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. Whoops

    Regardless of what you think, events surrounding the death of an infant son should be off-limits. At least Colmes apologized, but it definitely shows a lack of empathy and class.

    January 3, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  2. Daniel Bellevue

    His feelings are hurt because of a comment Colmes made about his dead son which he he took home? He recently said he did not want to "make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money." He and his wife should now know how insensitive comments hurts.

    January 3, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  3. a little odd

    For someone to actually transport a dead person to their home so others could see seems a lot odd to me. To wallow in your pain driving around with a dead body is not something I would want to hear of anyone doing, let alone a President of the U.S.

    January 3, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  4. Robyn

    Come on, you can't fire Alan Colmes.
    Nor would Fox want to.

    Colmes is the completely scripted
    Liberals are Bad,
    Liberals are Stupid,
    Liberals are Evil,
    but we give them a chance to speak anyway
    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.

    January 3, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  5. shoegazer

    Any wonder why the media is so often looked upon with complete disdain?

    January 3, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  6. RNW

    To RFB: Don't fire him!, Let him keep expressing his true hateful liberal feelings on National TV. NEVER fire anyone for utilizing their 1st ammendment right, but teach your children how NOT to act. We must not silence anyone!!

    January 3, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "He apologized for telling the truth? Really?"

    There is no greater sin in the MSM.

    January 3, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. Qualm

    Usually, a funeral director comes to the hospital and prepares the body for burial. Then, family and friends pay their respects at the funeral home. In the past, and sometimes today, the family has the body brought into their home for viewing and the wake. The idea that someone would spend the night at the hospital with a cadaver and then carry it home to show it to the surviving children as if they were bringing a new baby home is very strange.

    January 3, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. tess

    i have wanted fox to fire that vile man for a long time. i think it's way past time to get rid of such a mean, nasty person. FIRE HIM NOW FOX!!!!!!!

    January 3, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. Paul

    Considering that Rick Santorum and other extremist right wingers either publicly applauded or did not disavow the murders of abortion clinic employees in Florida in 1990 and Kansas two years ago, Rick Santorum has no moral standing on any subject to do with the deaths of young children. Mr. Santorum supports the denial of abortions to women who have been the victim of rape or incest. He is a hateful, judgemental man who does not deserve to be allowed near sniffing distance of elected office.

    January 3, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. alma125

    This is not a liberal vs conservative talking point. Grief is personal and it is different for everyone. If you haven't lost a child, you don't know what it is like until you have been there. If you have and still find what the Santorum's did worthy of criticism, you need to remember that your personal experience with grief is not the only way of handling the situation.

    I AM a liberal, and am NOT a Santorum fan in the least. However, I find the need of people to pass judgments on his family's way of dealing with their personal loss distasteful to say the least. Turning this loss into a political talking point is simply beyond the pale.

    January 3, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  12. Kevin

    Colmes is a chump for bringing this issue into the fray. Rick Santorum however, has got to be one of the weirdest candidates and campaigners to ever run for political office. This wouldn't have changed my opinion of Santorum one way or the other. He has plenty of other valid reasons he should never hold political office, much less be President. No disrespect to the family on what had to have been most tragic, but this is not normal or typical behavior in any stretch of the imagination. I mean really, who does that? And for what purpose? Quite simply, it's bizarre.

    January 3, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  13. DeeNYC

    Who gives a crap about what he thinks, the guy has seven kids. He obviously sees women as nothing more than a breeding machine.

    January 3, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  14. Grog Says

    Dear Mr Santorum,
    I am sorry that you are a dirt bag.
    Please stop breeding, you are infecting the gene pool.
    Thank you.

    January 3, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. Bubba

    Regardless of democrat or whatever, Colmes was way out of line and should be fired immediately. Nothing professional there. And to Twitter an apology? He should have made it on national television in front of cameras so we could all see how 2 faced he is.. And then we have readers like Tim who somehow completely miss the point and "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... etc." You don't have to be a commentator to have your head in a place where the sun never shines, it seems.

    January 3, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  16. Joseph

    Sounds weird to me, I want a normal president. 4 more years of religion free presidency.

    January 3, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. jgrm4

    To everyone calling for Colmes to be fired or resign, think about it-he is a 'liberal democrat' who works for Fox News. His reason for existing there is to be an embarrassing caricature of the liberal agenda and the democratic party, to make the left seem as extreme as possible, to make them look like awful, heartless monsters, etc. In this case he did exactly what they hired him to do. He'll probably get a raise for this.

    January 3, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  18. JohnDHater

    What's up with all these Repubes always crying about stuff? It happened in 1996!!! Act like A MAN!!!! I would have more respect for Santorum if he threatened to punch Colmes in the face. But no, he chokes up like a phony politician to get sympathy from !d!0ts like everyone commenting here. TOOLS!!!

    January 3, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  19. Parent

    Santorium often brings up the story of how they handled the death of the child. He uses it as an example of how precious life is for him. If he wants to continue to bring it up he should expect people to have reactions. He wants the reaction they will vote for him but should not be surprised when someone finds the actions bizarre. When I first heard this story I assumed they brought the child home in a casket like they did years ago. Once I found out the whole story, I too find it very strange and this would be a reason not to vote for him in my book. He cannot have it both ways–apology for the wording, but not for letting us know exactly what this kooky guy did.

    January 3, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. Grog Says

    If a republican had said this, it would be "free speech".
    But it was a democrat, so "hang him".
    Bringing a dead baby home for the other children to see is sick.

    January 3, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. ChristoInferno

    I am very liberal, and although I don't know who Colmes is, I think he should be fired immediately.

    The overwhelming lack of respect for other people's struggles is getting out of hand in this country. If you want to be that cold and callous, go live in Iran.

    January 3, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. Jh1289

    Don't equate this horrible statement by Colmes as something "liberal", you conservative fools. I've heard terrible statements made by both sides, take almost anything said by Ann Coulter for example, and this sort of snotty, immature, insensitive statement is not "liberal."

    January 3, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  23. Benny

    I believe Fox set this up. It doesn't surprise me that the statement is made by the only person on the entire network who maintains any sort of liberal outlook (fair and balanced, right...), because he makes the perfect fall guy in this situation and it gets Fox ratings, as well as giving Santorum a soapbox to turn the sad death of his full-term newborn child into an anti-abortion moment. Not surprising since Fox would certainly prefer Santorum to continue his momentum rather than Ron Paul.

    January 3, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  24. Lucy

    Americans are definitely afraid of death. If the Santorums felt the need to bring their deceased baby home, then that's their decision and it should be respected. Certainly not made into a political discussion. I like Rick. BTW: Death is not the worst thing that can happen to you.

    January 3, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  25. BrianScottNYC

    While no one can minimalize the sadness of losing a child, it is downright bizarre to bring a baby's corpse home, sleep with it, and then show it to your children. This is macabre and creepy.

    January 3, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
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