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. REL

    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.

    Then why talk about it unless you are trying to gain political sympathy points

    January 3, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  2. Pedro

    So Colmes said pretty much the same thing Santorum himself said. He took a dead baby home to show it to his children. And yet he's offended? What an idiot.

    January 3, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    "Republican blacks are better than democrat blacks" -- Ann Coulter 2011

    Talk about ignorant and insensitive! To a WHOLE RACE of humans.

    Santorum is weird no matter what his personal preferences toward a dead child.

    January 3, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  4. bonniejean

    IShocking remarks from Alan Colmes. You have to wonder about the real Alan Colmes here-what type of twisted person would even think those thoughts, much less actually publically declare them? O'Reilly and the rest of Fox should rethink putting Colmes on the air. Everytime I see his oddly distorted face from now on, I will recall these remarks. Colmes is unbelievably lucky Fox News actually gives a voice to the liberals, unlike other networks, who don't allow other viewpoints.

    January 3, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. Satsumagirl

    I don't care for Rick Santorum. In fact, I'm a liberal and consider "Christian" conservatives who defend greed and discrimination against the historically disenfranchised to be nothing more than hateful hypocrites. But, using dead children for political punchlines is off limits.
    Reading about it made me sick. I can only imagine how Mr. Santorum felt, hearing a cheap and tasteless comment about such a painful tragedy.

    January 3, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. Susan

    You people are kidding, right? I lost a child at the age of 2 months. Never in my deepest moments of grief did I consider taking my child's body home for my surviving child to "see." We all said our good-byes privately at the hospital, then later immediate family again at the funeral home. What Santorum did WAS odd, no matter how you rationalize it or try to make it an abortion issue, and I speak from experience.

    January 3, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  7. Nija

    Does Colmes have Children?

    January 3, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  8. Boo

    Let's ask Santorum how he feels about the death penalty and war. I have no sympathy for this loon....YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW.

    January 3, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "This guy has the IQ of a third grader."

    Indeed...which is why he has such an easy time manipulating his target audience.

    January 3, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  10. newt

    Took a corpse home? How freaky and perverse is that ? Not to mention illegal. I'm surprised they didn't sent it out to a Taxidermist so it could be properly honored and kept in the home for generations.

    January 3, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  11. Mark

    It's come to that: the tragedy of a lost child is a campaign issue. Never happened with John Edwards..guess he wasn't a Republican.

    January 3, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  12. Como

    Different customs for different people. What is "odd" are the coments made my Colms, a LIBERAL, dragging a family tradgedy into the political arena. How disgusting.

    January 3, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  13. BeverlyNC

    Guess she had to apologize since her criminal boss Murdock at FOX has endorsed Santorum and since no one at FOX can have an non-Republican approved opinion – she had to blindly follow the FOX fraud of being indepedent. Just shows again FOX is nothing but a Republican hate and lies spreading scourge.

    January 3, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  14. jim maclery

    When nothing else works get your friend reporter to ask about your dead son, waterworks on Cue. Can these loon get any worse. Man taking a dead baby home like a puppy for children to play with. At least this one was born and not put in a pickle jar about the mantle like membrane bush Jr. there religious freaks are barmy. This guy is not president material my word whats wrong with these tea bag fruits. WAW

    January 3, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  15. Will

    To hell with these fascists.

    January 3, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  16. Sheila

    OMG.....You cannot bring a dead cat home from the vets office. Why could you bring a dead baby home from the hospital to show your children much less play with. This Santorum is one Kooky Dude. Not President Material in my opinion. Play with a dead baby does NOT instill respect for a loved one that the children did not know. It instills some very strange images that could really mess up a kids mind and just scare them. Children have a very hard time verbalizing things. What are they internalizing from this scifi freaky thing. This isn't a liberal or conservative thing. This is a creepy thing and these people are obviously really creepy. That is from a parent that lost a child too! I would have never subjected my children to this bizarre behavior. God help us when this is what politicians do to get attention.

    January 3, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  17. Sniffit

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

    You're right. Given the MSM's consistent IOKIYAR policy, it would be fair only if no apology were ever necessary for anything done by ANYONE (not just GOPers)...only some half-baked statement like "not intended to be a factual statement" or "I'm sorry if you misunderstood me and it hurt your feelings" or, my personal favorite, which the GOP used a few months into 2009 after consistently avoiding apologizing for the Dubya years resulting in economic collapse: "we're done apologizing." What could be better than that? Never apologize or even acknowlege your mistakes or the problems they created, then say you're "done apologizing," then just sit back and let the MSM spread your talking point as though it means you actually did apologize, then complain bitterly whenever anyone wants to bring up the historical record and the mistakes it contains as a means of understanding the solutions we should implement to current problems. It's gloriously ridiculous and there's been no greater IOKIYAR moment in the past 5 years.

    January 3, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  18. betty

    Bottom line it was a personal decision.

    January 3, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  19. Ray

    Having lost a son myself, I empathize with Mr and Mrs Santorum and find Mr Colmes' remarks not only insensitive, but barbaric. How any network can continue to employ him after remarks like those is beyond me.

    January 3, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  20. Uncontrived

    Can anyone so passionately committed to "the dignity of human life" be president? That's a position that necessarily involves making decisions that result in the deaths of people: servicemen and women, enemies, and, invariably, innocents—often many of them, including, yes, babies. Is the relentlessly sanctimonious Santorum running for president or saint?

    January 3, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  21. tony

    Colmes is a tool

    January 3, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  22. Steve

    Point #1: It's FOX...what do you expect.

    Point #2: There is no such thing as a Liberal commentator at FOX.

    January 3, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  23. JOHN M. DICKEY

    Santorum told the same story that Colmes did. Hey just put a different spin on it.

    January 3, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  24. db

    Sad story. My heart goes out to Santorum's blob of tissue.

    January 3, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  25. normajean @ verizon ,com

    thanks for nothing

    January 3, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
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