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. TheTraveler

    Just more hypersensitivity about nothing at all. It was a joke 'way back, and it's a joke now.

    So, all I have to say to those who found the joke offensive is this: grow a foreskin ...

    Now, sue me ...

    February 17, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  2. ib42

    You don't need class to become rich. This guy is proof. So are trump, romney, all the fools who are in the headlines everyday with their stupidity on parade, seeking your vote to lead this country.

    February 17, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    The ugly truth asked:

    Why is taboo to try to teach or have some personal responsibility and morals?
    It isn't taboo. What's taboo is to impose your view of "personal responsibility and morals" on other people in what is supposed to be a society that practices freedom of religion, which includes *having no religious beliefs* at all. That is what should be tabbo, and that is what the government is saying.

    Where do you draw the line? Before you answer, you need to be aware that conservatives are already taking the this to the next ridiculous level. We already have private business owners saying that they don't want to do this or that or religious grounds.

    February 17, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  4. Sparko

    The worst thing about this so called joke is that its implicit that there is some guy trying to get between those knees. Same old crap-men get a pass on doing whatever they can get away with while women have to defend themselves. Why are men not held to a higher standard by conservative? A virtuous woman does not "give in" but the man is just being a man. Blech. Much like the extreme Muslims that have require women to cover every inch of their body because men cannot be held accountable for wanting to rape them if they glimpse any skin.

    February 17, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  5. Fair Taxes

    Rick Santorum taking a page from Gingrich's playbook.

    When asked a question you don't like, feign indignation, change the subject, and attack the questioner.

    February 17, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  6. anagram_kid

    The point is that he thought that is an acceptable solution for the contraception issue. His premise is that we need to live in a culture where women are not supposed to have intercourse unless they want to get pregnant. Those days are over

    February 17, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  7. anagram_kid

    I think the real heart of this argument is that for years men could use the fear of pregnancy as the reason women rejected them. With modern contraception men like Friess and Santroum are faced with the reality that they are un- desirable. To them I say, figure out why women don’t like you instead of trying to control them.

    February 17, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. J

    Now how is a conservative woman supposed to be submissive to her husband if she uses the old "aspirin between the knees" as birth control?

    February 17, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  9. Jack

    It's not that it's not funny, it's just inappropriate. So yes, women should be offended by it. We men put so much pressure and responsibility on women to say no, then do everything within our powers to get them to say yes.

    February 17, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  10. Sparko

    Mike B. -On 30 Rock, viewers would know it s was satire. This guy was not being sarcastic or ironic. His only underlying implication is that guys get to try whatever they want with their "winkie" and its up to women to stop them. Duh.....

    February 17, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. NVa Native

    Want to see what goes on in the mind of the delusionly insane ~

    "So talking about Obama's anti-American and racist mentor and minister for 20 years is "sinking low"??? How so? Is it not part of who Obama is???"

    just more of the typical GOP lies & deception they say over & over until they "believe" it's true.

    February 17, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  12. Jag0419

    Like anybody's surprised that this came out of the mouth of a Republican white guy fund manager? I've worked with them.
    And no it's not funny. It wouldn't find its way on 30 Rock because its not clever, its gross. Women used to die from childbirth. I doubt a good writer, and they have many, would find any humor in that.
    Tick...tick....tick... the Republicans are imploding.

    February 17, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  13. Laura

    I was absolutely not confused by his statements. I was insulted because of this idea that women should just keep their legs shut. I don't care if it was a joke from "back in the day." There are many jokes that we no longer say because they are insulting and inflammatory.

    February 17, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  14. Marie MD

    I don't know how old you are but you look old. I take it that back in "his" day would be the 40s, not to be confused sith the 1840s or the 13th century where sanatorium still lives.
    I want women to make decisions for women and I want this jokester to STFU! Thank you all you men who think you know how women feel and what is best for us!

    February 17, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  15. anagram_kid

    The ugly truth,
    Using contraception is being personal responsible. And why exactly do you care it this is the norm? Is it your right to dictate the s*x lives of others? The reason you are bothered by this is obvious, but I will bet you cannot admit it to yourself.

    February 17, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  16. rdg18

    I like the days of 30 years ago much better than today. Abstinence is nothing to be ashamed about.

    February 17, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  17. Time for another change


    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.


    Wow! Talk about clouding the issue with COMPLETE BS! Let me take the same approach you did...

    So in essence, you feel that the government should control our lives 100% and to make sure you are fat dumb and stupid.

    February 17, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  18. Danno

    As a recovering Catholic, it is my stance that if the Church wants to employee people and take the communities money, tax-free, then they need to respect that this is America, and no one gets to tell anyone else what kind ofpersonal medical decisions they should or shouldn't make.

    Church: if you don't want to be told how to treat your employees, start paying taxes.

    February 17, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. Jack in Florida

    Birds of a feather, flock together. Such backward thinking in 2012!!!

    February 17, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. Lizzie

    Why Putin it the responsibility of the WOMEN to prevent pregnancy, how about the MEN, they have none. if they would keep it in their pants there would be no problem.

    February 17, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  21. Lizzie

    Correction: why is it the .....

    February 17, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. wobbles

    And yet does anyone dipute that if some of these chicks kept their legs together, be it with Bayer aspirin or something like SELF RESPECT or SELF DISCIPLINE they wouldn't end up knocked up?

    It was a joke, but CNN and the biased left leaning media saw it as a way to take a shot at someone who wasn't their boy Barry so they took it. Pathetic excuse for national news, and hardly unbiased.

    February 17, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  23. WhereIsPalin

    That's right Santorum. Drag Obama into this to cover for your billionaire buddy.

    February 17, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  24. SoSad

    Sanitorium, if you can't take the heat.............. It's Obama's fault, right, blame it on the President, and oh, by the way, the liberal media, fool! Anyway, your not going to be President, ha ha ha ha

    February 17, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  25. getagripalready

    Planned Parenthood has already solved this issue, contraception is readily available to all.

    Let's deal with real issues of today like Drilling for oil on our soil (is like free money, more jobs and less money over seas to fund terrorists). Lets build clean coal electric who else on earth is going to use it better and cleaner than the US? Smaller goverment in our lives...etc. I gotta get back to work now and earn money so the govt can take it way to their wastefull spending.

    February 17, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
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