dealing with a disability, dealing with an illness, she passed away shortly before the Iowa caucus.
But she was someone that I remembered her passion for the rest of us. Those who are on the margins of society as many would have looked at her.
Folks even today, because of our daughter, Bella, who came to our rallies, one after another in wheelchairs, bringing their special-needs children and
holding signs up of children saying, “I'm for Bella's dad.”
Just a beautiful idea again of not my story but their stories, what really fueled our campaign and gave us the energy at a time when over and over
again, we were told forget it, you can't win.
We were winning.
We were winning in a very different way because we were touching hearts and raising issues that people didn’t want raised.
Our best phone call after Iowa was a young man who came to our first
event in Oklahoma.
A young man in a wheelchair named Nathaniel, who had spina bifida, who wanted someone to speak about people who are overlooked by society or
don't seem to be as valuable as others in society.
Folks like the Duggars who traveled around with us in their bus and gave
us their time and energy because again they believed in the basic importance of having strong families. As part of a strong country.
We can't have a strong economy without strong families and a strong moral fiber that makes us the moral enterprise that is America.
Even fun things like the sweater vest. Amazing thing, that sweater vest.
It happened on a night I was doing an event for Mike Huckabee in Des Moines.
Everybody showed up in suits and ties and I showed up in a sweater vest.
Turned out I gave a pretty good speech that night. All of a sudden the Twitterverse went wild saying it must be the sweater vest.
Then it became the official wardrobe of the Santorum campaign.
And the cool thing was we -- obviously we have a big part of our campaign is manufacturing base of the economy -- so we, of course, sourced that sweater vest in a company that was making them here in the United States.
We ended up going to that little company in Minnesota. Got a chance to see that little plant that had been around for almost 100 years. It turned out, we're the best customer that they have ever had in their entire history.
It's been a wonderful story after story of people who have come forward.
Two girls who put together a song in Tulsa, Okla., called “Game on.”
Over a million hits on YouTube of that catchy little tune that they were inspired to give.
And even today, we have folks working for us in Texas to make it a winner -take-all primary because they want to make sure that we have the best
opportunity for Texas and for conservatives to have a voice throughout the course of this primary.
It's been inspiring to me. The story after story we've been engaged with.
It turns out it really wasn't my voice I was out communicating.
It was your voice. The voice that you gave me from the stories and experiences that I had. People say: How did this happen? How were we able to come from nowhere? I was smart enough to figure out that if I understood and felt at a very deep level what you were experiencing across America and tried to be a witness of that, and tried to be an interpreter of that, that your voice could be heard and miracles could happen and so it did.
Miracle after miracle, this race was as improbable as any race you'll ever see for president. I want to thank God for that and thank all of you across this country for what you've given.
Hopefully not just me and our family, but you've given a voice to those who are -- in many cases -- to those who are voiceless.
We tried to be a witness not just for your story or voice, but provide a positive and hopeful vision, not a negative campaign.
We painted a hopeful, positive vision for our country. Not just economically, but reflecting the hopes of Americans, not just the fears of
What we could do to counter violent, radical islam and particular the scourge of Iran. How we could take on the problems of a sluggish economy and a Washington that has grown so big.
We put forth concrete solid plans that many of which came from the people that I had an opportunity to interact with throughout the course and time
of this campaign.
We did focus a lot on the families and dignity of moral life that is America. I know joe Klein will be upset about this, but one of my favorite articles was one that he wrote, where his headline was “Rick Santorum's inconvenient truths.”
We talked about things that maybe we should talk about more but they get shoved say aside in the public discourse. We carried around our copy of
It was the Constitution that got the tea party folks excited legitimately so
about the operator's manual being discarded by those in Washington.
What I tried to bring to the battle was what Abraham Lincoln brought to this battle field back in 1863 on November 19 when he talked about this country being dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
He was quoting the Declaration of Independence, conceived in that declaration. We will never be a country who could go forward as a great and powerful country again unless we remember who we are and what
makes us Americans.
That's what our campaign was about, about what made us Americans. how we built this country from the bottom up and how we must believe in ourselves and our ability to go forward and do the same thing.
Against all odds, we won 11 states. Millions of voters. Millions of votes. We won more counties than anyone else in this race, combined.
What we found was that while we found that support, I found a deeper love for this country. Every state I traveled to, it was a love affair for me going from state to state and seeing the difference, but seeing the
wonderful, wonderful people of this country who care deeply about where this country is going, who are feeling left behind and in some respects feeling hopeless and want to do something.
Ladies and gentlemen, we made a decision to get into this race at our kisthen table, against all the odds. And we made a decision over the weekend that while this presidential race for us is over for me and we will suspend our campaign effective today, we are not done fighting.
We are going to continue to fight for those voices.
We're going to continue to fight for the Americans who stood up and gave us that air under our wings that allowed us to accomplish things that no
political expert would have ever expected.
There's a lot of greatness in this country and we just need leaders who believe in who are willing to give voice to that, who are willing to
raise us up rather than provide for us and do for us what we can better do ourselves.
That's the message that came to me and that’s one that I feel very, very good about continuing to talk to Americans about. I walked out after the
Iowa caucus victory and I said game on. I know a lot of folks are going to write, maybe those even at the White House, game over. But this game is a long, long way from over. We're going to continue to fight to make
sure we defeat President Barack Obama, that we win the House back and that we take the United States Senate and we stand for the values that make us Americans, that make us the greatest country in the history of the world, that shining city on the hill, to be a beacon for everybody for freedom around the world.
Thank you all very much. God bless you.
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