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. Florida Dude

    I saw the clip and was trying my best to find the joke of it all. Men speaking about womens issues is a joke.

    February 17, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  2. Joel

    Is it 1970 already?

    February 17, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  3. sara

    It's obviously "back in the day" it didn't work...look at him.

    February 17, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  4. rs

    He may have apologized, but let's be honest- this is how Republicans feel about women, birth control and the abortion issue.
    In other words, combining Santorum's and Romney's stances on this with the GOP's desire to do away with the Voting Rights Act; their hatred for the poor and working classes; fear spreading around Hispanics; and their lunacy around Obama being born in Africa, I think we get a pretty good idea of who the GOP wants to rule for: Old, rich white men.

    February 17, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  5. AL in West Palm Beach


    Beating a dead horse, will not make it gallop into the sunset.

    February 17, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  6. joke?

    It was just a joke. An older lady (motherly figure to my wife) gave us a bottle of aspirin and said, put one between your legs. As she cackled, so did I. This man is sharing the same back in the day joke. Oh no, women are going to stop using birth control or try to use aspirin! Idiots...

    February 17, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  7. mbER

    Please, please, please GOP, start up the culture war again. Music to a progressive's ears.

    February 17, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Yeah the media so defended President Obama vis-a-vis Rev.(choke) Wright's comments that the man had to give a nationally televised speech to squash the subject.

    Inr egards to your billionaire friend, I did'nt find it funny BUT I also took it for what it was an unsuccessful attempt at humor. I find it quite interesting, Sanatorium, that you've taken great steps to distance yourself from this silly comment yet allowed soemone in your audience to depict our President as a Muslim terrorist without a peep of contradiction from you.

    Shut up. Sit down.
    Obama 2012.

    February 17, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  9. AutobotsVSDecepticons

    So... Am I to understand from Santorum's defence that his spiritual advisor is a billionaire mutual fund manager?

    February 17, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  10. DandyStryker

    The problem is, these pigs really mean it when they make offensive jokes like that. He's only "apologizing" because he got a little too honest, and let the cat out of the bag. Republicons literally want to write their personal religious mumbojumbo into public law - and, for them, anyone who disagrees is trampling on their "religious freedom."

    February 17, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  11. blf83

    As our friend Forrest said, "Stupid is a stupid does."

    February 17, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  12. jag

    "Gotcha politics", really? This guy is funding Santorum's campaign and gets asked a simple question re: birth control and he responds in a irresponsible way with a smile and it's the media's fault. Then Santorum wants to bring up Rev Wright, seriously? I'm completely dumbfounded and appalled. These guys are dangerous. Don't think behind close doors that those so called "gotch moments" aren't being discussed in term of implementing them in policy. It's more like a "Freudian slip".

    February 17, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  13. Phil

    Oh good God, people. And you accuse conservatives of being uptight? Get a grip, people... You get all tickled when one of your own pokes the other side in the ribs, but you get all indignant and self-righteous when a well-placed elbow lands in your ribs? Guess it's true what they say... people get offended the most when you hit them in the face with the truth. Don't wanna get pregnant? Skeet on the rug.

    February 17, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  14. vatoloke

    "This is the same gotcha politics that you get from the media and I'm just not going to play that game."

    Any candidate that quotes Silly Sarah has no business even imagining that they can sit in the Oval Office.

    February 17, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  15. melodypoet

    The aspirin held between the knees for birth control is a really old joke and I, a woman, still find it hilarious. People, get a grip on yourselves and enjoy life while you can.

    February 17, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  16. Gerry Kolody

    There is no confusion over this man's remarks.

    February 17, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    That's right, Rick, blame the media and deflect attention from yourself. Its odd that Santorum dredges up Rev. Wright, whom Obama distanced himself from, while embracing a radical version of Catholicism most Catholics don't agree with: is Mel Gibson one of his backers now? Santorum should return the donation, or he will be guilty of a double standard himself. If he does not, he's proof he's willing to let the money changers back into the Temple, provided they pay him a fee: he certainly does act like a Pharisee.

    February 17, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  18. GDW

    wah wah. when in doubt, blame the media.

    February 17, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    What's sad is that Friess has expressed less extreme views on contraceptives than Rick Santorum. He's expressed opinions in the past that suggest that he condoned their use.

    February 17, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  20. al ribnick

    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.

    February 17, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  21. Pat in IL

    Just another assinine remark from a member of the "old boys club". The worst part of the remark, which was not a joke, is that he seems to think that birth control is the woman's responsibility. This is another proof that the GOP has not kept up with the current world, scientifically, socially, fiscally, or any other way. I am of his same generation, and can tell you that not all of us are of that mind set.

    February 17, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  22. insight iowa

    I can't believe these guys are as rich as they are... not a one of them have any common sense.

    February 17, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  23. TxJim

    Thats right Rick.. bring up Jeremiah Wright again.. that worked so well for Hillary, John McCain and Sarah Palin..

    February 17, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  24. JCQueipo

    Loosen up people !!!! it was a good natured joke !! and I'm a super liberal, pro-choice, pro women, democrat.

    February 17, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  25. ST

    Fine sir, no one is perfect and we all make mistakes. But next time please think first before you lip off!

    February 17, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
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