Rick Santorum says 3-year-old daughter recovering, and he's back to campaigning

Rick Santorum said that his 3-year-old daughter has now 'turned a corner' after being diagnosed with pneumonia. Santorum is schedule to speak in Missouri and Minnesota Monday. 

By , Associated Press

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    Elizabeth Santorum, 20-year-old daughter of Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, campaigns for her father in Sarasota, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012.
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Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said Sunday his daughter Bella is recovering from pneumonia after a rough 36 hours.

Santorum spoke with Florida supporters by telephone from 3-year-old Bella's hospital room and said doctors hope she can go home in the next few days.

The former Pennsylvania senator also said, "We're going to get out on the campaign trail later tomorrow [Monday] ... heading out to the Midwest, and start campaigning in the next states as we move this campaign forward."

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Santorum scheduled a speech Monday in Missouri and another event in southwest Minnesota — two states with early February contests. He then planned to head to Colorado and Nevada for events Tuesday.

Santorum is scheduled for an afternoon appearance at St. Charles Community College in Cottleville, Mo., followed by an evening event in southwestern Minnesota. His event at a Pizza Ranch in Luverne, Minn., would make him the first 2012 presidential candidate to campaign in the state this year.

Minnesota holds its precinct caucuses next week, but the results of a preference poll are nonbinding. Texas Rep. Ron Paul is airing TV ads in the state. Santorum and Paul have all but conceded Florida, where Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are competing hard for a win Tuesday.

"I feel very, very good about where we are and where the campaign is going," the candidate said.

But during the call with Florida voters, Santorum  opened with remarks about his daughter. "She without a doubt has turned the corner," he said. But he cautioned she "isn't out of the woods yet."

Santorum called his daughter's improvement a "miraculous turnaround" after an unexpected detour from the campaign just days before Tuesday's Florida primary.

Santorum got to his home in Virginia around midnight Friday for a quick break to do his taxes, but found his daughter "was not doing well."

"I was up with her a lot of the night," he said. "By the end of the day, it was really, really clear she was struggling."

Saturday evening, Santorum aides announced Bella had been admitted to the hospital and they canceled his morning interview with NBC's "Meet the Press" and church services in Miami. His aides later canceled his trip to Florida and instead sent his 20-year-old daughter to campaign for him.

Santorum described the situation as a "very, very tough night last night" but said by late Sunday Bella was "alert and back to her own beautiful, happy girl."

"It's been a very hectic 36 hours," Santorum said. "Life in the Santorum family has dramatically improved since the late afternoon."

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