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. Marry

    Of cause it is terrible losing a child, especially a rich child! However, I cannot but think that the “sadness” cannot be that deep. If it was, the compassion for all parents and the welfare of their (living) children (like health care, education, a clean environment, and work for their parents, etc. etc.) would be reflected in the goals and programs by the party of greed over need.

    January 3, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  2. Steve, New York City

    I intensely dislike Santorum, as he is nothing but a loud-mouthed bigot.

    That being said, wrong to go after the guy's family, DOUBLY WRONG to ridicule him regarding a terrible family tragedy.
    Fox News network is a useless, biased, phone-tapping spreader of lies. Now I remember why I never watch that garbage station (maybe Rupert Murdoch will bribe his way out of any criminal charges).

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

    I just watched the video and Santorum explains clearly why they took the child home. To bury him and have the funeral at home. He also explained the compassion involved in having the other children to know the child. You, Mr. Colmes should be fired or have the decency to resign for you sir are the epitome of callousness and hate.

    January 3, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  4. Jake

    But wait, isn't that exactly what Rick Santorum did? He brought him home overnight, even though he only lived 2 hours after birth?

    January 3, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  5. C.A.

    Also there is irony in the CNN headline's subtle attempt to disparage Fox News. Alan Colmes is indeed a far left liberal who should not have made any comment at all on such a personal family issue. Similary most of the other derogatory comments on this loss are likewise distasteful. This is a discussion that should be totally off limits.

    January 3, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  6. carolyn

    Coombs comments were crass and unecessary, but Santorum proffesses to be a Christian. His actions in bringing the dead baby home would be considered by many Christians as inappropriate at best. Birth and death are considered gifts of God's Grace and love. Death to a discerning Christian is understood as a continuation of life in God's presence in which we must have Faith in His Blessed assurance the He will provide us with Eternal life in renewed bodies. We mourn the loss of a loved one; but human suffering ends at our deaths paving the way for our reunification with the Heavenly Father. With defference to his grief; I think Santorum used that babies death as self indulgent over zealous statement on his Earthly political views. Absent from the body; present with the Lord. Santorum; the uber christian should know better. As insensitive as it was Coombs has a point; sort of.

    January 3, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  7. KudzuKannibal

    Hey Cleareye, which I doubt since you only see one side (where is my bat to knock some sense into you), Colmes is a registered Democrat. He is left wing. Simple as that. Yes Fox has them. And Libertarians you seem to fear as well. Go back to your hole. Colmes should be ashamed, but then again he is getting his information from other sources, so where does the blame really lie? Don't you think all these guys work from a script people?

    January 3, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  8. gt

    msnbc this would be a regular comment... chris mathews has turn into the jerry springer of politics wonks...

    January 3, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  9. imaclutz

    Alan Colmes only apologized after a barrage of criticism to save his sorry a$$. We recently had the same tragedy in our family, and believe me, you have no idea what this family went through until you live through something like this. Colmes should be fired....he's a jerk.

    January 3, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  10. MozCho

    I'm sorry for what Rick and his family went through, but he (Rick) ought to consider those painful feelings when he talks about starting a new war with Iran. How many soldiers of ours, and innocent Iranian's would he be willing to let die? The day he sheds a tear over the death of someone NOT in his family, and NOT of his country, is the day I'll believe he gives a damn about life.

    Colmes's comment was out of line and lame, but it's no worse than "Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran" or any other war propaganda.

    January 3, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  11. Whoosh

    Opem mouth insert feet. Meathead.

    January 3, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  12. Anchorite

    What a surprise to have Santorum compare pro-choicers to babykillers. No liberal has ever said newborn or stillborn babies are "blobs of tissue." However, Santorum voted to help kill a few hundred thousand innocent Iraq children who were already born. Inifnitely more reprehensible and should be considered a war crime.

    January 3, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. DC

    Mr. Alan Colmes' views are odd and uninteresting. It is a good thing he is no longer with Hannity's show in Fox. Everytime I see him on TV, I immediately switch the channel. It's his views that I do not like. With his comment on Santorum's son, I think Fox News should reconsider his status as a contributor. His contributions are not worth it, if there are any.

    January 3, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  14. Edward

    Note that the CNN story refers to Colmes as a Fox News contributor. He is in fact a very liberal Fox contributor. If he were a conservative I am sure CNN would have labeled him as such. Nice try CNN.

    January 3, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. Tina, NC

    I think it's strange that they took the baby home, but whatever. The worst part is that extreme anti-abortion Santorum fails to mention that his wife aborted the child in order to save her life. A choice he wants to prevent other women from having. Under the laws Santorum wants to enact he would have probably had to bring his dead wife home as well as his dead baby.

    January 3, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. Gort1

    wow...this is one of the lowest moments, the lowest comments and the lowest class Ive seen in a conservative in a few weeks....fire Colmes right not. Apology not accepted.

    January 3, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  17. Daveil

    What would you expect from a liberal who thinks are conservatives are the devil incarnate? I'd guess that Pelosi, Reed, Wassermann-Schultz, Durban, etal were all chuckling quietly in the background.

    January 3, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  18. ddblah

    How could any responsible, decent people say things like that?! Regardless of political affiliation, it's just appalling!

    January 3, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  19. Breezeday

    Forget Colmes. Who among us would bring a deceased infant home to show their children? Fifty years later I still remember the ashen face of my grandfather at his funeral. Not a good memory. To say what Santorum did was bizarre is an understatement.

    January 3, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  20. cynix

    Just goes to show that civility is a thing of the past.

    January 3, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  21. Sharie

    This story isn't so odd. My grandma died last summer, but we took her to Disneyland anyway so that we could get the senior discount.

    January 3, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  22. jc

    Jeesh, if only he could get equally emotional about all the kids who'd be left to fend for themselves should his party have its way!

    January 3, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  23. LAS

    I am sorry for his loss, as I also have lost a child. I also wanted to say something that has been on my mind in regard to fertilization of the ovum and conception. All are female until week 9 of development. So I guess we are all girls too.

    January 3, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  24. WhereIsPalin

    Say something disgusting, and then apologize. Its shouldn't be that easy.

    January 3, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  25. Dr Waton I Presume

    The media is sooooo gone.

    That we even live in a society that would permit media commentators who'd think this kind of drool is acceptable, much less utter the sheer non-sense, is a very sad commentary. This is a sad example of how sick the 24 hr media machine really is.

    January 3, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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