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Rick Santorum's wife: I ask "Holy Spirit to speak through him"

Rick Santorum and his wife Karen Santorum follow a bagpiper while greeting people outside the Hilton Coliseum.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Karen Santorum, the wife of Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, told the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) on Tuesday that she prays for "the Holy Spirit to speak through" her husband when he is out on the campaign trail.

"For me so much of it is spiritual," Karen Santorum told CBN News' David Brody. "...When you're aware of our Lord and His presence in your life everyday, when you're moving through the crowds, when you're giving speeches and me as Rick's wife, I'm watching him, and the whole time he's speaking so often, I'm just there praying for him, asking the Holy Spirit to speak through him. And I feel like God's hand of protection is upon us."

Santorum, a Catholic and staunch social conservative who strongly opposes same-sex marriage and abortion rights, does well with strongly religious voters: He won the support of 33 percent of white evangelicals and born again Christians in the Iowa caucuses, allowing him to come within just a few votes of victory. In the South Carolina GOP primary in 2008, 60 percent of voters identified as evangelical.

Santorum is stressing his faith in advance of January 21 South Carolina primary; he and his wife also sat down for an interview with People Magazine for an issue hitting newsstands Friday. The story describes Santorum as "devout" and discusses how the couple "leaned on their faith to weather the death of an infant son in 1996."

Santorum told the magazine that "We lean on a lot of Bible passages, depending on the occasion," adding that his favorite piece of Scripture is: "Put on the whole armor of God."

The former Pennsylvania senator is battling Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich in the Palmetto State in an effort to consolidate the support of conservatives who are opposed to Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee. Romney, a Mormon, has had trouble attracting the support of evangelical and social conservative voters.

On Friday, prominent leaders in the evangelical movement are meeting in Texas to see if they can line up behind an anti-Romney candidate.

Full CBS News coverage: Rick Santorum