Hoping Minnesotans will get his lagging campaign back on track, GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum told a Twin Cities church Sunday that God is directing his campaign.

“I am trying to walk the path that Christ has laid out for me,” Santorum told hundreds of congregants at Grace Church, a nondenominational megachurch in Eden Prairie. “I am still walking, walking the path. I will leave it up to him to see how it turns out.”

Wearing a dark gray suit and a red tie, the former Pennsylvania senator spoke for 15 minutes in a sit-down question-and-answer period with the head pastor. The talk had little political tone, dealing almost exclusively with his faith and belief that “God has specifically blessed this country.”

Santorum was buoyed by a new poll showing him with a slight lead in the state just two days before Minnesota’s caucuses. Minnesota Republicans could give Santorum his best chance to win a state since eking out the narrowest of wins in the Iowa caucus last month.

Public Policy Polling released a poll Sunday showing Santorum with 29 percent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 27 percent, 22 percent for former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and 19 percent for Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

The poll showed the state continues to be wide open and each candidate has a viable path to victory. Romney easily won the state's GOP caucus in 2008, but it is far from clear he can repeat that performance.

Santorum told the crowd that God became a central part of his life after he got to Washington, D.C., seven years ago.

Asked what role Jesus plays in his life, Santorum replied: “He’s my savior, he is my God. He is my role model.”

Santorum asked people to pray for the families of politicians, whom he called “warriors.” He said politicians are prepared for the hard-knocks that come with national politics, but often their families lack the same armor.

He said his family has weathered sometimes painful criticism for how they handled the death of a newborn son, who died two hours after birth.

Santorum said he and his wife, Karen, held the baby until he died.

Rather than sending the baby to a mortuary, they took him home so the family could cuddle with him before a private funeral service.

Some criticized it as “freakish or grotesque,” Santorum said.

But he insisted it felt to his family to be the right thing to do. “We wanted to introduce him to our family.”

After speaking, Santorum sat among congregants the rest of the service and then shook hands with well-wishers before departing for northern Minnesota.

Santorum was scheduled to spend the afternoon in Bemidji, where his trademark sweater-vests are made. He is scheduled to return to the Twin Cities in the evening.
 

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Poll: Santorum, Romney lead in Minnesota but Gingrich, Paul close behind

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