April 13th, 2012
04:30 PM ET
3 years ago

Santorum: Daughter, Bella, now lifetime NRA member

(CNN) – Rick Santorum unveiled some new details about his three-year-old daughter, Bella, while speaking at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting in St. Louis on Friday.

"(My wife) Karen and I are life members of the NRA, and we wanted to announce today that…now Bella is a life member of the NRA, too," Santorum said. "I hope it is a long life."

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Santorum suspended his GOP presidential bid on Tuesday after spending the weekend in the hospital with Bella, who suffers from a serious chromosomal condition that interferes with development. Half of patients born with the condition, Trisomy 18, do not survive past the first week of life, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The former Pennsylvania senator cited family reasons as a major factor for leaving the race Tuesday, but has since pointed to finances and political strategy, as well.

Appealing to his audience Friday, Santorum also touched on other members of his family who share a passion for the Second Amendment.

"When it comes to gun rights advocates I have to say I don't hold a candle to my wife," Santorum said. "I am hunter and I am a gun owner, but she owns way more guns than I do."

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Filed under: 2012 • NRA • Rick Santorum
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    I think Santorum is a wonderfully supportive father for his kids: However I have to say that purchasing a lifetime membership in the NRA for a critically-ill child is not a constructive gesture or activity for that child. Take her to Disney in the spirit of the Make-a-Wish Foundation: this is frankly a deliberate attempt at pandering using a developmentally disabled child. Its disappointing, to say the least.

    April 13, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  2. Whatever

    Oh how sweet... and insane at same time!!! You spent how much for that membership? Still won't get you the nomination in 2016 or 2020 or 2024... HA!!!!!

    April 13, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. sgurdog

    Talk about kissing special interest patootie. Bow down to the gun god!

    April 13, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  4. SUBS 4 VOTES

    "I hope it is a long life."
    ---------------
    I hope so too Ayatollah. But when handguns can fall into the hands of people like Jared Loughner, Seung-Hui Cho & George Zimmerman, you can hope all you want. BULLETS DON'T HAVE NAMES!

    April 13, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. FRANK - LAS VEGAS

    What an idiot! Did Bella choose to join the IRA? I think not. And it's not that I'm against the IRA, I'm not, I'm a member. He just thinks that people will remember in 2016, well all that they will remember is that you are an idiot little Ricky.

    April 13, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. once upon a horse

    I wish her a long life too and I also wish that when she grows up she'll be able to make her own decisions and perhaps she'll rethink that NRA membership.

    April 13, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. Taylor

    Teaching his child about GUNS.....what a ? He is a good father, but come one now. Its not about Bella is about the all mighty dollar.......

    April 13, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. FED up

    Santorum just wanted to save himself of the embarrassment of facing his loss of the Missouri Caucus and the exposure of his campaign having tried to control the caucus there by having the county chairs railroad Roberts rules of order. In reality Ron Paul swept the Missouri Caucus and will be sending 52 delegates to the national convention in favor of Dr. Paul. Obama and Romney are both spending vast amounts of money to distract the American people away from the facts about this election. Don't belive me? Research it yourself.

    April 13, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    What a freekin' idiot Bella's dad is.

    April 13, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  10. PJ/tx

    Did they buy memberships for all seven kids, or just little Bella? The answer to that question would be
    interesting and revealing.

    April 13, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  11. GI Joe

    Give her a loaded gun to prove it - blockhead JERK

    April 13, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. Ted van Tol

    Is this real? A Christian who makes his disabled 3 years old child a ARN member?
    What an un Christian thing to do. Can you imagine Jezus Christ would be a member?
    Of course not! How sad this is happening in 2012 in the USA.

    Ted van Tol The Netherlands

    April 13, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  13. Sal

    And you call him a GOOD father? 

    April 13, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  14. Squigman

    What kind of message is this? Paranoid is a good thing? Extreme response, regardless of situation is normal? That people need to revert back to primitive ways, to advance civilization? What a pile.

    April 13, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  15. Curt

    Well thats really something to be proud of !!! I'd really want my 3 yr. old daughter to be a member of the NRA.

    April 13, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  16. Mike

    And this man calls himself a religious man? And he is proud of giving his 3 year old daughter a membership in the most unpatriotic organization in the country? Yes unpatriotic. The NRA members don't give a darn about America as long as they can buy their guns so they can kill animals and "protect" their trailer homes.

    April 13, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  17. NotFooledByDistractions

    "Daughter, Bella, now lifetime NRA member"

    How absolutely pathetic.

    April 13, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  18. kayla

    what a fool, what a loser, what the hell

    April 13, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  19. B

    Isn’t it remarkable how Guns and Christian Religion seem to go hand in hand..Wonder how Christ would feel about that?

    Thou shall not kill and all of that..

    April 13, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  20. Sal

    The republican party is morally corrupt, along with those that vote for them! 

    April 13, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  21. Marie MD

    Why is sanatorium still in the news? Has he ever spoken about how his wife was shaked up with an abortion doctor?
    Are the other stepford children also members of the worst lobbying group in America?
    I agree with Mike. Those double wide with all that crap in them have to be protected from . . . . can't think of anyone who would want anything inside. Oh well, oops!

    April 13, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  22. EBW

    Really? I am sure that is exactly what his young, sick daughter wanted? Instead of kissing the NRA's behind, why not donate to a group that helps sick or hungry children? Just total insanity!

    April 13, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  23. Gurgyl

    Is that kkk? Idiots.

    April 13, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  24. thomas

    Rick Santorum's three-year-old daughter, Bella is Ill and most likely will not live a full life.

    It's very sad that a Father would pimp his child for the validation of the gun lobby.

    I am a Father of a wonderful child . My biggest fear for her welfare is Men such as Rick Santorum who exploit commonsense to feed there selfish political egos.

    How many children were acsdently shoot or killed today in the land of handguns ?

    April 13, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  25. Bob

    I thought Santorum had the "best position on dogs". I thought he was "going to come from behind" but now it looks like he is just "going to pull out".

    April 13, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
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