February 17th, 2012
09:52 AM ET
2 years ago

Friess apologizes for birth control comment

(CNN) – Rick Santorum backer Foster Friess apologized Friday for a now-viral comment he made Thursday about contraception.

"After listening to the segment ... I can understand how I confused people with the way I worded the joke and their taking offense is very understandable," Friess wrote in a blog post. "To all those who took my joke as modern day approach I deeply apologize and seek your forgiveness."

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His apology came after Republican presidential candidate Santorum distanced himself from the statement and women's advocacy groups criticized the billionaire mutual fund manager.

Friess joked Thursday that women used Bayer aspirin as birth control "back in (his) days."

"The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn't that costly," he said on MSNBC.

Later Thursday Friess, who has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to a pro-Santroum super PAC, said it was a joke and suggesting aspirin as a form of contraception "is pretty ridiculous and quite funny."

Santorum said Friday he is not responsible for comments from a donor and accused the media of "gotcha politics."

"It was a bad joke, it was a stupid joke. It's not reflective of me or my record on this issue," Santorum said on CBS "This Morning." "This is the same gotcha politics that you get from the media and I'm just not going to play that game."

The former Pennsylvania senator's comments followed statements from Planned Parenthood and the National Organization for Women.

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards called birth control "basic health care," adding it is "not something to belittle on national TV."

And while Santorum called it "bad joke," he also said questioning over the issue represents a double standard from the media.

"With President Obama what you did was you went out and defended him against someone who he sat in a church for for 20 years and defended him that oh, he can't possibly believe what he listened to for 20 years," Santorum said referencing the controversial comments from Obama's former Rev. Jeremiah Wright. "It's a double standard, it's what you're pulling off and I'm going to call you on it."


Filed under: 2012 • Health care • Rick Santorum
soundoff (595 Responses)
  1. tonyl

    I wonder we should ask this guy or Santorum if his wife follows his advice on using Aspirin between legs as a birth control. I can say the same that it is just a joke.

    February 17, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. pappyo

    Shaddup–that there's FUNNY!

    February 17, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. Hugganoak

    OK, I find myself in the awkward position of defending someone I disagree with. I wouldn't ever vote for Santorum or any of the other Republican jokers, but I do feel this is much ado about nothing. Friess was not serious, did not intend it to be serious, and was just repeating an old joke about how aspirin could be used for birth control (but the joke never meant it, and neither did Friess). I remember the joke: "To use aspirin as a birth control device, the female should pick up the pill, place it on one knee, and then cross her legs to firmly plant the other knee on top of the one with the aspirin. Keep them that way for as long as necessary." OK, it doesn't play as well in these modern times, but Friess was not being malicious when he told it.

    February 17, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. Mike

    Why is CNN even bringing this up? I am 68 yrs. old and the first time I heard it was over 50 yrs. ago, A older sister told her younger sister this when she was going on her first date. Boy you folks do not have enought to do.

    February 17, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. Jack Be Humble

    Many "Fundamentalist" churches teach that Wives must obey their husbands in all ways. A wife in such a church would not have the right to "abstinance" if her husband made a demand for intercourse, and such a demand would not be considered rape. To what church does Mr. Santorum go when he is not campaigning? Just curious.

    February 17, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. tonyl

    Rick Santorum is the new Jesus return to save the Christian right wing nuts.

    February 17, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  7. Ronald

    Why should anyone be surprised about the comment. He supports Santorum and he has very backward ideas about women and what they should and shouldn't do with their own bodies. He is a GOP/Tea Party guy and we all know how much they love to tell women what to do!

    February 17, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. kc

    I get the joke – most of you don't. It wasn't a slap at women or their health issues or anything like that. Older folks knew then and know now that abstanance is the very best form of birth contol. That's it. The joke's realy on those who freel it's the governments or their employeers responsibility to provide them with ways to cover their own irresponsible actions.

    February 17, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  9. chico lefoux

    Look at all the libs whining: "He's advocating personal responsibility!" Now go cash your welfare checks and get your crack. And if the cops show up, just hide it in your baby's daiper.

