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. Veritas

    The joke can be funny in the appropriate setting, among family, among friends, but when you're mocking a very serious personal and health right of Americans, it's callous and insensitive. My religion teaches me to respect my body and treat it as a temple. Therefore, I chose to have no more children permanently. As long as viagra and vasectomies are covered then birth control for women should be.
    GOP, do not use my body for your facist platforms.

    February 17, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. GP

    Back in the day when someone said something offensive, they apologized. Not the standard "to those I offended..." stuff.

    How about just owning it, apologizing for the poor taste, and move on?

    February 17, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  3. Larry in Houston

    @Kimberly -Love Your Post ! > February 17, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm< I AGREE !!

    February 17, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  4. Furious Styles

    He was DEAD serious with his disgusting joke if you want to call it that. Note/Question to females: When are you going to stop letting old white guys tell you what you can do with your bodies?

    February 17, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. Nojo

    How can this be "gotcha politics from the media" Mr Santorum, when I, as a member of the voting public would very much like to hear your response about those ridiculously out of touch and condescending remarks by one of your financial backers?
    This isn't a "game that you're not going to play" it's serious business, especially to us women and " I'm going to call you on it."

    February 17, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  6. ^-^

    Yes, Hark. Only "lib" women use birth control.
    Friess needs to hold an aspirin between his lips. If Santorum does not want to be associated with
    the comments of a "donor", he needs to find a new billinoaire.

    February 17, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  7. Dr Knowitall

    Let me spell it out for all you liberals that got something in a bunch Not tonight baby "I have a headache !"

    February 17, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. Lanie

    That's no joke. That's exactly what my grandpa used to tell his seven daughters before they'd go out on a date.

    February 17, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. boyamidumb

    Isn't it great that with all the real problems these politicians create, cause, and ignore that we can focus on something so completely meaningless as some "I paid for this politician and he's mine" billionaires ignorant comments.

    over 30% of the children in Michigan live below the poverty level. In America kids are going to bed hungry. Kids are not being educated properly to develp the skills they will need to be productive. Wanna talk about kids. They are here. NOW. Need our help NOW.

    Get real you losers. Tired of politicians and their millionaire, billionaire backers with no sense of ethics or morals that they claim to own the rights to.


    February 17, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. Dr Knowitall

    @ tor5
    "I would be willing to give this guy a pass on a “bad joke,” but it’s just not so funny in the context of the broad right-wing attack on birth control"

    There is no attack on birth control ! No one is taking away your privelege of using birth control in any form. What is under attack is Freedom. Freedom of the Catholic Church to say, we do not believe in Birth Control or Abortions, therefore we will perform these services in our hospitals and will not pay for any of our employees to have them covered under insurance. It is the employees personal duty to cover that themselves..

    February 17, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  11. Linell, Winter Park, FL

    You think the Pope will try to ban aspirin now?

    February 17, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  12. boyamidumb

    5 million new messages coming to a server near you soon.


    February 17, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  13. derp

    Funny, all of the people blabbering about abstinence are the ones who are least likely to get laid.

    February 17, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  14. sheikyerboutie

    Ha, ha, ha...bravo!

    February 17, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  15. Grand Oil Party

    Obama will win the election. There are more women voters in this country than men. First Cain, then Gingrich and now Santorum all proving that the GOP has zero respect for women. It's beyond pathetic to see a once proud party crumble into such a disgusting display of unadulterated greed, lust, and self-rightousness. Eisenhower was the last great Republican president and there is not an Eisenhower for a million miles in today's GOP.

    February 17, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  16. dixon cider

    lighten up Francis

    February 17, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  17. Greg

    This liberal media bias is so old. Ricky is taking a page out of Newt's playbook. This was created by Richard Nixon and as you saw with him, he was really a crook and it wasn't the media. It's time conservatives man up and take responsibility instead of the tired old liberal media line

    February 17, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  18. Mark B.

    Geeze people, It WAS a joke in the 60's before people got all pc and stupid.

    February 17, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  19. Don Jones

    Santorum thinks what Friess said was a joke. The joke is in Santorum's pants. It's a shame that Snatorum and Friess's parents didn't have better access to birth control.

    February 17, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Taran wrote:

    @momma4obama, you obviously did not check very well, with the limited variation in reading that you do, the person that said the healtcare law will increase the deficit rather than decrease it, is one of the prime architects of the law itself.
    I'm sorry, but Mitt Romney's opinions do not count, either.

    February 17, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  21. Jaun in El Paso

    So, a GOP candidate is held responsible for what one of his supporters says by the liberal meida. They are making a huge deal out of this, but said no thing about Obama and Rev. Wright! Well, acutally they told us that Obama can't be held liable for what Wright said during the 20 years Obama sat in his so-called church. Funny how this double standard works.

    February 17, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  22. Peter McKenna

    Republicans are making it tough for the SNL writers. How can you parody this bunch of goof balls? Just when you say to yourself "you can't make it up", another one raises the ante. The most entertainment I've ever seen in the media and it's only getting started – Santorum and his team certainly have some more doozies ready to let loose in the next few weeks. But why does the right somehow get away with portraying Democrats as immoral extremists? Why ANY woman would vote for a Republican is a mystery to me. And in the middle of this circus we call politics, Obama is the President and has to make real decisions of a very serious nature on a daily basis. At least this should give him and his people something to laugh about.

    February 17, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  23. Malory Archer

    rdg18, you must not have been around 30 years ago. Prior to the AIDS epidemic people were cruising bars and going home with a different partner every night, or having "key parties" where all the men would through their house keys into a bowl, and the women would each take a set of those keys and go home with the man whose keys they had drawn.

    February 17, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  24. Malory Archer

    "throw", not "through".

    February 17, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  25. SenorPlaid

    santorum calls Friess's comment a bad joke.

    Coincidentally, that's exactly what I call santorum's campaign.

    February 17, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
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