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.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

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. closetiguana

    Wow. What? "played with it for a couple of hours so his other children would know that the child was real."

    Played with a dead baby? That doesn't deserve an acceptance to an apology.

    January 3, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  2. ReallY!!?

    Colmes is vile and disgusting. I have heard him say worse esp. when he was on Hannity & Colmes show. I would not watch until he left and any segment where Colmes is involved I change the channel. Colmes belongs on PMSNBC with all the other disgusting liberals! That said I love Juan Williams and all the other liberals on Fox like Pat Caddel , Doug Schoen and Bob Beckel. Their point of view is different, refreshing and they are respectful. Colmes should be fired simply b/c he has shown to have a bias that is so blinding that it is hurtful & disrespectful to others with whom he disagrees. When u resort to personal attack you become irrelevant and u lose the pt.

    January 3, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  3. The Other Michael in Houston

    First off, who brings their dead newborn home for a night for the other kids to see???? Are you serious. I had the unpleasant experience of losing twins due to undeveloped organs, I was crushed, I was angry, I even thought about taking my own life, but I never would have this thought cross my mind "hey sweetheart, let's take our dead children home with us tonight"!!!! That's just morbid and creepy! Oh and nice to slip in abortion reference Rick! I guess you teanuts love the right to make your own decisions, expect when it comes to everyone's elses life, hypocrites. Let's get this election over with so I can get back to reading your threads about how Obama should not be President due to his black suit is too black.....or whatever you conjure up.

    80%-20% that will be the final score......again

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    January 3, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  4. betty

    since they want to know what others do with there bodies I want to hear more. Stupid morons. Riding around with a dead body. When it's a question for them there is always a line someo0ne can cross. What about those women whom have been molested or raped and don't want their kids. You did what you thought was best for your family at the time which i think is still a stupid idea and so does others have to do what s best for themselves. It's not your decision concerning others either. And yes I think they should've done some jail time. What happen to last visitation rights. Continue to question Colmes. As long as they question others about their decisions i say continue to question maybe they will shut up.

    January 3, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "How any network can continue to employ him after remarks like those is beyond me."

    Because he was paid to say it in the first place. Have you not noticed all the blather about Colmes being a liberal and calling for his head and saying "told you so...liberals are all insensitive and eat babies!"??

    January 3, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  6. ggg

    I think it is funny that the Santorum's consider the death of their child as a "private" matter but yet want to meddle in a woman's right to choose, which is a "private" matter.

    Taking their dead child home for the other children to look at and play with is something out of a damn horror film. It is just demented and really show you the depth of Santorum's mental state. Scary scary scary.

    January 3, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  7. Sheila

    How a parent reacts to extreme grief should be off limits in public, period. What appalls me about this statement of Colmes' is the "so they could play with it for a while" part. Maybe the parents took the dead child home to allow their other children to see the baby, but somehow I don't see them tossing the thing around like a frisbee. Give me a break.

    January 3, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  8. ReallY!!?

    Leave people's personal tragedy out of the campaign! The loss of a child is unbearable. U can sit there and monday morning quaterback the issues all you want. At the end of the day, u never know how you would react. Colmes, a true liberal, shows just how insensitive as most liberal tends to be towards others with whom they disagree. Get in their face and shout them down is what the POTUS told his minions to do. Colmes belongs with the likes of Bill Mahr, Joy Behar & Rosie O'Donnell shows where vile disgusting liberal sit in an echo chamber listening to their own diatribe and patting themselves on their back as if they can ever say anything intelligent or respectful w/o their typical nasty attack just b/c u dare to disagree with them.

    January 3, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  9. matthewkim

    Thanks CNN. I hadn't heard this before so I just googled the story and I found at least 5 major reasons I would NEVER vote for Santorum and I'm Catholic.

    January 3, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  10. george of the jungle

    Don't listen to fox Not nice remarks but who would bring a dead baby home to show the kids? Creepy all the way around. No one should be bringing up a persons children during a campaign. But thats what fox does best.

    January 3, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. Amy in Michigan

    It is untrue that liberals are insensitive to the loss of a life. My heart goes out to the family, and I agree that this is not an issue for the campaign. Colmes' remark was inappropriate and unnecessary.

    January 3, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  12. John316

    I googled Santorum.....oh my!

    January 3, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  13. Marcus

    Colmes is Fox's idea of a "typical liberal." That would be the equivalent of MSNBC having a Klan member on their show portraying the "typical conservative."

