Santorum’s wife breaks down after voter asks about their dead child

It was sparked by an attack by liberal commenter Alan Colmes on Fox.  Details:

During the question and answer portion of Rick Santorum’s second to last campaign event of the day, a voter brought up a painful memory from the former Pennsylvania senator’s past.

At a Pizza Ranch restaurant in Newton, Iowa,  a member of the audience asked Santorum to react to a controversial attack leveled by liberal Fox News contributor Alan Colmes, who called the Santorum family’s approach to grieving for their dead baby boy, who lived for only two hours after his birth in 1996, “crazy.”

In a Fox News interview on Monday, Colmes characterized Santorum’s decision to bring the deceased child home an example of “some of the crazy things he’s said and done.”

But in Iowa this afternoon, Santorum explained that it was important for his other children to “know they had a brother.”

Santorum’s wife, Karen, who was at the event and listened to her husband talk about the experience, began to weep.

“It’s just so inappropriate,” she said as tears streamed from her eyes.

Earlier on Monday, Colmes criticized Santorum’s handling of the death of the child, Gabriel Michael Santorum.

“Get a load of some of the crazy things he’s said and done, like taking his two-hour-old baby when it died right after child birth home and played with it so that his other children would know that the child was real,” the liberal pundit said in a Fox News interview.

CNN had more details of the exchange with the voter:

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.

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.”

Colmes later apologized:

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.

  • Klaire

    I had watched the video of the exchange earlier when Colmes was beyond a jerk. I didn’t think MSM could even go THAT low.

    It does prove how clueless many on the left are to the dignity of human life, and respect for the dead. To use the world “play with it” when in fact it was a private memorial service is beyond disgusting.

    I now predict Santorium will indeed be the “Iowa suprise” I had hoped. He was already gaining, but this will bring him more sympathy votes, thanks to A Colmes and may just propell him to the winner if not a close 2nd.

  • http://www.gerardnadal.com Gerard Nadal

    I’m certain that Alan Colmes was filled with remorse after his vile commentary on a dead child, and that he wept for having said what he did at least as much as Mrs. Santorum wept for having heard it.

    Nah…

    Just a little reverie on my part. Colmes is simply in full bloom. Securely ensconced on the left, his voice today spoke the sentiments of many of his fellow travelers. Welcome to ground zero in the new evangelization of the West.

  • Ed Gamboa

    Taking a position against life and human dignity is a slippery slope. It’s not surprising how far down Alan Colmes has slipped.

  • Peregrinus

    Colmes is a liberal in the sense that Genghis Khan was a humanitarian.

  • Mary M.

    Colmes is the same guy that wrote a book about Jesus being a radical. He is clueless about who Jesus is and clueless about the dignity of all human life.

  • Melody

    Why would either a news commenter or a person in the audience at a rally think it was okay to bring up something as deeply and personally painful as the death of a child? People have no respect for one another; it’s surprising anyone will run for office.

  • kevin

    Bravo to Rich Lowry who excoriated him for that astonishing comment.

  • Ellen

    Rich Lowry was indignant, while Alan Colmes just smirked. I can respect someone which whom I disagree – I don’t always agree with Juan Williams, but he is respectful and never cruel. To mock the death of a child is beyond horrid. Colmes should be shunned, but I fear he will be held up as sensible while Santorum is painted as the kook.

  • HermitTalker

    I just read 155 comments on another Catholic site. My post-Christmas season reflections added to my resolve to be the incarnation of the God-Man in my fragile weak flawed state. I try to imitate St Augustine’s maxim, Love the sinner but hate the sin. The extreme Left represented by Alan Colmes has no regard for the human dignity of any woman or man whether in the womb or born IF their view differs from theirs. Tolerance for every viewpoint with which they agree but be as PC-hostile to any view or person which does not match theirs. Right now the Extreme Left is in the popular ascendancy with Mr Obama as Cheer Leader in Chief. One also hopes and prays that the overlooked decent centre of the Body Politic steers the teeter-totter back to an even centre as the Republic weighs the 2012 election and the GOP discerns its leader. Both groups Left and Right have their extremes. GOD follows Aristotle and St Thomas Aquinas, virtue stands in the middle (excuse my Irish humour!) so we include all topics from womb to war to health care and avoid none, as humans we tend to ignore one or other topic in favour of the others, which may explain why so many Catholics fled the GOP because of Mr Bush’s war disaster and jumped into the Mr Obama lap to favour abortions, funding Pl P’hood as their just released figures revealed, almost half of their one billion from US tax dollars. Christian Humanism never can endorse any platform or Party, We are encouraged to use the Gospel of Life to advance the cause, not so much looking to the next election but to the time when the worst violations of hurting Jesus the baby in the manger and Jesus the Teacher and Jesus on death row are all reversed. We seek to reverence His presence in each person and group as Gift, and as our responsibility as stewards.

