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. Taran

    @Tom Paine, I haven't read, but were you able to verify, to your satisfaction, what you asked me about yesterday, about the architect of the healthcare law now saying that it would actually raise the deficit rather than lowering it?

    February 17, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. westhillsgirl

    wow, I cannot believe the nasty comments over a man telling a joke about birth control in the 50s and 60s. No one found it offensive then. It is strange that liberals are allowed to judge others relentlessly, make horrendous comments against anyone who doesn't think like they do, and yet view themselves as being wonderful people. But then liberals are fine with attacks on Christianity, and they love destroying unborn babies, as well as wanting everyone to be dependent on those who work for a living. Liberal media tends to ignore any wrongs done by liberals, including our president. How can the media ignore a man running for the presidency of this country saying that he sat in a church for 20 years and never knew what the pastor spoke about? At least question the mans attention span.

    February 17, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. Cynthia - Arkansas

    What about the ridiculous hearing yesterday? Was that a joke too? I think we see who the joke is here. I find it interesting that the people defending the remark on here are MEN!

    February 17, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. ja

    that is just the tip of the iceberg, imagine rick as pres, we would go back to the dark ages, every rich sob don't deserve the presidency

    February 17, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. Malory Archer

    The fact is that he used his stupid little comment to totally avoid answering Andrea Mitchell's question, and THAT is where the problem lies. While his comment may be acceptable for cocktail parties, it's an entirely inappropriate comment for a national audience.

    February 17, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. svscnn

    I'm am FAR, FAR, FAR from a Santorum supporter, but c'mon. If we were all held accountable for every bad joke made by someone we know...

    6 degrees to Kevin Bacon people.

    February 17, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. Malory Archer

    rob, your gasoline is already heavily subsidized by the Federal Government. If it wasn't you would be paying 2-3 times as much every time you gas up.

    February 17, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  8. bobcat ( in a hat )

    @ Cynthia – Ark

    Get over your womens lib self. That is a joke that's been around as long as aspirin.

    February 17, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  9. News Junky

    Remember when Ralph Kramden used to shake his fist and say "To the moon, Alice!". As a child, the implication that he threatened to beat her was not funny to me, and neither is the implication of his joke. Classless...

    February 17, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. Debbie

    This is a lie added on top of a horrible point on women. I watched the interview and not only was it not a joke Freiss had the opportunity to say he was joking and did not. There is no way to spin this. You add this to GOP Issa's Congressional panel of no women and you see the GOP platform. Even if the issue was Church/State there was not one female Bishop or other high ranking religious female on the panel. This is the GOP platform on women, second class citizens. And that is not a joke.

    February 17, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. Demonhunter

    Liberals like Andrea Mitchell are obviously too stupid to get the joke and have no sense of humor.

    February 17, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. Mysticlady

    Unplanned pregnancy is no joke, especially if you live in a state that is makes abortion difficult. Men have absolutely no business commenting or making policy on women's health issues. It has nothing to do with them. Hopefully these cretins like Santorum, Issa, McDonnell & other like minded cretins will not have the opportunity to do any more damage than they already have. The religious right can go to he'll.

    February 17, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  13. mommytwice

    The Republican Party has no use for women's issues..they've proved it again and again. How many "jokes" have to flop out of the GOP clown car before these people are no longer taken seriously as anyone we'd want running this country??

    February 17, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. Mel

    Wow, old republican men have a lame sense of humor. It's not that the joke is offensive, it's just lame. If this is all you got then maybe put some of that money in paying a writer to update your twitter for you so you can some jokes that aren't out of 1920. Seriously, is my grandmother writing this guys blog?

    Also, I was completely unaware that the vast majority of the American public (or maybe it is just conservatives) are ignorant of the fact that a large number of women take female contraceptives for medical reasons. Just when I think people can't get more ignorant, they always prove me wrong. Guess this is what happens when politicians and religion rewrite school books.

    February 17, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  15. westhillsgirl

    yogi

    @ AEK and DandyStriker, great posts!
    Typical Republican: you are spewing garbage and then you apologize timidly.
    Thank God we have dignity in the White House, and four more years to offset the shameful GOP.
    February 17, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
    ---------------------------------------------Are you serious. Dignity in the WH? We have a president who was first elected into the senate by getting rid of his oppenents.(even though one of them was his good friend) . His one vote, while a senator, was to vote "yes" to allowing aborted babies who survived to be set aside without medical care of any kind until they die. Oh yeah he's dignified.

    February 17, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  16. Reddog9500

    It's a damn shame that Friess' mother didn't use the technique to avoid producing such a waste.

    February 17, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  17. Keith

    I'm an Obama supporter, but I'll agree that Santorum (as much as I disagree with him policies) is not automatically responsible for the comments of a donor provided Santorum comes right out and states his disagreements with those statements (which he did). However, Rick's comment about the media defending Obama against Wright, that's normal GOP "spin". CNN did plenty of coverage about that lame controversy. Santorum is doing nothing more than demonstrating his highly restricted view of the world and his highly restricted view of the media.

    February 17, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  18. 1nd3p3nd3nt

    I can respect people's choice to want to remain abstinent.
    But can't they also respect our choice to use technology to better our lives via contraception?

    God gave us legs, not wheels, yet I don't see anyone complaining about driving our cars around.

    February 17, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. Lisa P

    By the way, I commend Mr. Freiss for his public apology. I don't agree at all with his political or social views, but he is right to take responsibility for joking about his position in a way that was very easily misunderstood. I wish more people - and especially politicians - were so honest about their public statements and misstatements and flat-out mistakes.

    February 17, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Taran - @Tom Paine, I haven't read, but were you able to verify, to your satisfaction, what you asked me about yesterday, about the architect of the healthcare law now saying that it would actually raise the deficit rather than lowering it?
    ============================================================================================
    Not sure it really matters as one of the key components in Obamacare that was supposed to reduce costs HAS ALREADY BEEN ABANDONED AS IMPRACTICAL. Just about ALL of the claimed "savings" came from this long term care provision. Obamacare has been one disaster after another, even before most of it takes affect. Can you imagine the disaster it will bring if fully implemented?

    February 17, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. Malory Archer

    If BC isn't a covered benefit, then "male enhancement drugs" shouldn't be covered either. If a guy can't "rise to the task", then he can't get a woman pregnant. Birth control problem solved!

    February 17, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  22. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Malory Archer - rob, your gasoline is already heavily subsidized by the Federal Government. If it wasn't you would be paying 2-3 times as much every time you gas up
    ============================================================================================
    Total BS. Post some facts to back this up. Gas is more expensive in Europe because of all the taxes they place on it to support their insane social spending.

    February 17, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  23. Lizzie

    It's a joke, get over it. Oh I get it, the other side said it.

    February 17, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  24. The ugly truth

    Malory, gasoline is actually heavily taxed, not subsidized.

    February 17, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  25. yogi

    @ ConnieW: I understand your explanation, but who will you be voting for then?

    February 17, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
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