February 17th, 2012
09:52 AM ET
3 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. Steve

    Keep fighting the good fight Rick! Way to stand up to the double standard of the media and the secularist who continue to push their non Christian ideology on the rest of the country. They call everyone intolerant when they are the most intolerant of us all. Need proof, read the comments on this blog or any other political or Christian blog and see the hateful and misleading post attacking those with conservative social morals. This guys joke has nothing to do with Rick Santorum.

    February 17, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  2. GordyB

    I was told this in parochial school in the early 60s before the BC pill came out! These wing nuts just keep picking sides of issues they can't win. They really don't have a clue to life in America today. It is time for the real GOPers take back the party so we can move forward and solve real issues. Government is for the entire country. Successful governing stays in the middle,avoiding extreme views. It will be a big win in November for sanity and the President.

    February 17, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  3. billy

    Santorum can not beat Obama in 2012 - only Romney can do that. Why else would Obama's campaign be attacking only Romney? So go ahead and vote for the man but then understand why you lost .Stop drinking the kool aid folks !

    February 17, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  4. UsHonor

    See what horrific things were done and how rights were denied women and young girls watch the YouTube video the gang of four starring Rick santorum.

    February 17, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  5. Milton

    Everyone. Get over and move on.

    February 17, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  6. Patrish

    He will keep putting is foot in his mouth, and I'm all for it. At 69, I personally could care less about birth control, but it shows his mentally. A stupid remark for someone that wants to be president and shows he's not quality material.

    February 17, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  7. leftcoast

    The Republican Party has crossed the line into the la-la land. The party of Lincoln and TR and Eisenhower is now just a bad joke. And yet we shouldn't laugh, because the Party is serious. What they want is to return the US to the way it was in 1800 – or earlier. They put up stupid arguments as to why the US can't have universal, comprehensive, inexpensive medical care. The only religious freedom they care about is imposing their major funder's religion on the rest of us!

    February 17, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  8. JT

    The republican's get stupider by the minute. Santorum's not even on the ballot in Virginia, D.C., and Indiana.

    February 17, 2012 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  9. fernace

    If a female nurse/mp/np/dr/do works in a hospital for profit/tax exempt for its religious/welfare afiliations, she should get the coverage of her male counterparts in preventative medicine! Point Blank! The Open Season on womens healthcare needs & concerns has to stop! It's not funny, even though these laughable buffoons show themselves for who they are! According to christian/conservative Platform, life cannot progress unless we plunge womens rights into the Last Turn of the Century! Their loss, our gain! A President who cares & lives in this millennium! Obama/2012-18!!

    February 17, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  10. manhandler

    You know, other than when Eisenhower was President, ( I'm dating myself, I guess) I've always disliked the Repulican Party and most all the things they stand for. But, hey, now I think they are sooooooo much fun and really quite amusing....a laugh a minute. They light up my life and brighten up my day. Keep it up.....I thought I was gonna die a bitter old man.

    February 17, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  11. fernace

    I meant 16, before y'all get on my math! Thanks!!

    February 17, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  12. Sarah

    Unless you are an actual comedian, don't try to make jokes! They often don't go over well.

    February 17, 2012 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  13. Olga

    Ignorant j erks would deserve that women would keep an aspirin between their knees FOR EVER.

    February 17, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  14. rapscallion

    A country with full employment has lots of problems...maybe even a non-issue as silly as this...a country with 10% unemployment has one problem....and it has nothing to do with gay rights, gun rights, civil rights, voting rights, contraceptive rights...and the list goes on...Are you all out there hearing me?

    February 17, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  15. thinkergal

    I am old enough to remember this "joke." It was pathetic in the '60s and even more insulting now.

    February 17, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  16. Lizzy10

    I'm a woman and I didn't get offended because a man dared to joke about a woman's issue-wait, isn't birth control supposed to be an issue for both woman and men? I have less respect for Santorum for "distancing" himself from the joker than I do for the guy making the joke.

    February 17, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  17. Walker

    This is the quality of person that Santorum surrounds himself with? And he wants to be President??? Not a chance.

    February 17, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  18. CC

    He destroyed his apology with this line:

    "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."

    If it's gotcha politics, you need not apologize. But you know you meant what you said. Doesn't matter. There's no way Santorum will win

    February 17, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  19. Liz the First

    Apology or no, this is the kind of knuckle-dragger who thinks Santorum would be a good president. this is the mentality he appeals to. this kind of reactionary nonsens isn't what this country is all about and we don't need someone who epitomizes this kind of neanderthal thinking running the greatest country in the world. Santorum isn't fit to run for dogcatcher!

    February 17, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  20. Liz the First

    "Bill

    This is exactly what Obama needs. The stupid liberals getting whipped up into a frenzy over a dumb joke most liberals dont even understand. This is Obamas base, the rednecks, the clueless, the people who want to be told what to do everyday. Santorum is a vote for recovery. Obama is a vote for recession that we are still in even though dems have been telling us since 2010 that we are out of the recession."
    Um, Bill, i hate to tell you this but you just described the republican base to a T. what alternate universe do you call home?

    February 17, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  21. Doug Williamson

    Bravo, Mr. Friess, it is an old joke and if it hurt someones feelings because they lack a sense of humor then they need to get the knots out of their pull-ups.
    I would love to see how many times Rev Wright's rants were aired by CNN vs FOX.
    The bias in the media is obvious.
    I applaud Mr Santorum for his candor and directness with you.
    The comment by Mr Friess is irrelevant. Let's get on with real issues: Education, Employment, foreign affairs etc.
    Leave the whining to the rich little girls.

    February 17, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  22. midgick

    That kind of male crap went out in the 60's and 70's. Guess these 1%'s didn't get it or don't care. They tell their little jokes in their all exclusive/inclusive Country Clubs and in their exclusive GOP meetings in that Private DC house and you jerks fall for it every time.Problem is that you women let them get away with this BS and don't stand up and say enough.

    February 17, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  23. midgick

    Ladies, one last thing. If you marry a pig you get to live with a pig.

    February 17, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  24. Missy

    Even though people like Romney, Gingrich, Santorum all obviously would be poor/horrible choices for President, why are so many news organizations and people still voting for them? For instance when CNN published a poll about favorability ratings showing Paul in the lead, other commentators like Chris Mathews didn't even mention it, they only mentioned the other 3. Obama may not be awesome but the fact that he's a little better than any of the others is why i think i'll stick with him come next elections

    February 17, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  25. Captainodg

    I think most Americans aren't against having a President who has a religious faith but to imply that he should run the country solely based on those beliefs in contrary to everything this Nation was founded on. Santorum gets stupider by the day.

    February 17, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
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