  • Donal Mahoney

    Some of us “broke down” when Santorum supported Specter in the GOP primary in PA when Specter defeated pro-life Patrick Toomey.

    http://www.newsmax.com/InsideCover/Santorum-Haunted-Pro-abortion-Specter/2011/12/31/id/422684

  • Klaire

    Don Santorum supported Specter because he promised to support the conservative judges for the SCOTUS, having the clout that Tomey didn’t have. Consequently, we got Roberts and Alito, with a lot of help from Santorum, far more important in the big picture than the Tomey win.

  • Henry Karlson

    Which just goes to show, you believe one can vote for what would be called a “pro-abortion” candidate after all. Got it.

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    It shouldn’t be a surprise that spectacle sells product, and Fox, like any other network, is less about news and more about sales.

    I don’t know that Mr Colmes is a liberal. Do we have a voting record? An endorsement from either Stephen Colbert or James Carville? From what you tell me here, he works for Fox, which means more at the forefront of his occupation is that he perform as a salesman. With all sorts of news outlets covering the GOP presidential race, it’s a klutzy race to surface to breathe (and sell) in a very crowded shallow pool.

    Unfortunately, this episode is more on Greg’s profession than the liberal ideology.

  • http://breadhere.wordpress.com Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

    While I find what Colmes did despicable, calling him a liberal is a joke. Being out of line is being out of line but not the territory of those who are “liberal” by the standards of a life of Hannity and Colmes. He is not firmly ensconced anywhere liberal that I know.

    Honestly my dear friend Deacon Greg, using that word in the opening line of your post is inflammatory in an already painful and challenging situation. I am not one to question your judgment, but was that really necessary? It does make for the kind of viral blogging that will go places, but I’m not really sure it is befitting of you. And by now I hope you know how much love and respect I offer these words with.

  • Deacon Greg Kandra

    Fran…

    Colmes uses the word to describe himself — and operates a website he calls “Liberaland.” From his biography on the site:

    After a string of successful radio shows on WNBC, WABC and WMCA in New York, Alan Colmes gained a reputation as a hard-hitting liberal known for his electric commentary on the American agenda. He has interviewed many key political and pop culture figures, including President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, Lynn Cheney, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senators John Kerry and John McCain, Newt Gingrich, Deepak Chopra, and Carole King.

    Also, I don’t consider “liberal” to be a dirty word, just a descriptive one. Like “conservative” or “moderate.” It is what it is, and Colmes wears that adjective proudly.

    Dcn. G.

  • http://breadhere.wordpress.com Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

    True enough, true enough. Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

  • Klaire

    Fran I’m honestly just trying to understand why you are so sensitive to words when, as Dcn. Greg pointed out, “it is what it is.” I ask that because I notice it more and more with my liberal (admittingly and proud of it), friends.

    I am almost beginning to wonder if the left hasn’t for the most part succeeded in making the culture “word paranoid.” As a conservative, I find if I object to policy, I’m “racist”, when in point of fact I couldn’t have been a bigger fan of Herman Cain. If I point out libel from the left, I’m accused of “hate mongering.”

    Seriously, this is scary stuff, as it leads to silencing, and eventually dictorship. I only mention it here because you are the first that I have seen it come from in a Catholic Forum (save for the far left who come by now and then).

    Truth is still truth, regardless of what names we get called for speaking it.

  • Klaire

    The church never said that wasn’t true Henry, but it better be a pretty darn good reason, SCOTUS being one of them, as these are life appointments that shape cultural. As a result, we have two pro life (and Catholic), SCOTUS judges.

    If you have any reason to justify Obama’s pro abortion agenda, I’m all ears.

  • daisy

    None of this would’ve happend if Santorum had kept this private event just that.

  • daisy

    Also to be honest, I think taking an embalmed rigor mortised corpse home is odd. Colmes was crude and cruel but not too far from the thinking of most people.

  • Al DelG

    I believe that it was Colmes who originally brought up the death of Santorum’s child and their manner of grieving, not the other way around. Santorum certainly had the right, and in fact obligation to respond to such a crude, insulting atttack.

    As someone who’s first child was stillborn, I fully understand what they did. The time my wife and I spent with him, although in the hospital, was truly precious and unforgettable.

  • Klaire

    Wow Daisy, that’s about as bad as Colmes’ comment. So now Santorium gets what he deserves because he publically honored the dignity of his son’s life?

