NEWTON, Iowa - Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum grew teary-eyed Monday when a voter asked him to respond to criticism of the way he and his family honored the life of their son Gabriel, who died shortly after birth.
"We tried everything we could to save his life and we failed," Santorum said, blinking back tears before a crowd of roughly 150 people in at a Pizza Ranch restaurant in Newton. "He was delivered and he lived about two hours. He was delivered at about 3 o'clock in the morning and he lived and he died in our arms."
A Fox commentator recently criticized Santorum for his decision to bring his son's dead body home and spend a night with the child before he was buried.
"We brought Gabriel home to bury him and we brought him home so our children could see him," Santorum said. His wife, Karen, "told all of us that it was so important to recognize — for the family to recognize — the life of that child and for all the children to know that they had a brother."
Karen Santorum, standing at her husband's side, also grew visibly emotional, as did some in the crowd. The crowd erupted in applause when Santorum finished.