Rick Santorum

Some of the morning-after analyses of what Rick Santorum's exit from the Republican field means for the 2012 presidential campaign:

Updated at 2:23 pm: Rick Santorum's daughter, Bella, is expected to be released from the hospital by Monday evening given the improvement in her condition, said Alice Stewart, spokeswoman for the former senator's campaign.

Assuming her release goes as planned and Santorum, who took a break from his campaign to tend to his daughter and for the Easter holiday, returns to the trail, that would clear the way for the Romney campaign to resume its negative advertising against Santorum.

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Much of the Republican political establishment, many GOP voters and political analysts were telling Rick Santorum that the time had come for him to end his quest for his party's presidential nomination even before Tuesday when he failed to win any of three primaries.

Those calls had only increased by Wednesday as Santorum fell further behind Romney in the delegate count.

After going 0-for-3 in Tuesday's presidential primaries, a defiant Rick Santorum dismissed calls to drop out and predicted he'll win the next contest in his home state of Pennsylvania on April 24.

He'll have to — and not because it would put the former Pennsylvania senator on a path to defeat front-runner Mitt Romney, who has been racking up delegates and is increasingly seen as the inevitable nominee.

A loss in Pennsylvania, where recent polls show Santorum is weakening, would "destroy the rationale for him continuing," says Pennsylvania pollster G. Terry Madonna.

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have been fighting it out in Wisconsin for the past week. And Tuesday night they'll see the results of their labors. Republicans will also cast votes Tuesday in Maryland and Washington, D.C., primaries, though the candidates have not spent much time there.

In all three contests, polls show Romney with a wide lead. Yet Santorum continues to campaign as relentlessly as ever. On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Ari Shapiro and David Welna filed reports from the trail.

Once the Republican presidential primaries entered April, leaving behind March with its run of several Southern contests, the electoral terrain was expected to start looking much better for Mitt Romney.

That seems the case Tuesday, as Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia hold the first primaries in April, with a total of 98 delegates at stake. The front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination is expected to have a very good day. Just how good remains to be seen.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum won the Kansas caucuses Saturday and thirty-three of the forty delegates that go with them.   

A daily digest of headlines from KCUR.

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At a campaign stop in Lenexa on Wednesday,  Senator Rick Santorum said calls for Newt Gingrich to leave the race were not coming from him, and if they generated from his campaign, he didn't endorse them. 

A daily digest of headlines from KCUR.

Pity the poor news junkie, waiting bleary-eyed at the witching hour, wondering how to feel about the latest events in the Republican nominating contest.

One news source — let's say it's a cable news operation — says the latest round of GOP presidential preference contests is a huge boost to the flagging fortunes of Rick Santorum, the winner of the night's trifecta. The cable outlets all air tape of Santorum's triumphant victory speech again and again. He surely looks like a winner.