    The state of CA is rewriting history textbooks to include GLTB “history” at the expense of student education/truth so a small percentage of its residents can “feel good” (an example of Colme’s left world), yet you dump on a father for extolling the dignity of his dead son, and then blame him for hateful comments?

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    I can only speak for one person on the left–myself. I don’t think Mr Colmes’ cloddish behavior has anything to do with his being a liberal. He does work for Fox, and while I don’t watch him or most anything “newsy” on that network, that is also “what it is.”

    I don’t have a problem with calling people on words. I write as a serious avocation and for a second source of income, and I take the written word a lot more seriously than the televised word. I haven’t called you, Klaire, a racist, and as you insist you are not, I would be ready to defend your good name were anyone to toss that epithet your way.

    As for “silencing” and “dictatorship,” I can only advise you to do as I’ve done on conservative web sites for the past decade or more: don’t back down from your principles, and argue your points of view with a skill and sharpness that comes from engaging people who think differently from you.

  • Al DelG

    It doesn’t sound like you’ve ever experienced a perinatal loss. Support groups for this type of grief do in fact support spending time with a child’s body and support bringing the body home overnight as an option.

  • kevin

    Daisy, it was their baby. Santorum said he did it so that his other children would know that he was real and not some figment of their imagination for 9 months.

    I mean really.

    Was it odd for President Kennedy’s hands to be pried off his son Patrick’s tiny coffin in 1963?

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    Actually, I disagree. It could be that Mr Colmes is a little squeamish at the direct encounter with death–not unlike the modern American culture.

    Two things–before the ascent of the funeral industry, people used to wake the dead in their homes, and bury them simply. Speaking for myself, I wouldn’t object to being waked in my home, but I will probably choose the church instead. Speaking as a liberal, I can see how Fox would trumpet the conservative/corporate line on this: hide the dead, smooth over the loss of life, and make it all look pretty with make-up and misinformation.

    As for “verification,” my wife does animal rescue and has had two dozen pets in her life. Animals bond with each other, and sometimes the humane treatment of animals involves letting them know a member of the pack has died. If doing it is a good idea for cats and dogs, it seems sensible to allow brothers and sisters to say farewell to a deceased sibling. It’s a very Catholic thing.

  • Deacon Steve

    Daisy do you think it odd too that we take the bodies of dead presidents or former presidents and have them displayed in the rotunda of the Capitol building? Why is it bad to want to honor the life, however brief it was, of a child in the presence of your other children. I have not protected my children from the death of loved ones and we have taken them to every funeral we could. Both my children have a healthy understanding of death because they were not sheltered. What is awful in this case is that someone chose to intentionally inflict pain on this family for political ends.

  • daisy

    Pardon me, I meant to type unembalmed. BTW, I lost a child four years ago. It was very hard but my grief and manner of grieving were private and not for all the world to see in a book or speech.

  • deacon john m. bresnahan

    The most bizarre comments here,in my opinion, are the ones which blame FOX as a corporation for the callous, nasty, revolting comments by Colmes, one of their regular liberal commentators. I suppose FOX should fire all its liberal commenters so it can become “Johnny-One-Note” like MSNBC which frequently has panels of 3, 4, or 5 liberals all nodding in agreement with each other.
    The fact of the matter is that, in my experience, too many liberals in discussing issues involving young human life are just as callous, nasty, and revolting as Colmes, but few in the media want to vigorously call them out on it —instead, just treat such anti-life verbiage blandly (Gee! What’s the problem here??) to help promote anti-life attitudes become “mainstream.”

  • Klaire

    Thanks Todd. You are the “best of the left” by far. It’s a shame more liberals can’t be as respectful as you.

    I might disagree with you on Fox if you are implying that Fox is a conservative station. While they are the “most conservative” of the MSM cable networks, they are far from being a conservative channel. On the other hand, compared to MSNBC, Fox is up there with EWTN!

  • http://www.canonlaw.info Ed Peters

    I was about to post what I think of Alan Colmes, but I see that he apologized, and that the the Santorums accepted his apology. So that closes the incident, imho.

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    Well, John, my view is that these pseudo-news efforts are more about selling product than actual journalism. In a way, they’re all like Jerry Springer and Howard Stern: whatever shocks people into watching–that must be good. Far from bizarre, my comments are cynical and realistic.

