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."

Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

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. Nothing new here

    It was a bad joke then – just like it is now.

    February 17, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  2. janelle

    I find it rather funny how so many people feel that no one has the right to tell them what to do, yet they also feel they have the right to tell others what they must provide for them. If you want to live your life they way you want to, without anyone else telling you what to do or not to do, then do it. But, don't think you have the right to tell anyone else what they must provide for you. That's telling someone else they can't live their lives the way they see fit. Everyone thinks rights exist only for themselves, not for other. And yes, I think you can do whatever you want in your own life. But, you can't tell me what I can do or what I must provide for you. That included telling me I must provide you with birth control or anything else for free. Nothing is free. If it's free for you it costs someone else. Where do you get off demanding anyone pay for you to receive something for free?

    February 17, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  3. johnnyZ

    See! It is the women's fault for opening their legs!!! I knew it.

    My idea? Every male, including me, just shut up about women's issues.

    February 17, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  4. Gurgi

    @The Real Tom Paine,,,,,I said..."it sounds like..." That is not the same as saying someone "is in favor." One leaves the possibility of doubt, the other does not.

    February 17, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  5. Sean

    Santorum should not be held responsible for a crass joke by an idiot donor. That being said, Santorum is dead wrong when he "calls out" the press on giving Obama a free pass with Wright. What reports was he watching back then I wonder? Because as I remember it, Obama was under quite a barrage of negative reporting over that.

    February 17, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  6. Kimberly

    @ Lizzy- I was cracking up reading your comment, until I read the correction! LOL! I thought somehow you were defending Putin in the mix...LOL! Thanks for the laugh!

    February 17, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  7. Snarly

    No one has accused Santorum of believing what this a$$ Friess said, but the did accuse Obama of believing the crap spewed by Wright. Where's the double standard here? This is just another example of the do as I say, not as I do mentality of today's Republican party. Is it any wonder that they're rapidly becoming extinct?

    February 17, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. GrogInOhio

    Defended President Obama on the Rev. Wright issue??? Really?? What was Rick Santorum reading or watching in that period? The then candidate had to hold a specific speech about the issue, leave the church and renounce a long time family friend! Republicans live in a make-believe world where everyone else is out to get them.

    February 17, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  9. Busted

    I love the attack the liberal media approach my Santoram. For all you republicans out there, that's how you take personal accountability – blame someone else.

    February 17, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Taran/Gurgi:
    I checked out your source, and I wish he had more credibility. Someone who has worked for the NY Post ( a Rupert Murdoch rag) and Human Events ( another right wing source) raises big red flags ( in my mind) about their ability to be objective.
    Awww shucks Taran/Gurgi. I know you were so looking forward to impressing Tom with your fabulous sources. Was this the same source that informed you about Buffetts' railroad kickbacks? Or Obama taking care of the unions? Or whatever it was that you never explained he did for Soros?
    You remain, a confused (Taran? Gurgi?), 6'3", easily misled, poorly informed cheerleader for a Party that doesn't care a fig about you.
    Good luck with that youngblood.
    Obama 2012.

    February 17, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  11. The Real Tom Paine

    Sorry Gurgi, long week. I stand corrected.

    February 17, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. sqeptiq

    Mike, everyone knew it was joke...a really stupid one for a national political campaign spokesman to make. Shows you can get rich without getting smart.

    February 17, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. Lisa P


    this IS a reflection of who santorum is. he has a low opinion of woman and their rights. he is only fit to be president of a mens club or a priest. the fact santorum is doing well, is a reflection of how much romney sucks. the republicans really screwed the pooch this election
    February 17, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |

    Well I guess the pooch just should have kept an aspirin between it's legs - that would have solved everything. Blame the pooch! ๐Ÿ˜›

    February 17, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  14. Kimberly

    The BEST way to know that the economy is getting better and back on track is to turn on the news in the morning and seeing Republicans beat themselves up to one up the next guy on who is more religious and hates women more...Well done President Obama! GOOD TIMING!

    February 17, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  15. My name is Jose Jimenez

    What a pathetic attempt to put the controversy to rest. No one doubts Foster Freeze meant exactly what he said. Please join me in support Pope Rick.

    February 17, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  16. Miss Manager

    How come no one is laughing? I thought jokes were supposed to be funny.
    I am so tired of these people back tracking what they say, be afraid very afraid of people like this.

    February 17, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  17. tor5

    I would be willing to give this guy a pass on a โ€œbad joke,โ€ but itโ€™s just not so funny in the context of the broad right-wing attack on birth control. These people truly live in the Stone Age, and this โ€œjokeโ€ is testament to how oblivious they are to the concerns of the modern world. And the suggestion that there is a media double standard is pure bunk. In fact, the Rev. Wright story was a huge deal in the media and a big problem for Obama. The right-wingers are always trying to re-write history.

    February 17, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  18. tonyl

    Any person who can support Santorum knowing his views on women's rights is twisted anyway. Specially when you are the major donor with your wealth in millions pushing your right wing agenda making statements about how to disrespect women in our society. These people are still living in the 30's in their mental intellect. How to control your woman? Make sure that your woman is busy and pregnant with producing tens of children and stay busy in the kitchen and cleaning the house. It's 2012 and time to look forward instead of backward.

    February 17, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  19. Fay

    Enough already about the "liberal media." Just tune into Fox News and see if they aren't biased! This Tea/Republican mentality is akin to the way childrens' minds work. S-i-m-p-l-e and us v.s them bogeyman stuff.

    February 17, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  20. Natali

    Riiiight, Santorum. Gotcha media. And the anti-woman statements made in your book were "co-authored" by your wife. Gotcha!!

    February 17, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  21. rob

    @JANELLE....Mostly its the Democrat Party who tell people that they can and should have many things for "Free". President Obama and the Dems and the media are telling us that if the "1%" pay more taxes to make things"Fair", all our problems will be solved and all the wonderfull things we should have for free will be paid for. They think we are either stupid or gullable enough not to see this for what it is. A big LIE.

    There is a huge proaganda machine in place to defend President Obama this election and the liberal media are willing accomplices. They will take non-issues like this to deflect attention to the failed policies of the President.

    Nov. 6th can't come fast enough.

    February 17, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  22. teamenuffalready

    Blarrggh! Please get over it and wake up and realize that this is not a joke or a game of gotcha or a political cycle or a newsbreak. This is the battle to decide who we will choose to try to lead us out of the desert we've created for ourselves and whether America can do it again (recover from a crushing blow- Civil War, 1890's depression, Great Depression, WWII, Vietnam, 70's, 80's, 90's recessions, (forgot the '72 oil crisis), Nixon, Reagan, Carter, Bush, Bush, and the current malaise. Against the greatest odds ever.) Obama ain't perfect but compared to the field the Grungy Old Pariahs are putting up, he assumes biblical (LOL) proportions.

    February 17, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  23. tonyl

    All these men have opinions about controlling the women in our society with their religious agendas instead of asking the women.

    February 17, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  24. bill

    I wish uhbama would apologize for his 'typical white person' comment.

    February 17, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Taran wrote:

    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.
    It has been a resounding success. It has driven more conservatives bug nuts crazy than anything else in legislative history. They need to pass another so the can to pick off the stragglers. Maybe then we can get the economy humming again. Put more money into liberal middle class hands, so that they can spend, spend, spend.

    February 17, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24