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. Mike

    Fox says hurtful things all the time. This time, however, they got carried away and said hurtful things about a Republican. That's what prompted an apology.

    January 3, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. GeneK

    Colmes is a liberal like Stephen Colbert is a conservative.

    January 3, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    I've listened to Alan Colmes quite a bit and this is out of character for him as a person, but NOT out of character for liberals and Democrats that will use anything, and say the vilest things, to try and paint conversatives as dumb, weird, psycho, etc. In Colmes case, I am ready to declare this a case of temporary insanity on his part but in far too many other cases, it is a case of permanent insanity on the part of far too many leftists.

    January 3, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. Josh Grahek

    Alan Colmes exists in this weird Nexus. He's a democrat on Fox, who seems to be there for the sole purpose of being the in-residence strawman. I remember his pairing with Hannity, where he was there merely to offer a meek attempt at counterweight. He allowed Fox to say "See, there's balance!", while every week getting out-debated and outweighed by Hannity's bombast. And now he's going to allow countless conservatives to demonize liberals as heartless monsters with his tasteless remarks.

    January 3, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  5. augustghost

    Does this surprise anyone coming from a fox employee? they take the cake

    January 3, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. SLP

    Does anyone here not realize that this has gotten totally out of hand? It is time to bring some civility back to this country. We don't have to agree. We all have different views and opinions. It is what makes us the people that we are. However, these comments are beyond horrible. It is time that we all condemn remarks such as these no matter which side of the political aisle they come from.

    January 3, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  7. Dan from Tx

    Colmes is paid by a right-wing propaganda machine to intentionally make liberals look mean and / or stupid.
    Reel em in, boys....they took the bait!

    January 3, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  8. G-nO-P

    This is PRECISELY Why people can't trust Santorum to keep peoples privates moments out of the political spotlight ... fact is , if Obama said he took his dead baby home for a day or two to 'show the kids", then he would have been Lambasted ! I mean.. HOW MANY PEOPLE Can Anyone count on 3 Fingers the Number of times you bring a dead baby home to show the kids ... that's just STRANGE ! no matter how well intentioned he may have been.. I think Alan Colmes was reacting to that "strangeness" .. only someone infected with the DNA of an elected Republican would start telling home viewrs that liberals look at newborns like a "mass of tissue" .. knock it off with the the theatrics Santorum.. you want everyone talking about your dead child .. and you know it ... just gives you reason to shout... 'This is a personal affair... until it's another womans pregnancy ... then you will want the government to be all about making her life decision for her ... duplicitous !

    January 3, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. tripleseq

    This seems odd, are we all going to get behind Santorum now because a reporter insensitively reported on something that was true, but inappropriate? Geez.

    January 3, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  10. Joshie

    Santorum loudly, forcefully, and repeatedly talks about *other people's* choices when it comes to abortion, the definition of life, and so on. It seems to me that since he makes it an issue, an issue that he hopes will win him votes, his own decisions with regard to the subject are not off-limits at all. Seeing that he supports a total ban on abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, and he himself characterizes the practice as ghoulish, I don't see why somebody shouldn't be allowed to point out the perceived ghoulishness in Santorum's own views - and real-life practices.

    January 3, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  11. A True Centrist

    @Steve: "I cannot imagine bringing the dead child home – it just seems very strange."

    Well, that's you Steve. Hopefully you are never put in the situation where you would have to do decide to do something like that. My wife and I just had our first child a year ago and I can't imagine having lost her...it crushes me just to think of it.

    My point is there is no "normal" when one loses a child.

    January 3, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  12. tj

    Fox news. Nuff said!

    January 3, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  13. Get Real

    Don't like Rick Santorum but sympathize for the loss of his child. His then turning it around into an Anti Abortion screed is pretty tacky. It was a full term infant, not a "blob of tissue" and yes there is a difference.

    January 3, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  14. lucy2

    Colmes should be ashamed of himself. Why on earth is that sad situation even a part of the dialogue of presidential politics?
    Santorum is the most terrifying of the Rep. candidates to me, and his reply basically turning into a stumping opportunity for anti-choice is a bit off putting, but no matter what, that's a terrible thing to go through, and I have sympathy for the family, especially when someone makes such insensitive comments about it.

    January 3, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  15. Carlos

    What hospital allows anybody to take a dead body home? Isn't this a health and safety issue? How is this possible?

    January 3, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. texasgoat

    I stopped watching O'reilly because of the BS that Allen puts out. I told my wife that when Allen is on, I can turn the sound off and fill in his comments with the standard liberal pro obama talking points. Instead of wasting my time, I watch re-runs of Bones.

    January 3, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  17. Sterling Archer

    I agree that this is clearly an off limits subject for the media, but still, I personally find it very strange for someone to bring home a dead child. This is coming from a catholic school attendee, and faith aside, there is definitely a better method to teach humanity to one's children.
    Apology is good enough.

    January 3, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  18. Rickster

    Colmes is a democrat and, therefore, he says all sorts of stupid and outrageous things and other stupid and outrageous democrats will come out and defend him.

    January 3, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  19. Roland

    Colmes is Fox's fake liberal. He's only there so that Fox commentators can gang-up on him 4 to 1 anyway. He magically never seems to win an argument and successfully fill's his job description as Punching Bag. If we really want to know the truth, maybe Fox can hack into Santorum's cell phone.

    January 3, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  20. Columbus

    I have distinct disdain for politicians, but if Colmes' careless remark has served any purpose it proves that politicians bleed too. I also have a firmer belief and understanding in Mr. Santorum's conservative views of life, it's not born of phony rhetoric.

    January 3, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  21. Vance

    Wait! He took his dead child home? Really? Okay, I am sorry for the loss,however that seems very odd to me.

    January 3, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  22. maggie

    Colmes did the right thing by apologizing. As to why he would have raised it in the first place, I can see it. In a field full of clowns that did some crazy things, this was bizarre. You take a dead child home to prove to your kids that he mattered? Taking them to his funeral wasn’t good enough? Was that really necessary to do or just weird? I would not have wanted to be one of those kids.

    January 3, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  23. Frank

    Oh my! The attacks from the political Left (Obama's re-election smear machine) is going way too far. This is simply the first of many to come to get Obama re-elected.

    January 3, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  24. maggie

    Oh, AZ Rose, for what little Colmes is actually to say on Fox, it is nothing compared to the spewing of Ann Coulter and her gross little sidekick Hannity.

    January 3, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  25. Gretchen

    You forgot to put in your headline the FOX COMMENTATOR is a LIBERAL. Don't you think that might have been a bit IMPORTANT !?!?!?! I'm sure if a REPUBLICAN had said something as hateful as this about a DEMOCRAT your headline would have been entirely different. It's not a wonder FOX NEWS beats CNN every day.

    January 3, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
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