Battle of the Broods: Romney's Clan vs. Santorum's Seven

Historically it has not been unusual for presidents to have six or more children, but in the past two decades, one or two presidential kids has been the norm. But if one of the top two finishers in the Iowa caucuses wins the White House, that will change.

Both former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum have led their large broods across the country over the past 12 months -– Romney with five boys and Santorum with seven children.

Candidates with worse finishes in Iowa -– like Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman –- also have large families.

Earlier ABC Newsasked the question, does a bigger family come with a big advantage for candidates? Read on to find out about how Romney and Santorum's clans have helped out on the campaign trail.

PHOTO: Tagg Romney looks on at the Hotel Fort Des Moines on the night of the Iowa Caucuses Jan. 3, 2012 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Tagg Romney looks on at the Hotel Fort Des Moines on the night of the Iowa Caucuses Jan. 3, 2012 in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Eldest

In both the 2008 election and this election season, Tagg Romney, 41, has provided color for the Romney campaign without losing its wholesome frame. Just this week, he revealed the Romney family tradition for watching the Iowa caucuses: the seven of them enjoy chocolate milkshakes.

PHOTO: Josh Romney looks on during a town hall meeting at Diamond V South Plant, Dec. 9, 2011 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Josh Romney looks on during a town hall meeting at Diamond V South Plant, Dec. 9, 2011 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The Class Clown

Middle child Josh Romney, 40, has a Twitter account with a sometimes humorous take on the presidential race. In addition to solemn side notes on his father's campaign, it includes wit and sarcasm in the vein of the @jon2012girls. On Monday he tweeted a photo of himself with his father and Sen. John Thune, captioned, "I'm the ugly one in the middle." Another snarky comment came following an event he held for young professionals in D.C. where Occupy Wall Street protesters appeared: "The OWS chant at my event last night: 'Great hair doesn't mean you care.' Slam."

PHOTO: Ben Romney is seen in a family photo provided by Romney for President, Inc.
Jon Moe/AP Photo
Ben Romney is seen in a family photo provided by Romney for President, Inc.
The Missing Romney

On a recent trip through New Hampshire, four of the Romney brothers spoke with reporters and mingled with seniors at a retirement home, but one was missing. Ben Romney, 33, is more out of the picture than his older brothers. University of Utah's School of Medicine lists him as one of their Radiology Residents with a bio that says he enjoys "family, skiing, sports, [and] music."

PHOTO: From left are son Craig Romney and his wife Mary; Mitt with wife Ann; son Ben Romney and his wife Andelynne; and son Tagg Romney with wife Jenn. The Romney family gathered for a photo op, Nov. 25, 2007 in Newport, N.H.
Elise Amendola/AP Photo
Boys Will Be Boys

Not all the publicity the Romney boys have brought to their father's campaign has been good. A glaring spotlight fell on Tagg in November when liberal blog Think Progress accused father and son of being associated with a company under scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission for being "a massive Ponzi scheme." The Romneys dismissed these accusations, but Think Progress did not back down.

Matt Romney, 36, brought some negative attention to his father's campaign when he joked that Mitt Romney would release his tax returns when the president released his college grades and birth certificate. His older brother rushed in to say this sentiment did not come from their father, and Matt later recanted in a tweet saying, "I repeated a dumb joke. My bad."

It's one of only two tweets the account has released.

Last campaign cycle, the Romney boys were even more involved in promoting their father's story. They wrote regularly in a blog called the Five Brothers blog, but not this time around. Now they're content to stick to Twitter and the campaign trail.

PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, leaves a campaign stop with his daughter Elizabeth Santorum, Dec. 6, 2011 in Storm Lake, Iowa.
Patrick Fallon/Zuma Press
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, leaves a campaign stop with his daughter Elizabeth Santorum, Dec. 6, 2011 in Storm Lake, Iowa.
Santorum's Secret Weapon

While the Romney boys have the advantage of age, Rick Santorum's 20-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, has shown maturity beyond her years on the campaign trail. She acts as Santorum's part-time staffer, part-time caretaker, encouraging him to sleep regularly and maintain a healthy diet.

Unlike other candidates, Santorum does not have his wife on trail with him, so Elizabeth takes over many of those duties. She took the fall semester off from the University of Dallas to help out with her father's campaign and had not yet decided whether to take off the spring, too, but it seems likely she will in light of her father's surge.

On Twitter, she has been less candid than other candidates' progeny, but she maintains regular tweets and retweets and works to promote the "@FearRicksVest" parody account that claims to tweet from the perspective of Santorum's now famous sweater vest. In an interview with the Huffington Post released Monday, Elizabeth Santorum defended her father's stance on gay marriage, even going so far as to say she has gay friends who support her father. This remark wrought ire from liberal columnist Dan Savage.

PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, second from left, takes a hay ride with his wife Karen, left, his daughter Sarah Maria, his son Daniel, respectively third and forth form left, and other patrons in Candia, N.H., Nov. 26, 2011.
Winslow Townson/AP Photo
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, second from left, takes a hay ride with his wife Karen, left, his daughter Sarah Maria, his son Daniel, respectively third and forth form left, and other patrons in Candia, N.H., Nov. 26, 2011.
Strength in Numbers

Santorum also has the advantage of having so many children. With seven –- ranging in age from 3 to 20 -– he beats Mitt Romney by two and ties with Jon Huntsman. In response to a recent accusation that he was against the second amendment, Santorum said his whole family -– except his 3 year old -– were NRA members.

PHOTO: Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum holds his daughter Isabella before announcing he is entering the Republican presidential race, June 6, 2011 in Somerset, Pa.
Gene J. Puskar/AP Photo
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum holds his daughter Isabella before announcing he is entering the Republican presidential race, June 6, 2011 in Somerset, Pa.
Santorum's Kid Controversy

Santorum has faced criticism for running for president despite having a very sick child. His youngest daughter, Bella, suffers from Trisomy 18. It's a rare genetic condition and 50 percent of infants who have it die before they reach more than one week old, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Santorum spoke to ABC News about Bella, who is now 3, in November.

"It's stressful because we are dealing with a little girl who a cold can kill her … we are always faced with a few days that are really touch and go, and you want to be there not just to physically help, but emotionally because it is a very stressful thing," Santorum said. "It is certainly hard to keep focused on what you are doing here when things back home are not as good as you'd like them to be."

During his speech after the Iowa Caucus this week, Santorum indicated Bella was part of what motivated him to continue running.

VIDEO: @Jon2012Girls Talk Twitter, Politics & Dad
ABCNEWS.com
Kids, Kids and More Kids

But of course, the Iowa frontrunners aren't the only candidates with large families. Ron Paul, who placed third in the Iowa Caucus, has just as many children as Romney and two more grandchildren. His middle child, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, has accompanied him on the trail. In March, Rand said he would have thrown his hat in the ring had his father not chosen to run for president in 2012.

Jon Huntsman has seven children spanning in age from five to 26. His two youngest -– Gracie Mei, 12, adopted from China, and Asha Bharati, 5, adopted from India –- travel with him on the campaign trail.

His oldest daughters -- Mary Ann, 26, Abby, 25, and Libby, 23 -– also accompany him to events and have gained Huntsman some recognition from their Twitter account - @jon2012girls. The tweets are sometimes sweet and often snarky. One voter in New Hampshire even told Huntsman he'd won their vote "'because I love your girls,'" according to WMUR. Though they haven't launched him to Romney-like poll numbers, the Huntsman brood has certainly been a boon to his campaign.

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