Fox commentator apologizes for 'hurtful' remark on death of Santorum's son
January 2nd, 2012
08:53 PM ET
3 years ago

Fox commentator apologizes for 'hurtful' remark on death of Santorum's son

(CNN) - Fox News contributor Alan Colmes apologized Monday night for making "hurtful" comments about the events following the 1996 death of Rick Santorum's infant son.

Earlier in the day, Colmes claimed Santorum took the baby home, after living for only two hours, and "played with it for a couple of hours so his other children would know that the child was real."

His apology to the Santorum family followed a barrage of criticism on Twitter for much of the day.

"Just spoke to @ricksantorum. He and Karen graciously accepted my apology for a hurtful comment," Colmes wrote.

But Colmes' comments provoked an emotional response from the Republican presidential candidate and his wife earlier Monday.

Santorum choked up when asked to respond to the comments at a campaign event in Iowa. He described Colmes, who also hosts a show on Fox News Radio, as insensitive and gave a much different picture of the loss.

"We kept little Gabriel with us that night and we brought him home the next day," Santorum said at a campaign stop in Newton, Iowa. "We brought him home so our children could see him."

When asked to respond to the comments, Santorum's wife, Karen, began tearing up and offered to jump in to answer the question. Her daughter walked over to console her.

Santorum went on to tell the story about burying the child the following day, growing emotional as he spoke about the death and talked about Colmes' remarks.

"To some who don't recognize the dignity of all human life, who see it as a blob of tissue that should be discarded and disposed of, this is somehow weird. Recognizing the humanity of your son is somehow weird, somehow odd, and should be subject to ridicule," Santorum said.

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After the event Monday, Karen Santorum chided Colmes for making the comments, saying her son's death should be a private issue, not a campaign issue.

"I think it was very inappropriate of him to do that. I'm sad that he did that," she told CNN. "I pray he will never lose a child. He cannot begin to know the pain and the depth of the loss."

Santorum, who's surged in Iowa polls in the last week, is battling to finish in the top tier in Tuesday's caucuses.

The former senator frequently talks about his seven kids on the campaign trail. Gabriel would have been his fourth oldest child.

Also see:

Gingrich: Romney is lying

Bachmann looks ahead to South Carolina

Gingrich suggests a Tuesday win

Gingrich strives for 'great upset' in Iowa


Filed under: 2012 • Fox News • Iowa • Rick Santorum
soundoff (255 Responses)
  1. MrsTime

    I find it kind of odd (for me) to take a deceased child home for the others to "play". Again, that is me. Either way, I am very sorry for the loss of a child. I have been there.

    January 3, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  2. goodlife

    isn't colmes a liberal?

    January 3, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  3. RFB

    Fire Colmes.

    January 3, 2012 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  4. Terry Gloege

    Obviously Mr. Colmes has never heard about all the probems one encounters when dealing with the mentally challenged.

    January 3, 2012 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  5. joe

    the liberal disgust with a newborn's life is pure evil.

    January 3, 2012 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  6. Get a job Hippies

    What a suprise it was the liberal that they employ who pulls this kind of tactic. You should be ashamed alan.

    January 3, 2012 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  7. Common Sense

    I'm no fan of Santorum, but they should definitely leave this issue out of the campaign.

    January 3, 2012 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  8. angryersmell

    I felt bad for Santorum right up to the part where he twisted this into an abortion issue. Makes it almost seem like this was a softball set-up from his pals on FOX news. Is there anything these people won't politicize?

    January 3, 2012 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  9. Keith

    I didn't hear the comment Colmes made, but it wouldn't surprise me to hear him say something like that.

    January 3, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  10. Techfem50

    While I will not vote for Mr. Santorum, it is puzzling to me why anyone would bring up the lost of child during a campaign. Something should be private. This includes the candidate. Yes, we are sorry and how they decide to deal with it isn't my business.

    I want to know what they plan to do while in office and how they will do it. The other information shouldn't matter. Just tell me what you are planning. We all should be asking for that information.

    January 3, 2012 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  11. Mike

    "His apology to the Santorum family followed a barrage of criticism on Twitter for much of the day."....the apology was a the right thing to do. One hopes it came from the a heart reconsidering its position rather than a simple reaction to the expression of public sentiment.

    January 3, 2012 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  12. Fair is Fair

    I applaud the Santorums for handling this with dignity.

    January 3, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  13. ChumBucket

    I don't care what you think about Santorum, or Republicans in general, bringing their dead baby's into the conversation really is pretty low life.

    Glad he apologized.

    January 3, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  14. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    Some things should be left out of politics, and this is one of them.

    January 3, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  15. foxonmyhead

    waoo thats just wrong making fun of dead...

    January 3, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  16. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Yeah, but until Fox's sponsors start yanking their ad dollars, stuff like this will continue as long as it gives their ratings their spikes.

    January 3, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  17. Tim

    I find it odd how a man who preaches family values is willing to spend days, weeks and months away from his family on the campaign trail. How can we restore family values in this country when parents are never at home with their children?!?! The death of any child is a tragedy, but this guy is a career politician..and that desire is obviously greater than his love of family.

    January 3, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  18. Mike in SA

    Poor form indeed, Colmes.

    January 3, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  19. AzRose

    The article failed to state that Alan Colmes happens to be a democrat and often makes nasty remarks. His comments were beyond terrible.

    January 3, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  20. Ava Girl

    Politics has become a blood sport, is there nothing that the media will not do to destroy someone they feel is a threat. This is beyond pale. Just when one thinks that the press cannot stoop any lower, something like this comes out. Fox should suspend his show for a month.

    January 3, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  21. David

    It was totally wrong what Colmes said and he should either get suspended or fired..

    January 3, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  22. JoeAmerica213

    Compassionate conservative.

    January 3, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  23. Malory Archer

    He apologized for telling the truth? Really?

    January 3, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  24. Steve

    It might have been a bit mean to say what Combs said, but it appears from what Santorum said, to be the truth. I cannot imagine bringing the dead child home – it just seems very strange.

    January 3, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  25. Malory Archer

    I'm pro-choice. However, I don't in any way consider a full term infant to be a "a blob of tissue that should be discarded and disposed of" and I take offense at this creep's strawman.

    January 3, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
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