    February 17, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  10. No Sense of Humor

    Man, partisans (both R & D) are dragging us down as a race. Even if you didn't find it funny, it was a joke. You know, something someone says to elicit laughter (and not sarcastic or forced mocking laughter). J-O-K-E... joke... *psst* Need to develop that sense of humor. Not every statement has to be scrutinized for a partisan take on an issue. Let it go. Move on. And frankly, if you do want to analyze it, maybe some people should learn to keep their legs closed.

    February 17, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  11. linda Collins

    The GOP always has and always will be about oppressing the rights of woman. What is sad is that Republican woman still vote these cavemen into office, why? because Daddy brings home the $ and they can breed, shop and be basically useless. Takes hard work and intellegence to stand up for yourself.

    February 17, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  12. John

    Why Is It that these Clowns get a head In the Polls and than they start saying thing they shouldn't be saying. So who going to be on tops of the polls next weeks. What a joke this Is becoming.

    February 17, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  13. claudial

    The Republicans have a "Cadillac Plan" for life. To them, life begins at conception & it loses all value at birth.

    This is completely unacceptable in 2012 and women reject their war on women, poverty, Hispanics, Blacks, gays, the middle class, healthcare & the environment, I left much out, but we get the picture.

    February 17, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. Independent_me

    Does anyone remember Se. Jim DeMint's remarks 3 years ago that the Republican Party was the American Taliban???

    That is the template that they are using in dealing with women's issues... repress, deny rights and silence women when they try to defend themselves. They are the Taliban in suits...

    February 17, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  15. Hark

    Whining, crybaby, thin skinned libs...Whhhaaa!..
    Making Mountains out of molehills!

    February 17, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  16. The Greedy Old Pigs declared class war on US!

    "From all the hooplaw about the abortion/contraception issue, it sounds like liberals are for promiscuity and increasing the number of baby mommas and children on welfare, due to deadbeat dads, and when the contraception methods don't work, after all none are 100% effective.....except abstinence."

    Obviously, liberals are not "for" promiscuity or "increasing the number of baby mommas and children on welfare" nor does it even "sound like they are for" promiscuity, etc. What you radical rightwing extremists can't seem to comprehend is that contraception (and sometimes abortion) REDUCE "the number of baby mommas and children on welfare." It's mind-boggling that people like you can't even comprehend simple math. It's why no one listens when you make sweeping fact free statements about "common sense." The fact you can't see the difference between an increase and a decrease tells us you have no common sense.

    February 17, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  17. Taran

    @momma4obama, you obviously did not check very well, with the limited variation in reading that you do, the person that said the healtcare law will increase the deficit rather than decrease it, is one of the prime architects of the law itself. As you say,,,thanks for playing.

    February 17, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  18. AmesIA

    It is telling what idiots think is funny. Ha ha, the people that work for me are so poor they need food stamps to feed their kids – hilarious! That gal Sue proves the maxim that bad news comes in threes, I fired her, she got breast cancer after her insurance ran out and then her husband lost their house from all the medical bills – tee hee.

    February 17, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  19. rob

    @ Hugganoak

    Thankyou for being reasonable about this complete non issue.

    February 17, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. Robert

    "It was a bad joke, it was a stupid joke. It's not reflective of me or my record on this issue,"

    Based on what I've seen of Rick at the debates, this isn't his position.
    He wouldn't even give her an asprin because all contraception is sinfull

    February 17, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  21. a in austin

    I wasn't confused at all – I WAS OFFENDED AND INSULTED!

    February 17, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  22. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Ricky Santorum plays the Rev Wright card one week after bringing up the Snookie Palin death panel lie. He has nothing.

    February 17, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  23. Jake

    too late! it already gave some of his new followers a closer glimpse at the crazy so many of us already knew about Santorum and his disgusting campaign!

    February 17, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  24. NVa Native

    tarzan the ape boy ~ again you speak foolish fluently, and then try insult those that do read for being on your level of dysfunction.
    The President’s healthcare reform reduces deficit, no matter how many times you click your heels while wearing your ruby slippers and repeat the opposite ~ it will not be so.

    February 17, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @Taran/Gurgi (et al, etc.)
    You're doing more Flip Flopping than Mitt Romney babe.

    February 17, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
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