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

    No real liberal would work at FOX news. While is was wrong to make light of his childs death, Mr. Santorum took the ball and ran w/ it. Sad he turned the death of his son into an Anti-abortion ad.

    January 3, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. nighthawk

    I am sorry for his loss but what he did is is still strange and sounds pretty unstable. If your running for President, we should know about any weird things you have done.

    January 3, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  3. Bern in Western PA

    I agree with Colmes a lot more often than I do Santorum, but I have to side with Rick on this one. I think he and his wife handled it very well and Colmes deserved to be called ouyt for a crude remark.

    January 3, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  4. Huh?!

    I see it got the reaction Fox intended. "LOOKY THE NASTY LIBERAL!!!!!" Colmes is a liberal the same way Steven Colbert is a conservative, he just plays one on TV.

    January 3, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  5. Mike

    This whole thing seems like a sham by Fox News to give Santorum a chance to preach his pro-life viewpoint. I fail to see why Santorum suddenly interjected that into his comments – the "blob of tissue" thing had NOTHING to do with any of the "hurtful" comments that were made. And I understand they were grief stricken, but taking a dead child home so their kids could meet them seems...sort of cruel to the children. I would think the funeral would certainly be a better time to grieve and understand their loss. This whole thing just doesn't add up at all – and it seems like a fantastic opportunity for Santorum on caucus day to squeeze out some pro-life votes. Man, has politics really devolved into this? This is really pathetic.

    January 3, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
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