The 56-year-old contract worker was kidnapped in Baghdad in November and hadn't been heard from until Tuesday, when he showed up on a videotape with a rifle to his head.
"I was just dreading a video and here it was," Hallums' ex-wife Susan said. "What hit me the hardest was seeing the gun to his head."
The family said he's lost weight and seemed nervous on the tape.
"Please, President Bush, he needs your help," Susan Hallum told Los Angeles station, KTLA, which is a WB affiliate.
"This doesn't make me hopeful," his daughter Carrie told CBS News Correspondent Sandra Hughes. "It seems like a lot of times it doesn't have a good outcome when the video comes out."
On the tape, Hallums, with a rifle pointed at his head, stated his name and said "I have worked with American forces." Hallums denounces Mr. Bush as selfish and unconcerned, and appeals to Arab leaders for help.
"I am please asking for help because my life is in danger because it's been proved I worked for American forces," he said. "I'm not asking for any help from President Bush because I know of his selfishness and unconcern for those who've been pushed into this hellhole."
His daughter said these aren't her dad's true feelings and the statement must have been scripted.
"It surprised me what he said about Bush, but I know they must be feeding him, you know, what things to say," she said.
"I'm sure he was told what to say, so President Bush, please, we need your help and God's help," Susan Hallums said.
Hallums, speaking slowly, said he was asking for help from "Arab rulers especially President Moammar Gadhafi because he's known for helping those who are suffering."
"I also ask that Arab leaders help me in this situation so I can be released as quickly as possible from this definite end," he added. "I would remember this favor for the rest of my life should my life remain and I ask my family to help because my health is in a very bad situation."
The father of two was kidnapped Nov. 1 along with Robert Tarongoy of the Philippines during an armed assault on their compound in Baghdad's Mansour district. The two were working for a Saudi company that does catering for the Iraqi army.
For months Hallums' family has been trying to get attention for their father's case. Daughter Carrie has created a Web site. She still can't give up home.
"I want him back," she said. "I want him to come home. He's one of the greatest people in the world."
Hughes reports terrorism experts say there are 40 to 50 different kidnapping groups operating in Iraq.
According to a British study by a top security firm, 262 foreigners have been abducted there since last April.
Kidnapping is a tool that has been used effectively to frighten nations who have been supportive of the U.S. Effort and helping in reconstruction in Iraq.