The New York Times:
Mitt Romney’s attempt to pull off a victory in Rick Santorum’s home state of Pennsylvania was all set to go into overdrive Monday with attack ads highlighting how voters there soundly rejected him in his 2006 Senate race.
But the aggressive tactics that have served Mr. Romney so well in other states faced an unexpected complication: the emergency hospitalization of Mr. Santorum’s disabled daughter Bella, which prompted an outpouring of public sympathy.
The Romney camp abruptly pulled the ads on Monday morning. Bella, 3, who was born with a rare chromosomal disorder, was expected to return home soon to Virginia from the hospital, the Santorum campaign said. Her medical struggles, which in some ways have become the emotional centerpiece of Mr. Santorum’s race, have the potential to complicate Mr. Romney’s effort to quickly end the Republican nominating fight.
(...) The ad the Romney campaign pulled, after it ran at least 11 times in the Philadelphia media market, according to Kantar Media’s campaign media analysis group, bluntly addressed Pennsylvania voters: “We fired him as senator. Why promote him to president?”
The Romney campaign substituted a positive ad “out of deference” to Mr. Santorum, a spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, said.
Once Bella is released from the hospital, the Romney campaign is expected to put the anti-Santorum ad back into its rotation, although that could take a day or two. The Romney campaign has planned a $2.9 million barrage of advertising over the next two weeks in Pennsylvania, which Mr. Santorum has called a must-win contest, although polls show him losing ground.
Jim Roddey, chairman of the Republican Committee of Allegheny County, who has endorsed Mr. Romney, said the campaign probably would conduct polling to see whether Bella’s hospitalization remained a sensitive issue. But, he said, sympathy for Bella would probably not bring Mr. Santorum any new votes, nor would it deter the Romney camp from full-throated attacks on Mr. Santorum.
“He’s still not talking about the kinds of things most people are most concerned about, jobs and the economy.”