20 things about Rick Santorum
1. Richard John Santorum was born in Winchester, Va., May 10, 1958, the middle of three children.
2. His parents met while working for the Veterans Administration; his father, Aldo, an Italian immigrant, was a psychologist, and his mother, Kay, was a nurse.
3. In high school, Santorum played basketball but was a second teamer. What he lacked in athletic prowess he compensated for with heart.
4. His high school nickname was Rooster. He always had a few errant hairs on the back of his head that refused to stay down, and he was dogged and determined like a rooster and never backed down.
5. As a junior at Pennsylvania State University, to meet a requirement for a political science course, he volunteered for Republican Sen. John Heinz's campaign.
6. Santorum was a member of the Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity at Penn State and currently holds memberships in the Italian Heritage Society and the Italian Sons and Daughters of America.
7. As an associate attorney for the Pittsburgh-based blue-chip law firm, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, he represented the World Wrestling Federation, arguing that pro wrestling was entertainment, and not a sport, and, as such, should be exempted from federal steroid regulations.
8. He met his wife, Karen Garver Santorum, while trying to recruit her for a summer internship with Kirkpatrick & Lockhart; at the time, she was a law student at the University of Pittsburgh.
9. A Pittsburgh native from a large Irish-Catholic family, Karen Santorum is a former neonatal intensive care nurse and has a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
10. As a nursing student at Duquesne University, Karen Santorum lived with Tom Allen, an ob-gyn who had in fact delivered her, and had cofounded Pittsburgh's first abortion clinic.
11. Rick Santorum won his first congressional election in 1990 against 14-year incumbent Rep. Doug Walgren, a Democrat who was dinged by his constituents for not spending enough time in the district.
12. Santorum was considered to be such a long shot that year that the Republican National Committee refused to make even a token donation to his campaign.
13. As a freshman representative, Santorum was one of the "Gang of Seven" that worked to expose congressional corruption by outing the guilty parties in the House banking scandal.
14. An animal lover, Santorum has fought against puppy mills, sponsoring or cosponsoring three separate bills; the Human Society and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have lauded him for his efforts.
15. His proudest achievement is as a husband and father. The Santorums are the parents of seven children; son Gabriel Michael, born with a defect, died within two hours of his birth.
16. Karen Santorum's book, Letters to Gabriel: The True Story of Gabriel Michael Santorum, is a compilation of letters she wrote daily to her unborn son. Rick Santorum authored It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good.
17. Recipients of the John Paul II Award, Rick and Karen Santorum were recognized by the Institute for Psychological Sciences for "championing women and unborn children."
18. In November 2004, the Santorums were invested as knight and dame of Magistral Grace of the Knights of Malta in a ceremony at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.
19. Rick Santorum is an avid tennis player and a member of the Republican congressional baseball team. He also manages a fantasy baseball team.
20. Santorum is the youngest member of the Republican leadership and the first Pennsylvanian to hold such a prominent position since the 1970s.