February 17th, 2012
09:52 AM ET
11 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. Thomas

    Santorum is one Uptight dude , I feel for his sons.

    The GOP is the Angry Daddy State ,

    February 18, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  2. Steven Bannister


    BUT – What every happened to Liberals? Back in the days of George Carlin, SNL, etc they used to be a humorous, light-hearted group of people. Now they are downright nasty and humorless – unless it's Jon Stewart telling the joke of course.

    February 18, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  3. clarke

    The only men who qualify to talk about Women's health issues are Doctors who are in that field, of course felmales without question. Otherwise keep your mouth shut. I don't care what your beliefs are, they belong to you and not me. Thank you.

    February 18, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  4. manemang

    Now I see why they call Aspirin the "Wonder drug"

    February 18, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  5. gotnotimetobleed

    Ohh, please!! STOP!! My sides are hurting I'm laughing SO HARD from that joke!! Ugh!! Yeah, OBVIOUSLY, HIS momma never used that type of birth control....Oh yeah, NOW it's not SO FUNNY when we're talking about HIS momma!! Get a grip you stooge!! Let people choose!! Ugh!! It's probably easier to roll over and let BIG BROTHER decide a method of birth control for ALL. Jeesh!!!

    February 18, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  6. Anonymous

    "Thank you Jesus for not making me liberal."

    Really? When I read the words of Christ it made me liberal. Can you even read words and comprehend what they mean?

    February 18, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  7. Tom

    We should forgive him just the way the GOP forgives everyone?

    February 18, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  8. fbysea

    Everytime they get caught with their big, reactionary, bigoted foot in their mouth, it becomes a joke.

    February 18, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. Carmen

    Whats so funny about this joke is that somehow birth control is solely the responsibility of the woman, but these men want to be the ones to say who, what kind and when women can use it. Just about Christian Taliban.

    February 18, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  10. Anonymous

    al ribnick said: "So what exactly is the problem- an asprin between the knees is as good as just keeping the legs together- my mom was told the same thing by her mom. It is funny- lighten up."

    Obviously, YOUR mother didn't follow that advice by keeping the aspirin between her knees, so now the rest of us have to put up with her failure to keep her legs crossed!

    Hehehe – lighten up Al – it's JUST a joke.

    February 18, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  11. DianeRPCFL

    al ribnick said: "So what exactly is the problem- an asprin between the knees is as good as just keeping the legs together- my mom was told the same thing by her mom. It is funny- lighten up."

    Obviously your MOTHER didn't follow her mother's advice about "keeping the aspirin between her knees or just keeping the legs together" – Hey, Al – how's that joke now – ???

    February 18, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  12. BADGUY

    Santorum sounds like a "whiney brat". He COULD HAVE danced out of the reporter's question by just saying "Hey, Mr. Friess, just made a mistake, he apologized for it, and here's my feelings on the subject.....blah, blah, blah" But...he DIDN'T...he stamped his feet and didn't answer the question. This IS NOT the kind of "caliber" we need as President.

    February 18, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  13. Front Snaxx

    Of course it was a joke, even if you didnt find it funny. Only those with a single digit IQ would take the suggestion that aspirin is an actual contraceptive seriously. Back in my day I heard this advice given by women to young girls euphemistically as encouragement for abstinence. It's analogous to the advice given to a lot of young men to "keep it in your pants".

    February 18, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  14. clarke

    The media loves to rip things apart. they think it is the thing to do. People need to step back and not be so thin skinned. Back in the day, we said a lot of things. Some were funny and I admitt, some were not, but who didn't. People need to get a grip. Sometimes the media just needs to stand down.

    February 18, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. sensible

    He wasn't joking.....he didn't even crack a smile!

    February 18, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  16. If the truth be known

    "Any ad which quotes what I said on Sunday is a falsehood" Newt Gingrich

    Lets give credit where credit is due. No one covers their past idiotic statements like this grand master.

    February 18, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  17. Dan Ballard

    No, it wasn't "an attempt at humor." It was shameless condesention attempted to be disguised as humor.

    February 18, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  18. Dave R.

    "Stupid is as stupid does". Because Friess has shoen he is dumb enough to make that coment, he deserved what he got.

    February 18, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  19. CatLib

    I do not need to apologize for the truth!
    As a lady, a woman must maintain her posture or she is doomed to all kinds of problems, beginning with murder of the innocent life.

    February 18, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  20. Just ... wow

    Sure it was a joke. I probably heard it the first time when I was a young teenager. It wasn't funny then, just "stupid-boy" humor, akin to bathroom sort of humor, and it hasn't aged well - nor has this creep claiming it as a joke. Next in his repertoire is likely something referring to girls having cooties, I'm betting, unless he gets censored.
    When a joke is truly a joke, you pick the right sort of humor for your audience, else brace yourself for your bad choices, your tactlessness, immaturity, insensitivity and good ole boy lack of class to come back and slap you in the... face

    February 18, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
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