MITT ROMNEY's presidential campaign asked TV stations across Pennsylvania to pull an attack ad against rival Rick Santorum that was scheduled to begin running Monday, in light of the serious illness of Santorum's 3-year-old daughter.

"We have done this out of deference to Sen. Santorum's decision to suspend his campaign for personal reasons," said Andrea Saul, press secretary for the Romney campaign.

Santorum was planning private campaign meetings Monday but canceled them because his daughter Bella, who has the genetic disorder Trisomy 18, is hospitalized. He's scheduled to begin active campaigning in his home state Tuesday, ahead of the April 24 Pennsylvania GOP primary.

The Romney ad took aim at Santorum's spending record while he was a U.S. senator from Pennsylvania and noted his blowout loss in 2006, when he was seeking a third term. Romney's campaign trafficked the ad on Thursday as part of a planned $2.9 million buy of airtime in the state over two weeks.

Because of station closings due to the holiday weekend, Monday morning was the earliest the campaign was able to contact them to pull the attack spot. The Romney campaign has shipped a positive spot, "Conservative Record," to take its place.

- Thomas Fitzgerald,

Inquirer staff writer