    January 3, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  14. steve harnack

    Another scripted moment guaranteed to bring on the tears and sympathy and a chance to polish his pro-fetus credentials. It happened years ago but the spin already makes it seem like it happened yesterday so that they can point to it as a recent attack by (of course) LIBERALS! Much as Newt's scam with firing his whatever for comments made last July so he could emphasize Romney's Mormon religion. Just badly scripted campaign drama.

    January 3, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  15. Awful

    It seems what Santorum did was strange even to himself as well. If he knew it was Ok, he could have told Alan Colmes that " the apology was not necessary as I knew what I did was important to my family", end of the story.

    January 3, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  16. Nick

    Colmes has a right to his opinion. Having the right does not make it correct. Colmes is one of those liberals that thinks he knows what's best for us "little people". Remember always the Democrat's first social experiment – putting Native Americans on reservations so "we could take care of them". How'd that work out?

    As my wife often says, she'd rather watch infomercials than listen to the liberal nonsense spewed by Colmes and his like.

    January 3, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    Why should this wierd ritual surprise anyone? The Right-to-Life nuts, when they are not out shooting doctors in churches and committing bombings and acts of arson, regularly use fetuses as props to get their point across( Check Operation Rescue's use of fetuses during demonstrations in Buffalo in the early 90's). All Colmes did was point out the disgusting act of politicising your own family's tragedy for the sole purpose of ginning up the base. Its no better than Sarah Palin pimping her children out for the purpose of trying to separate people from their money. Frankly, anyone who takes a body home for the other children " to play with" needs to be investigated for inflicting emotion distress and abuse onto their kids. While I respect the right of parents to grieve, this is just plain morbid, and the fact Santorum is milking this for political gain makes me question his ability to see the implications of his actions in other areas.

    January 3, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  18. Logic

    Dear liberal brainiacs if you shut off MSNBC for a few minutes during your typical day off from work if you are actually working and watch Fox for a few minutes there are liberal commentators. Alan Colmes, Ellis Henigan, Juan Williams, Bob Bechtel just to name a few. Speaking of MSNBC the rumor mill is saying that 5 minutes after these stupid comments by the Alien MSNBC asked him to join there network. Also to the nuts out there that said it is crazy to bring a dead child home I am guessing it has never happened to you. Last but not least @Sniffit you are a complete D-bag!!!!

    January 3, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  19. Todd in DC

    Um, Santorum admitted to taking a corpse home for his kids to play with. Would you people be expressing the same sympathy if Hillary Clinton did this? Or if Obama pulled this stunt?

    Doesn't this make any of you think, "Ew! What a freak of nature."?

    January 3, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. Pa Resident

    How does a man with all those kids live in a 2 bedroom house? He was elected in Pennsylvania, and the only house he owns there is 2 bedrooms. His house in Virginia is nice and spacious though. He's a phony. Why did he feel the need to lie to voters to get elected?

    January 3, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. jt

    So Colmes mentioned a fact. A fact that highlights Santorum's warped reality. Santorum is a cook. What's the problem with reporting the story?

    January 3, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  22. Larry N. Scartz

    Try searching google posing the question "Did Rick Santorum's wife have an abortion"? The information in the articles are interesting and perhaps explains why the question was asked. I am not defending anyone, but perhaps this may explain the odd behavior of Mr. Santorum. For me, life started when I was borned. I have no idea of when or where I was conceived, but I do know when and where I was borned. For those of you that don't agree, try and claim that unborned child as a tax deduction. The IRS will set you straight.

    January 3, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  23. fred

    And I am going to let Fox News present me with a reference point of what and American liberal is? Sort of like a drug dealer offering to drive an addict to a detox program. You folks are a real hoot, seriously.

    January 3, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  24. marty

    Regardless of the terrible emotions experienced with the loss of a child, the whole point seems to be whether or not bringing a dead corpse home was legal. And, if somehow it was legal to do so, was that considered to be a wise, sensible decision? It does have a morbid side to it.

    January 3, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  25. paintpaintpaint

    Liberals don't want Colmes, that's why he works for FAUX News... Nobody, apparently, likes him as a pundit. And there's so MUCH to criticize about the GOP candidates, why he chose a private event in Mr. and Mrs. Santorum's life is beyond me. I say... "Who's watching/listening to Colmes anyway?" This seems to be sort of a plant to get a rise out of the Republican base. All but 3 of my friends are staunch liberals... none of us would ever accept this story as something intelligent. We love our babies. And yours. – But wait – how do the right wingnuts turn this into an ABORTION issue? Also not fair play...BTW – in the USA abortion IS legal....

    January 3, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11