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. hjfarmer

    My opinion has always been that Alan Colmes is a hateful, vial person and for some reason until now he has had no accountability for such incendiary comments. There is absolutely no excuse for comments like that.

    January 3, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. Wade

    There is no story or news here. Bring this up and quoting Colmes is just as hurtful to the Santorum family as the orginal comment. For the sake of the Santorum's let the appology stand and stop the finger pointing. Colmes was a jerk for what he said and apologized for his comments. That should have been the end of it, but now CNN's Chris Welch and Ashley Killough are jerks for bring it back up.

    January 3, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  3. Sam

    Santorum is not getting my vote, but he is getting my full support on this issue. Colmes is an insensitive clod because politicians' children alive or dead are off-limits as commentary subjects by the media.

    January 3, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    It appears that if Rick Santorum's rise in the poll continues with a strong showing in the Iowa caucuses, then he is going to have to answer to some racially insensitive remarks. He also needs to learn the meaning of "E Pluribus Unum", which means "Out of Many, One."

    January 3, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  5. Donkey Party

    Who takes their dead baby home to play show and tell with??? Colmes was only telling the truth, something right-wingers don't understand or accept.

    January 3, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  6. Sam

    What Santorums did with their child is their business! They did what they needed to go thru the grieving process. No one can understand unless they have walked in those shoes! So lay off people!

    January 3, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  7. Silent Majority

    Colmes is an idiot, and his opinions stand alone. Leave it to Fox News to give the job of "token liberal" to someone so generally deplorable. He fits their idea of who a liberal is, but nothing could be further from the truth.

    January 3, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  8. Rick

    Rick Santorum is my least favorite person on the Republican ticket and I would hate it if he every became president....HOWEVER....what the Fox news person said was totally unacceptable. Just because I don't believe in Santorum's ideas, it doesn't mean he is not a person and should be treated with dignity and respect. Shame on you Fox.

    January 3, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  9. dave

    Yes but our last Republican PResident let Osama Bin Laden attack us and get away with it

    January 3, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  10. Lizzy10

    The loss of a child is so sad and everyone copes in a different way. I would never make a judgement on anyone's choice in this matter. What I will make a judgement on is the press feeling that there is no issue that is private in a campaigen. What happened in1996 had absolutely no bearing on this candidate in 2012, it should never have been brought up. Just because you know something, doesn't mean you should share it, freedom of the press my foot.

    January 3, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  11. Larry

    The loss of a child is one of the most horrific events a parent is forced to endure. How dare Colmes question how a person is supposed to grieve this loss. My son died at the age of 22. Thank God there were no fools like Colmes around to use it for personal gain. Shame on him. He should be fired for such hatefulness.

    January 3, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  12. Cyrus

    So, an idiot on Fox news says something stupid about Santorum's late infant son, and suddenly, it's the liberals who are to blame? A "liberal" on Fox News is like a priest in a brothel. No liberals there, and no liberal has said anything about Santorum's private life. Get your facts right.

    January 3, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  13. Cleareye

    Colmes was clearly out of line and should have apologized. The matter is none of his, or anyone else's business. How parents deal with a loss of a child is simply a personal issue that should never be fodder for political discussion.

    January 3, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  14. Larry N. Scartz

    Wow,strange behavior by all. I can't imagine anyone doing that (playing with a dead baby) or anyone asking questions about it on TV. I wonder what his children thought about it, but I would never consider asking. I'm sure they will never forget. I wonder what Jesus would have done?

    January 3, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. steve

    regardless, it is really odd to bring a dead child home so that your other children can see it, this is not a show and tell moment. this is the weirdest thing i have ever heard of. colmes appears to have made a bad judgement on discussing it but i must say Santorum is one weird right wing freak. he should not even be in consideration to lead a country.

    January 3, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. Liberal CNN Idiots

    Assumed that because it was a Fox commentator that it was a conservative who made those vile remarks. Hello! Fox has both conservatives and liberals on the air, unlike MSNBC. Of course CNN's Chris Welch and Ashley Killough failed to mention that Colmes was a liberal, in their blatant attempt to smear FOX.

    January 3, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  17. Jerry/Florida

    This is an idiot commentator that is always kissing the president's backside and praising him when there is absolutely no reason for praise. He's a Democrat and is always making disparaging remarks about any Republican or Democrat that does not bend over for the president. His comments were beyond moronic and stupid. Fox should fire his butt.

    January 3, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  18. Dean

    I really don't have to understand why Mr. Santorum decided to bring his deceased infant son home to his family for a day. That is their family business alone. Mr. Colmes was obviously wrong to bring it up. I believe his action came from the fact that apparently nothing is sacred to him. That said, Mr. Santorum should not continue talking about it publicly. He should let his son rest in peace.

    January 3, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  19. zip

    The truth about little Ricky Sanitarium is far worse than this remark. Get educated.

    January 3, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  20. TJ

    Colmes is a worthless piece of dung. Seriously, he looks alien. Are we sure he's even human?

    January 3, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  21. Pouncie

    Should have NEVER come up!! what could this possibly have to do with a campaign??! everyone connected with publicyzing/using this story to further their own agenda should be ashamed of themselves!!! that includes mr. santorum! what is happening to people?!!?! – marita

    January 3, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  22. Hangar13

    Unlike many liberals in the public discourse, Alan Colmes is usually pretty classy, his tastless remarks were shocking. Leave it to CNN's Kool-Aid followers to use this as an excuse to ridicule the Santorums. Would any of you respond in that manner if one of your socialist darlings had lost a child? Compassionate liberals, yep.

    January 3, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  23. shoes71

    If you don't think this was a setup to bash prochoicers, you don't know Fox.

    January 3, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  24. BillyBobx

    Malory Archer you apper to subscribe to the theory that there is no sense being stupid if you can't show it.

    January 3, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  25. Sunnysmom

    I'm a liberal and I can't stand Alan Colmes. He's a jerk to nearly everyone who calls his show – even the ones who support his cause. This is way over the top and I won't listen to him ever again. Jerk.

    January 3, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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