Rick Santorum’s political life

A look at the Pennsylvania politician — his career on Capitol Hill and his White House aspirations.

Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at a news conference supporting Social Security, on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Dec. 2, 1998. Santorum began his political career as a member of the House of Representatives, serving Pennsylvania from 1991- 1995. In 1995, ran and won a seat in the Senate where he served until 2007.

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Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at a rally on the east front steps of the U.S. Capitol on Aug. 2, 2001, celebrating GOP accomplishments at the end of the legislative session, including the tax rebate. Santorum consistently supported lowering taxes. He voted for all of the Bush tax cuts, extensions and for the repeal of the estate tax.

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Rabbi Ronald C. Bluming leads a prayer service with Senators. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., center rear, and Arlen Specter, R-Pa., right rear, at a makeshift memorial near the crash site of United Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa., Friday Sept. 14, 2001. Santorum supported the war in Afghanistan launched in response to the Sept. 11 attacks and voted in favor of the Iraq war.

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Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, center, R-Tenn., attends a meeting with Republican leadership, Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell, left, R-Ky., and GOP conference chairman, Senator Rick Santorum, right, R-Pa., on Capitol Hill Jan. 6, 2003 in Washington. Frist was voted in as majority leader by his colleagues when former majority leader, Trent Lott, stepped down. In 2000, Santorum was elected by his peers to the position of conference chairman. He, along with John Boehner was a member of the "Gang of Seven," a group of newly elected House members who focused on cleaning up corruption. They uncovered the House banking and post office scandals.

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Saint Joseph's University faculty and staff members give Sen. Rick Santorum, center, a standing ovation after his commencement address, May 18, 2003, in Philadelphia. About 100 graduates walked out of the commencement exercises rather than see the controversial Santorum be awarded an honorary degree. Some students has urged the Jesuit university to recind his invitation after he made controversial remarks likening homosexuality to bigamy, poligamy, incest and adultery during an interview with The Associated Press on April 7, 2003. Santorum supports a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

Chris Gardner / AP

President George W. Bush signs the Partial Birth Abortion Bill on Nov. 5, 2003, surrounded by high ranking Republican Congressmen. Standing behind Bush are from L-R: Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., Sen. Orin Hatch, R-Utah, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., Sen. Rick Santorum R-Pa., Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., and Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. Santorum was a main sponsor of the bill and believes that life begins at conception. He believes there should not be exceptions for abortion even in the case of rape and would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned.

Tim Sloan / AFP

Senate GOP Conference Chairman Rick Santorum, Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Senate Budget Chairman Don Nickles, R-Okla., speak about passage of the budget resolution on March 26, 2004.

Scott J. Ferrell / Congressional Quarterly

Left to right, Pennslyvania Sen.Rick Santorum. President George W. Bush, and Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, raise their hands during a rally at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center April 19, 2004 in Pittsburgh, Pa. Bush was campaigning for himself and Specter. Santorum supported Arlen Specter over his more conservative opponenet Pat Toomey in the 2004 election. Later, Specter switched parties, becoming a Democrat in 2009 and giving them the majority in the Senate.

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Sen. Rick Santorum, with actor Dean Jones, and recording artist Pat Boone, speaks during a July 13, 2004 news conference on the Marriage Amendment Act, which defines marriage as only between one man and one woman. Santorum has repeatedly supported the Defense of Marriage Act, voting in favor each time they came up and co-sponsored the amendment proposal.

Scott J. Ferrell / Congressional Quarterly

Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., discusses the future of Social Security with a group of senior citizens at Ann's Choice retirement community on Feb. 25, 2005 in Warminster, Pa. Santorum toured his state to tout the Bush administration's plan to create personal accounts using payroll taxes.

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Senators Rick Santorum. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, answer questions during a press conference March 19, 2005 at the Capitol in Washington. Congressmen in both the House and the Senate worked toward a deal that would clear the way for Terri Schiavo to resume being fed and to keep the brain-damaged woman alive while a federal court could review the right-to-die battle being waged between her parents and husband. Santorum was a co-sponsor of legislation written by Martinez that guarantees legal protectons for incapacitated persons.

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Left to right, Senators Rick Santorum, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., walk together after attending a Senate Republican luncheon hosted by President George W. Bush in the state dining room of the White House June 21, 2005. Santorum intended to run for Senate Republican Whip in 2006, however he failed to win re-election.

Tim Sloan / AFP

Sen. Rick Santorum and his wife, Karen walk to a news conference in downtown Pittsburgh, Pa. on July 11, 2005. A hearing officer sided with Santorum in a dispute over whether a Pennsylvania school district can get back tax money it paid for Santorum's children to attend an Internet-based charter school while living in Virginia. While Santorum kept his home in Pa., his family lived most of the time in Va. while he served in Congress. His children didn't attend public school there, but instead were in enrolled in the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School and the local school district was forced to pay the bill. Santorum supports No Child Left Behind legislation and introduced amendments that would allow the teaching of creationism.

Keith Srakocic

Santorum greets Ken Heiss in Aspinwall, Pa., July 22, 2005, as he signs copies of his book, "It Takes A Family. Conservatism and the Common Good." Santorum wrote the book in response to the 1996 book by Hillary Clinton, "It takes a Village." His wife Karen, also authored a book, "Letters to Gabriel: The True Story of Gabriel Michael Santorum" which was series of letters she wrote to her son who was born prematurely and died shortly after birth. The couple have seven children.

Lisa Kyle / AP

Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito walks with Sen. Rick Santorum, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, to the senator's office on Capitol Hill Nov. 18, 2005. Alito met with senators before his confirmation hearings. Santorum voted in favor of Alito's appointment as well as that of John G. Roberts.

