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. janedoe

    It's one thing, when a joke like this is made by a mother to her daughter or among friends, but it's a completely different thing when it's said on a campaign trail by one of the major donors.

    February 17, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  2. Lizzie

    Malory, how much of the gasoline price is taxes, it's going up, exactly as Pres.Obama wanted. How many subsidies can you name that the Oil companies are getting.

    February 17, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  3. Stacey

    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.

    The conservatives need to stop trying to shove their so-called morals, values and religion down our throats! Nothing that idiot Friess said was the truth. If you think we're indignant now, wait until November – you'll see just how indignant we will be. That conservative idiot, Santorum will never win in the general election – that's for sure!

    February 17, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  4. Jill-IN

    It was a chauvinistic, crass, dirty joke – how can this man say he is a Christian. He has no respect for women.

    February 17, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. Seattle voter

    As a practicing Catholic I have to be honest. There's a lot of Catholics out there that are using birth control pils. Any Catholics that only have 1,2 or 3 kids used some kind of birth control because if not they have dozens of kids like the DUGGARD FAMILY (19 KIDS AND COUNTING). In this day and age who can afford to raise that many kids. So in my opinion...A LOT OF SO CALLED CHRISTIANS OUT THERE ARE HYPOCRITS.

    February 17, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. Dr Knowitall

    @Cynthia – Arkansas
    Get a life ! Anybody with any life experience in life can see that joke being laughed at by millions of people if delivered by the likes of Bob Hope, Dean Martin, or Jack Benny. You must have grown up being too sheltered.

    February 17, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  7. Wachet Auf

    All of us like a joke. It helps to relieve stressful situations. However, once we relax we are less defensive and let our guard down. It is at those times that the truth is revealed. The truth here is:

    1. Women have the sole responsibility for dealing with pregnancy, not men.

    2. Women have no right to make choices about contraception.

    3 . F...ing old men who have more money than principle control the bodies of women.

    4. If a woman gets pregnant, it is the fault of the woman.

    February 17, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. Timbuck2

    If the said he thought it, it became a joke when he was called out on it! He is from that era which women were seen, [barefoot and pregnant] and not heard. There are certain things that are not jokeable...In my opinion, this is one of them. I would never joke about men's impotence! To men, that is no joking matter!

    February 17, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  9. rob

    Malory, how are they subsidizing it? The feds and my state both take taxes on gasoline. My point was if the logic of President Obama's arguement was to help women pay for necessities by forcing insurance co's to pay for their contraceptives (we actually pay by higher premiums) then there is no limit to what the govt can do for some favored group in order to gain their vote or right some perceived wrong. There has to be an end to this somewhere, you can't tax the rich enough to pay for all this Govt spending.

    February 17, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Truth wrote:

    "...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.
    My friend, you just denied the existence of the multi-billion dollar subsidies to the oil companies. They also get to skip out on having to pay any leasing fees on federal lands that they hold, but do not drill on. There, I posted The Truth.

    February 17, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  11. Taysha

    .....seriously? You people had never heard that joke before?

    Milk also works as birth control. You don't take it before or after the deed, you take it instead of.

    My dad was telling me those when I was 13. Lighten up.

    February 17, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  12. DorisV

    What a stupid old man remark? This is 2011 not 1940. He owes all women an apology.

    February 17, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  13. The ugly truth

    So, help me out here on the liberal platform. Is it to promote promiscuity and abortion? Is that what we're teaching our children? Media surely is. Birth control and abortion definitely have their places, but it is becomming socially acceptable as a standard versus the exception. I personally think that's the wrong message. Why is taboo to try to teach or have some personal responsibility and morals?

    February 17, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Dr. Knowitall wrote:

    Anybody with any life experience in life can see that joke being laughed at by millions of people if delivered by the likes of Bob Hope, Dean Martin, or Jack Benny.
    Nope, don't think so. That type of joke would have been too risque 50-60 years ago to have been broadcast on television.

    February 17, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. Tex71

    Not really a joke at all! Friess probably thinks "n! gg#r" jokes are funny too. Another Good Ole Boy getting his laughs at the expense of real people suffering real injustice.

    February 17, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  16. MarcyD

    I am not a Santorum backer in any way but come on people. This was a joke from 50 years ago. I remember my Dad telling me it was the only fool proof form of birth control. Back in the day before the pill, this was a common saying. Reeating now may seem inappropriate but all this outrage is ridiculous.

    February 17, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  17. Cindy

    It's becoming very clear, "Republican men love women, they think every man should own one. "

    February 17, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  18. MikeB

    Is Santorum throwing him under the Bus?
    If this were a joke told on 30 Rock it would be getting raves.

    February 17, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  19. rob

    @ Tex71
    So now Friess is a racist and uses the N word? AND What "Injustice" is solved by providing contraceptives for free? Maybe RudyNYC can answer that.

    February 17, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  20. Michael Allen

    Professor Irwin Corey, "The World's Foremost Authority," a comedian who used to perform at the hungry i, told the aspirin joke, "You put it between your knees, and don't let it fall!"

    February 17, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  21. anagram_kid

    The abortion debate is back.. that means the economy is improving. Sorry GOP, you have hitched your wagon to an anchor on this issue.

    February 17, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Much ado about nothing.

    February 17, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  23. sandra

    .....so none of this would be an issue.....if 'gals' would just keep their legs closed. Oh–I get it now.

    February 17, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. Taran

    @truth, you are right, I was just wondering, since Tom asked me where I read it, and since all liberals are spouting the healthcare law as the administrations big success. I just thought to show them they were wrong about the "big savings" from its implementation.

    February 17, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  25. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Here's the equation: Conservative spews retro troglodyte nonsense and is not called on it = they are strong conservatives to be admired for their forthright views. Conservative spews retro troglodyte nonsense and is called on it = It was a joke people. Why can't you see that? Why are you so sensitive (i.e. If you were offended by my offensive comments, it's your fault).

    February 17, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
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