What Fresh Hell Is This?

September 29, 2005

Meet the Santorums: Just Your Average All American Family

The City Paper -- Philadelphia's, not Pittsburgh's -- has all the heartwarming details on America's Favorite Dysfunctional Family.

A sample:

When she met Rick, Karen was living with Tom Allen, an OBGYN who in the early-1970s cofounded Pittsburgh's first abortion clinic. It was a somewhat unusual pairing. Allen was the doctor who delivered Karen. She began living with him while an undergraduate nursing student at Pittsburgh's Duquesne University. She was in her early 20s, he was in his 60s.

"When she moved out to go be with Rick, she told me I'd like him, that he was pro-choice and a humanist," said Allen, an elderly but vibrant man, during a brief conversation on the porch of his Pittsburgh row home. "But I don't think there's a humanist bone in that man's body."


Gabriel Michael Santorum lived for only two hours. The Santorums spent the night in the hospital bed with their lifeless baby lying between them. The next morning they brought the palm-sized corpse to Karen's parent's house. They had their other children pose for pictures and cuddle with Gabriel. They sang lullabies and held a private mass.


Here at the Carlisle courthouse, the College Republican rally draws to a close. The Santorum campaign is filming the event for a campaign commercial to be aired sometime next spring as the election heats up. Little 4-year-old Patrick becomes overwhelmed by the crowd and the cameras and begins to cry. Santorum takes his son in his arms and seeks out a quiet spot on the edge of the crowd, just a few feet from where I'm standing.

"You did wonderful," he says, hugging and comforting the child. "You're such a brave boy."

The cameramen pick up on the touching moment and rush over to film it. Karen follows and notices that Patrick's tear-streaked face is turned away from the camera. Karen tells her husband to turn around so their son can be filmed.

The senator obliges.


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