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Sens. John McCain, left, and Rick Santorum hold a Jan. 17, 2006 news conference to discuss lobbying reform on Capitol Hill. Santorum and McCain joined forces to push for reform as Santorum continued to cast himself as a champion of clean goverment, and McCain sought to improve his standing wtih conservative voters.

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Sen. George Allen. R-Va., and. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., before the start of a news conference about immigration legislation on Capitol Hill, May 25 2006. Santorum opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants. He supports the construction of a barrier along the U.S. - Mexico border and that English should be established as the national language of the U.S.

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Sen. Rick Santorum and House Select Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra speak during a June 21, 2006 news conference releasing declassified information regarding the recovery of chemical munitions in Iraq. According to the report, coalition forces have found about 500 weapons which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent, most of which date to before the Gulf War. "We have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, chemical weapons," said Santorum. In Sept. 2006, during an interview with the Bucks County Courier Times he compared the war in Iraq to the Lord of Rings story, "As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else. It's being drawn to Iraq and it's not being drawn to the U.S. You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don't want the Eye to come back here to the United States."

Executive Director of the American Islamic Congress Zainab Al-Suwaij, left, sits at the head table with Sen. Rick Santorum as he prepares to address a luncheon at the National Press Club July 20, 2006 in Washington, DC. Al-Suwaij was an invited guest of Santorum. Santorum said the "War on Terrorism" is not the proper name for the battle facing the United States and that it is a "world war" between the West and Islamic Fascism. Santorum said that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is trying to bring the end of the world by destroying America, Israel and other Western countries.

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Sen. Rick Santorum, left, and his opponent Democrat Bob Casey confront each other during the taping of a debate at the KDKA television studio in Pittsburgh, Oct. 12, 2006. The two bickered on everything from Santorum's residency to immigration, in their first debate in Pennsylvania. Santorum trailed Casey for months in the polls in one of the nation's most competitive Senate races.


Senator Rick Santorum, R-Pa., works two phones at once next to his brother Dan, left, during a media event at his campaign headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pa. Nov. 7, 2006.

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Rick Santorum concedes his Pennsylvania senatorial race to Democrat Bob Casey as his daughter Sarah Maria cries while standing next to her mother, Karen, on Nov. 7, 2006 in Pittsburgh. Santorum, a two-term senator, lost the election by a fairly large margin.

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Sen. Rick Santorum leaves the Senate chamber after voting against Robert Gates' nomination as Secretary of Defense, Dec. 6, 2006 in Washington, DC. Gates won confirmation 95-2 to succeed Donald Rumsfeld. In his final speech to Congress following the vote, Santorum cited the threat of "Islamic facsim' and his concerns that Gates would not sufficiently focus on Iran. The same week, his legislation, Combating Autism Act, was passed by Congress.

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Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney eats breakfast with former Senator Rick Santorum at the Pancake Pantry Feb. 4, 2008 in Nashville, Tenn. Santorum endorsed Romney in the 2008 presidential race.

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Former Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition Event on March 7, 2011 in Waukee, Iowa. Five Republicans considering a run for president in 2012 presented themselves to hundreds of activists at the event.

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Former Sen. Rick Santorum prepares to give a speech on April 28, 2011, at the National Press Club on U.S. foreign policy. On April 13, 2011, Santorum formed an exploratory committee to consider a presidential run.

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Former Senator Rick Santorum answers reporters' questions at his announcement that he is running for the Republican nomination for president on the steps of the Somerset County courthouse June 6, 2011 in Somerset, Pa. Santorum announced his intentions to run on the morning show "Good Morning America" earlier in the day.

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Santorum takes part in a pheasant hunt in Adel, Iowa, Dec. 26, 2011. Santorum supports the Second Amendment and is a lifetime member of the NRA.

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Santorum reacts to a question from the media at a campaign stop at Valley High School, Jan. 3, 2012, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Santorum surged ahead in the polls leading up to the Iowa caucus, the first test with voters in the GOP primary race.

Charlie Riedel / AP

Santorum is joined by his wife Karen as he waves to supporters at his Iowa caucus party, Jan. 3, 2012, in Johnston, Iowa. On the night of the Iowa contest, Mitt Romney was projected the winner by a mere eight votes, but on Jan. 19, the Iowa GOP declared that after certifying the results, Santorum had officially won the primary by 34 votes.

Charlie Riedel / AP

A Santorum supporter wears a pin with a photo of Bella Santorum that reads "Go Dad! Love, Bella" on Jan. 3, 2012, at the Stoney Creek Inn in Johnston, Iowa. Santorum twice suspended campaign events when Bella, who was born with a rare genetic condition called Trisomy 18, took ill.

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Santorum waits backstage before a rally on Feb. 7, 2012, in Blaine, Minn. Santorum went on to win the three nomination contests, taking Colorado and Minnesota and a nonbinding vote in Missouri. After disappointing finishes in Florida, Nevada and South Carolina, Santorum made a surprise return, sweeping all three contests, including Colorado, where Mitt Romney had been favored to win.

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Santorum gives a speech after losing the Illinois primary March 20, 2012, as his daughters, Sarah and Elizabeth, and his wife Karen watch in Gettysburg, Pa.

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Santorum greets supporters at a campaign stop March 27, 2012, in Jefferson, Wis. Santorum continued his campaign after winning Louisiana's primary and vowed to continue despite Romney's increasing lead.

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Santorum gets a hug from his wife Karen at his primary election night party April 3, 2012, in Cranberry, Pa. Santorum lost Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia to Mitt Romney. With a primary ahead in his home state of Pennsylvania, expectations were high that Santorum would continue his bid at least through April 24.

Jae C. Hong / AP

Santorum announces the end of his presidential bid at a press conference on April 10, 2012, with his family standing behind him.