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. Bill from Cali

    Everyone who didn't get the joke or are trying to see more than what it was, is a moron. And Barry is counting on a whole lot of morons to show up again.

    February 17, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. Angela

    Back in the day that remark might have been found humorous. But we're not living back then. Foster is 71, and as people age, the short term memory lessens and the long term memory becomes more prevalent, i.e., recalling times of yore. I'm thinking that Foster is reliving his Dark Ages. And that's the problem. It's apparent that he's not in touch, although he may sound a bit touched. With the current ongoing issues regarding women's health, his comment was inappropriate. But the one truth that stands out from what he said is this – back in his day, the responsibility for birth control was placed on the female, and that's as true today as it was way back then.

    February 17, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  3. firebird9999

    Stupid, rich, old, white men. May they all be reincarnated into women with stupid, old, white men as their husbands. Rich or not, it won't make any difference. They're all complete jerks.

    February 17, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  4. AutumnskyD

    Jokes told in the company of family and friends is one thing. Jokes told on the national news when discussing an issue are another. He seeks to belittle the issue and discredit it's importance. In so doing he has insulted women and shown his disregard of their importance. This same ignorance was shown by the men who held the hearings on contraception and the church in congress. To think that because it was about policy and women could ignored shows just how out of touch these men can be. Ladies please leave the room righteous men are talking here. Don't worry your pretty heads.

    February 17, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. scarf

    In related news, Rick Santorm has come out against medical insurance companies from being required to pay for aspirin.

    February 17, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. StMike

    Rich Saint and his rich buddies are a joke!!!!!

    February 17, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. Chairman Obama

    Yes liberal drones of my indoctrination, you must think of preventing children as health care. Soon you must also think of all abortions as health care. And murder is also health care. Whatever you do is health care, so long as it is part of our government agenda. Hail Chairman Obama.

    February 17, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. 2chihuahuas

    I'm 55 and I heard this joke when I was a teenager, I wasn't amused then nor am I now. If he truely meant it as a joke his timing is awful and his brand of humor is very poor. Since he is a Santorum supporter he is by association negative towards women, hence he really meant it. In his world only women bear the brunt of birth control and if they get pregnant it's all their fault. Here's a novel idea....keep your pp in your pants and women won't get pregnant. Since this doensn't work any better than an aspirin lets move beyond the blame game and act like responsible adults.

    February 17, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  9. Tom

    Oh, my. A joke about contraception. How awful. Glad Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert would never joke about such a thing.

    February 17, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  10. markus

    Bad joke. It is not an aspirin, it is a penny.

    February 17, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  11. paulm5545

    To The Dominican mama for Obama: The man [Obama] had to give a nationally televised speech to squash the subject.
    A quote from Obama's speech to the nation regarding Mr. Wright, "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother..." Yeah, that is really squashing the subject.

    To The Real Tom Paine: Oh yeah, he distanced himself from Mr. Wright, but only because Mr. Wright continued his rhetoric and it became apparent that he was a liability for Obama.

    Politics as usual. No wonder there is so much voter apathy.

    February 17, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  12. James

    I guess I must get out more or keep up with slang terms old and new...I've been alive a while and I've never heard of this jokeor phrase before. Is it a regional thing? .....where maybe someone from midwest or south may get it but not someone from somewhere else?

    February 17, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  13. Mike

    "...not going to play that game?" Dude...You are the game!

    February 17, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    I'm voting for Obama anyway, but I feel kind of sorry for the old guy. He didn't realize that something that may have been funny back in '57 isn't funny today. So many people don't even remember 1957! He probably also has a bunch of paid-flunkies who laugh at all of his jokes, so he thinks he's some kind of comedy genius ("Good one, sir!"). Right now he's confused and asking them "It WAS funny, wasn't it?" and they are all tripping over themselves to assure him ("I literally died, sir!"). I have to cut the old man a break.

    Santorum is another story. He dragged out the Rev. Wright line so quickly, it was almost as if he's just been waiting for the chance. Such a weasel.

    February 17, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  15. Jeff in Oregon

    Repugnicans – Please, please please nominate Santourm?

    February 17, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  16. Ron

    Ok, first of all, yes. The joke does represent a common theme from prior generations that places the blame for societal problems on women – in this case unplanned pregnancies. At this point we hopefully all recognize that men have just as much to do with conception as women.

    However, the heart of the joke was that abstainance is the best form of birth control, which I think is a good message if geared toward men and women equally. To me, the joke was along the same line as referring to standard military-issue eyewear as "birth control glasses" because they're so freakin ugly nobody would want to sleep with a person wearing them.

    February 17, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  17. Lolo

    @Graymatter I guess to you the numbers are correct when you only keep tabs on black and minority women who have abortions to keep this lying BS going around the world to make them look bad. Please read more current data.

    February 17, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  18. TTT

    This was a joke I heard 20 years ago. Give me a break. What a bunch of hyped up crap. People that are in an uproar are only doing so because of who he supports. To say anything else is a lie.

    February 17, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  19. Joe The Plumber

    What is Santroum talking about – when did the evil media defend Obama when J W spoke. That idiot just makes things up.

    February 17, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Too bad Mr. Friess didn't see fit to offer a public apology to the humiliation that he dealt Andrea Mitchell. I felt he was mocking her as she tried to conduct a serious interview, one where he was dodging the questions and this snide remark was his ill-tempered response.

    February 17, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  21. Sal

    A proper retort to this cretin could be, "Sure, just like you 'guys' using duct tape to strap it to your leg!" Can you imagine his feigned outrage at such a comment?

    February 17, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  22. carly

    he can apologize all he wants but the truth is that this is the way the right wingers think about women. this has been a banner week for Republicans. their true colors were on full display. Their narrow mindedness was apparent to all.

    February 17, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. ZzwilhelmzZ

    the media has a double standard & the joke was funny, but the GOP is still in trouble

    February 17, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  24. Jim Rousch

    It's too late for an apology, you dumb hick. Thanks for giving us Democrats more ammunition against you. You're making this too easy.

    February 17, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  25. headlesshorseman

    What a bunch of sanctimonious, self-righteous drivel. We have a president whose view of what's right for America is leading us to the brink of financial ruin and whose only remedy is more taxes, more spending, more government interference – and we have folks pouring their heart and soul in to being outrageously offended ("my jaw dropped", "Boxer was speechless"???) at a stupid, old, inappropriate joke by some little-known jackleg who gave money to a guy who ain't got a prayer of becoming president. Gimme a break. We have much bigger problems. Oh, by the way – I'm sure Boxer won't be speechless long – but we can all hope.

    February 17, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
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