    I find that people disconnected from human life–conservatives and liberals alike–tend to nasty behavior. Neither ideological extreme has the line on virtue all wrapped up. And indeed, it’s more likely you’ll get bombers, gunfire, terrorism, and insults from people who have become so wrapped up in their schtick they view moderates as crazy radicals. Pro-life people have been, alas, tarred by association with those who have gunned down doctors. Maybe I don’t like being associated with Mr Colmes, and I’m pretty sure the pro-life movement would like to disavow Scott Roeder. But we don’t always get what we want, do we?

  • http://www.canonlaw.info Ed Peters

    Santorum’s support for Spector was a monumental miscalculation, yes, but, I mean, c’mon, the man has paid his debt to wronged principles. say what you want about his chances, but the man has paid his dues. Time to move along.

  • pagansister

    I never heard of this man, but his comments were uncalled for and totally insensitive in every way. The death of a child—at 2 minutes, 2 hours, 2 days, 2 months, 2 years or 22 years or older is always terrible. What did bringing that up have to do with the qualifications of Santorum as a candidate for president?
    Absolutely nothing. All it did was bring up a sad time in his life. (and that of his wife, of course.)

  • Melody

    My condolences on the loss of your child, Daisy.
    One thing I have observed over the years is that people process grief in very different ways; also families vary greatly as to what is customary. For instance, in my husband’s family it was the custom to bid farewell to the deceased by kissing the forehead of the dead person before the coffin was closed. My husband was a little shocked when I refused to do that with my deceased loved ones. My reasoning was that their soul was gone; I didn’t want my last memory of them to be the cold touch of death; and like you I preferred to grieve them in private.
    I think the most heartbreaking thing I ever saw was at the funeral home visitation of the child of one of my husband’s co-workers. The poor little boy had fought cancer for 2 of his 3 years. He wore a knitted cap because he had no hair, and his skin was so pale as to almost be transparent. His mother was rocking his body with tears streaming. She said she had been unable to hold him for the last six months, because he was so fragile, and had been full of tubes and needles. I will always remember that sight. I think the biggest favor we can do the grieving is to let them do it their own way.

  • Ronald King

    I think it was a blessing in disguise when Colmes made his, at best, insensitive and stupid attack against Santorum. It shed light on Colmes’ lack of compassion for another’s pain and may influence others to do the same. He apologized, which means he took responsibility for his wrong and may influence others to do the same–hopefully. We experienced the humanity(vulnerability) in a candidate which gives hope that he will generalize this compassion and vulnerability to the social positions in which he has been observed as rigid and uncaring. It is a sad time for millions on the fringes of society who have been dismissed as pathological and invalidated. Hopefully, his pain will turn into compassion for their pain.

  • Mark

    Klaire, you will wait a long time for this answer and if one comes, it will fall amazingly short of being close to a proportionate reason called for by the USCCB and even more so by the Pope in his discussion on non negotiable Catholic teaching on abortion.

  • Mark

    As Klaire said above, because of the agreement that spector would support pro life judges, we beneifted. One has to wonder if Toomey had any real chance. I not the supposed pro life democrat Casey ran up a 47% pro life voting record which was about the same as supposedly pro abortion specter over the years. I would have liked to see Santorum support Toomey, but as you say, it is water over the damn at this point and one has to give strong consideration to the agreements gained for that support that helped pro life needs.

  • Mark

    Todd, your post shows that despite your claim to occasionaly watch Fox, you have obviously never tuned in if you question Colmes far left liberal postion. He of course has no voting record as he was never in office. And there are more liberals who have positions at Fox and are on the air commenting than you will see conservatives on any other network. Colmes was co host of a show.

  • Mark

    Daisy, Santorum’s wife wrote a wonderful book on the entire matter. You might want to read it.

  • Mark

    I know many pro abortion people do not see the baby as a human being, but this is far from odd. Last time I looked, there is quite a large number of funeral homes where friends and family come to view the body of a loved one. I know several people who have done this same thing after a loss as devastating as this is to those who are pro life and see the baby in the womb as human from conception.

  • http://zerohedge.com Misericordia

    True story, my brother was 12 when the baby died in the hospital. He asked the nuns why God would allow it. They said something harsh and he turned his back on the faith right then, till now, nearly 50 years later.

    Haven’t we learned by now to face the music, to not bury wounds?

  • http://zerohedge.com Misericordia

    Judge Napolitano firmly endorse Ron Paul. And he made the law for many years, so he knows the terrible pickle we are in.

    Martin Armstrong, former head of Long Term Capital Management was put away for 10 years for contempt of court.
    He says Ron Paul is our last hope.

    You and I are outliers to the justice system, but with this passage of ‘indefinite detention’ without trial, wait and see how many of those you admire begin to disappear. Isn’t the Social Justice committee in your parish active?


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