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Reality TV family stumps for Santorum

Rick Santorum won an endorsement this week from a family of reality TV stars best known for their 19 kids, several of whom joined the candidate at events in Iowa. 

Santorum said Tuesday that he was caught by surprise by having the Duggars join him on the campaign trail. 

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Jim Bob Duggar, the patriarch of the Duggar clan from TLC's series "19 Kids and Counting," stumped for Santorum at a campaign stop in Boone, Iowa, on Monday, according to multiple reports. About half the family hit the trail in the Hawkeye State this week, and brought what Santorum described as a "huge bus."

"In fact, a couple nights ago I pulled into the Hilton Garden Inn where we're staying, and there's this huge bus that says, 'Join the fight "Rick Santorum for president," ' " Santorum said on Fox News. "I looked over at my staff and said, 'Who? We didn't pay for that! I don't have any money for this! I hope you didn't go out and get a bus.' Because the only bus I could afford is a Greyhound at this point. Then we went inside and found out it was the Duggars. I was relieved we weren't spending money on a bus. But we're very glad they did."

The Duggars are known as evangelical and pro-family, and Jim Bob Duggar promoted Santorum to those important Iowa voting blocs.

"I'm asking families, Christians all over America, to get behind Rick Santorum for the next president of the United States," Duggar said in Boone, according to multiple reports.

"Rick Santorum is a pro-life, Christian conservative with the family values and common-sense business perspective that we need to get our nation back on track, to create jobs and to stand for what is right!" Duggar mom Michelle said in a statement, according to multiple reports. Michelle Duggar is reportedly recording an automated campaign call for Santorum.

The Iowa caucuses, the first contest in the GOP primary fight, is Tuesday. Santorum is enjoying a surge in polling in the state, with surveys in the past week placing him third, a jump from the single digits Santorum earned over the past few months.