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. Burt

    This happened on the FOX news network? No surprise

    January 3, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. MikeMazzla

    Umm if you make abortion a campaign issue, and you criticize pro choicers, then you open up your self for the kind of comments Colmes made. Most would think someone who lost an infant and then bringing it home as something a nit would do... Shows what kind of crazy religious person he is....

    January 3, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  3. The Real Tom Paine

    Truth and Nothing But the Truth. and the right-wingers who do what you claim is the exclusive domain of liberals get on FOX, so what is your point? I've seen a parade of ethically challenged conservatives trotted out on FOX as so-called " experts", people like Newt and Dick Morris and Ollie North, just to name a few. Please don't assume the conservative status of victim, since no one outside your echo chamber is buying it.

    January 3, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  4. Tao

    That was a cruel thing to say. But does anyone else think it is weird to take the baby home???? I mean to show a dead baby to the other kids? Super weird.

    January 3, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  5. woodofpine

    FOX guarding the GOP hen house! They're just warming up for Obama! Fox is the most vile thing that has appeared in American politics in a generation; billionaire 'Bought American' Murdock brings Yellow back to journalism.

    January 3, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  6. KCRick

    Keep in mind that Colmes is one of the few self-professed liberal commentators on Fox News. Second in mind, he offers opinions, not hard news. Many posts on here assume that this was Fox's "hard news" division making this comment. Colmes is a commentator, not a newsman. I agree with most comments, that this sort of thing is off limits in a campaign, and we should respect the privacy of the family.

    January 3, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  7. Paul

    An apology from Fox Nesws...? The sky is falling – the sky is falling !!

    January 3, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  8. hca66

    and of course cnn doesn't have the balls to state anywhere in the article that colmes is a libatard democrat....cnn should be just as ashamed as colmes, for trying to protect themselves band thier half-baked bias policies!!!

    January 3, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  9. Burt

    FOX News does NOT allow actual Liberals on their network period!

    Alan Colmes is a phoney ACT to appear Liberal.

    Robyn said it well.

    Colmes' phoney script is:
    Liberals are Bad,
    Liberals are Stupid,
    Liberals are Evil,
    but we give them a chance to speak anyway as
    part of Fox News "Fair and Balanced" nonsense.

    He is the the WWF wrestler who hits the other guy in the back
    with a folding chair while he isn't looking to show how "EVIL"
    all Liberals are. This is how news is manufactured on the Fox News clown show.

    FOX News should be ashamed of sinking this low.

    January 3, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  10. John the Historian

    The Senator from Pennyslyvania is a morbid Victorian with his glorifying death. How disgusting that he brought a dead body to his home. The Victorians took pictures of the dead and glorified in mourning. I am sure Mitt Romney the cult follower Mormon with their practice of rebaptising the dead are just as bad.

    January 3, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  11. charlie j

    I feel for the Santorum family - but this has nothing to do with abortion or choice. And I resent him casting it that way.

    January 3, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  12. dkhhuey

    Hey what do you know – a Fox personality stepping over the line of common decency just to further their own agenda. Shocking!!!

    January 3, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  13. Sanity

    Interesting how some liberals will deny blame for any of their actions. Colmes said it; anyone who thinks is was paid to say it lives in a fantasy world. Colmes has said stupid stuff for years.

    January 3, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. Tony in Maine

    Colmes is the token left of center pundit on Faux Gnus. He's no more a liberal than my cat is a dog. Making fun of a tragedy, no matter who's, is not a liberal trait – no matter what that gasbag Limburger says.

    January 3, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    This case shows there is simply no limit to the depths that some liberals will not sink to damage and insult a conservative Republican politician.
    ---------------
    Colmes works for Fox News, pal. I am sure that you know that Colmes used to be the sacrificial liberal lamb to Hannity's conservative "set the record straight" man act before Hannity went solo.

    January 3, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. Nass

    Rush of emotions for a dead child....................and you promote yourself by endorsement of bombing other countries.

    January 3, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  17. pprty

    Gee, I really miss poison darts from Rush Limbaugh ( or Sarah P, for that matter). I heard they've been attending classes to be ready for Obama. Better get their money back.

    January 3, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  18. just me

    I am a liberal.

    I also CHOSE to have a kid with a severe disability. And I think Colmes was wrong.

    This is not a liberal vs. conservative issue. Stop throwing politics into every little thing, people.

    January 3, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  19. kate

    The comment was wholly inappropriate and callous. But let's not forget who Colmes is: a lefty liberal who spouts off on Fox (probably because nobody else will tolerate him). He's obnoxious.

    January 3, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  20. Jill Pyeatt

    I am very sorry for the loss of their child. I'm also very sorry for all the Afghan and Iraqi children who have dies as a result of the wars Mr. Santorum has supposted. They weren't a "blob of tissue to be discarded", either.

    January 3, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  21. Aaron

    This is the same crap that these so-called journalists on Fox have been throwing at Dems for years. The only reason Santorum got an apology was that he's a Repub...they're usually immune to Fox News' malicious lies, slander, and exaggerations.

    January 3, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  22. Ken in MO

    I am shocked that he would say something so insensitive. That does not sound like him at all. Before I pass judgement I would like to see the entire conversation as to not take it out of context. If he did say it in so calous a way, he should be fired. The irony of this is that for Colmes to be considered the calous one on Fox News is quite a shock! Almost ALL of their hosts are heartless and cold.

    January 3, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  23. pprty

    Gee, I really miss poison darts from Rush Limbaugh ( or Sarah P, for that matter). I heard they've been attending classes to be ready for Obama. Better get their money back.

    January 3, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  24. modmike

    I'm not a fan of Santorum, but please leave his child out of this...Alan Colmes, you should be ashamed. Put your foot in your mouth before you say things like that...

    January 3, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  25. OARFNY

    Typical comment by Colmes. Garbage, no class. I don't like Santorum and would not vote for him, but I wouldn't want Colmes to empty my trash. A child is dead. Have you no shame Colmes? I didn't think so.

    January 3, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
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