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. Tim

    GGG says: "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." To GGG: Your post is the only one that really made any sense on this board. That and the fact that there is NOTHING that these two-toed sloths will not politicize.

    January 3, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  2. tashable

    it does seem strange to me. If the baby had died at one year old, they would not have spent the night with the dead body and have all the children hold it. They would have set up a funeral, viewing and burial. I don't know why they didn't do that for the baby. I guess that is what they needed to do to mourn, don't know why it even needs to be brought up though. I guess because his voting record doesn't exactly win votes in his favor.

    January 3, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. Disappointed in politics

    Evidently our world is beyond repair. We can cry over whales or the loss of trees but when it comes to truly mourning and grieving over the life of a child, we find it disgusting or wierd. Are we afraid of the dead? From what I understand, they brought the child home to have time for their children to PRIVATELY say their good-byes to a brother they will never walk life with. Where is our empathy for the loss of human life and what it is to experience loss? Alam Colmes misrepresented how the Santoriums dealt with the situation just for the sake of politics...ETHICS were thrown away! This is a sad day for America...we have not only forgotten The Golden Rule...the majority don't even know it exists!!

    January 3, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. Mike

    You mean a liberal made a hateful comment? No way! That never happens! (Maher, Maddow, Matthews, Baldwin, etc etc etc etc etc etc). Libs..the party of hate.

    January 3, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. James

    Alan was just upset because his parents didn't play with him after he was stillborn... they were still upset last year that his abortion was a failure... and he is a poster child for "parents against failed abortions"

    January 3, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. Jilli

    Perhaps it was inartfully stated, but what Santorum did with his dead son is disgusting. The reality is that santorum brought his dead son home to show his other children. It's disgusting and totally unnecessary.

    January 3, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "Last but not least @Sniffit you are a complete D-bag!!!!"

    What's the matter...no substantive arguments to contradict the things I say? Afraid to try? Poor thing. Typical conservative...declare war but expect others to fight it for you.

    January 3, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  8. flopflipper

    Poor Colmes. The token Democrat on a super conservative News channel. He's rarely allowed to talk but if he does, he ahve to issue a retraction and apology.

    January 3, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  9. Anne

    Though I sympathise with Santorum with thier loss, BUT I do think it was a bad judgement. This gives us a bit of a clue how he can make his judgements incase he is elected President!

    January 3, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. Sniffit

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

    Yuo guys must've taped every debate so far then, eh?

    January 3, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. Josh

    It does seem odd to take a dead baby home, show it to your kids, sleep with it, and then take it back to the hospital. I’m honestly surprised a hospital would allow that. I’m sure they were distraught, but frankly, it seems morbid.

    January 3, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    This case shows there is simply no limit to the depths that some liberals will not sink to damage and insult a conservative Republican politician. While they sit and claim mental superiority over the rest, most of the grey matter between their ears possesses not an ounce of common sense or decency. The death of a couples infant son should NEVER be brought up within a political context, out of respect for the couple AND the deceased infant. Politics does not exist where a couple is dealing with the death of their new born son.

    Honestly, many on the left need to take classes on how to act like a decent human being. People that uttered vile statements used to be shunned by the community. Now they appear to be rewarded with reality TV programs or talk shows on MSNBC.

    Yet another sign of the decay of our society....

    January 3, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    Logic, if you have time to devote your day to watching cable news and blogging, I sincerely hope you are retired. If not, get off your a$$ and get a job. As I recall, Juan Williams was given a raise by FOX after NPR terminated him, so why are you even pretending that he was a liberal commentator?

    January 3, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  14. Lanfear

    So what if he took his deceased infant home to show the family. What parent would be in the right state of mind after losing their child after taking its first breath? I know of a woman who spent thousands to became pregnant after having difficulties, a couple years ago, and finally became pregnant. Unfortunately she miscarried because the umbilical cord got tied around the infants neck and strangled it to death. She had to go through labor anyways and give birth to get it out of her womb. The nurses put a Christmas hat on the infant (it was just before christmas, how sad) and took a couple pictures of baby with mommy. Sounds a little strange but unless you've walked in their shoes, how can you judge when you really have no idea what it's like? I'm a woman and I would be completely devastated. A family lost a child, and unless you have support to offer then keep your mouth shut! And hope you never have to go through the same thing.

    January 3, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. Dana

    Santorum believes a 20 week old miscarried fetus deserves more humanity than a gay person.

    January 3, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    "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.:

    What is vile about mentioning a candidate's words and actions that the candidate himself has chosen to publicize? What's truly vile is that psychos like you consider accurate reporting to be some sort of civil offense.

    January 3, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. Tara

    It's scary how so many people picked up on the word "play" (Colmes word) and ran with it. That's not my understanding of what happened. While I might not have done the same thing as RS did, I would be horrified to be mocked like that. I lost my son, and I'll tell you, it is the darkest place you'll ever be, and you're never the same again. I am sure I acted weird at the time – in fact I know I did. Shame on people for being so low.

    January 3, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  18. mike58

    Colmes has always been idiot. I guess he still is.

    January 3, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  19. calvin

    Certainly a sensitive and very emotional, but nevertheless, FAMILY issue that should be KEPT within the family. Issues like this have no place in a political campaign. I actually find it disgusting that he would use something like that for an election.

    January 3, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. Canadian Jim

    What the Santorums did was not out of the ordinary. IN fact go back 100 years and having the deceased in your house until the funeral was the norm in most parts of the country. IT is still practiced in some regions, as well as when the deceased is a new-born or still-born. More importantly how someone chooses to grieve the loss of a child is their perosnal business. Colmes should be fired, he crossed the line. But Fx is what it is.

    January 3, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  21. shugee

    Like all FOX commentators, this guy is a human cartoon.I say fire the lot of them and find some actual news people.

    January 3, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  22. Z

    Call it what it is...this is just another move by Fox to stir up more liberal hate...folks they have people like this on the air for this very reason, this is what conservatives want and fox is all to willing to deliver to keep their followers marching. Fox doesn't make 'accidents' like this, it's all been set up. This is exactly why America needs to do what many other parts of the world have done and ban Mr Murdoch

    January 3, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  23. Not Suprised at Anything

    There is no private life when one runs for a public offfice. If you want a private life stay out of politics. Politics has become a blood sport and entertainmenot. Politics for some has become lies, deception and selling your soul to get elected. Everyday you wonder who is being thrown into the lion's den today. Just watching some of the republicans tear each other apart and lie about our President makes me sick to my stomach.

    January 3, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  24. Paul

    Alan Colmes never knows when to keep his mouth shut – what a nitwit. He always interupts & attempts to talk over anyone he's interviewing – dump this guy...don't put him on the air – he's never worth listening to !! This incident w3as the limit !

    January 3, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  25. once upon a horse

    to be honest with you I never knew ANYBODY at FoxNews would say they were sorry for ANYTHING stupid or false that they said. Not really their style.

    January 3, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
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