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. Jack

    Why do republicans run away from the agenda they really intend to deploy.

    Dishonest to the core...and scary for the nation.

    February 17, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. lb

    If you are a woman and you find it funny your are an idiot.

    February 17, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |

    A very important point has been made. Women take contraceptives for reasons OTHER than birth control. Precluding those drugs from insurance policies is like precluding a cancer drug or a heart drug.

    February 17, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  4. Stupid isn't limited to the GOP

    @ Linda Collins (quoted below) – I'm not sure why you feel that stereotyping for people who don't share your political viewpoints is OK but I'm guessing that you'd be one of the first to cry foul if someone made the same mistake for a minority or other group you felt was being bullied by the GOP. I'm the bread winner in my home, have a Master's degree and am a conservative so I take offense to your ignorant statement below – why don't you educate yourself before you speak because it's certainly not making your position seem very legitimate.

    "The GOP always has and always will be about oppressing the rights of woman. What is sad is that Republican woman still vote these cavemen into office, why? because Daddy brings home the $ and they can breed, shop and be basically useless. Takes hard work and intellegence to stand up for yourself." – Linda Collins

    February 17, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  5. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Rudy NYC - I'm a moderate who has come to despise conservatives for nearly destroying this country, and I only practice abstinence in public
    BWAHAHAHA!!! Yeah right.... Mao and Castro said they were moderates too! Lefitsts NEVER admit being leftists.

    February 17, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  6. Lando

    The aspirin did not work for Santorum....I believe he has 8 children...not sure

    February 17, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  7. Legal Arizonian

    My wife and I were watching the Today show where they aired the asprin segment. We both about choked on our coffee. Maybe he thought he was on SNL!

    February 17, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  8. DJ in Texas

    I'll give him the fact that it was a bad joke. I actually took it differently than some. At least he came forward rather quickly and apologized.

    But for Mr. Santorum to call this "gotcha" politics..........no one forced Mr. Friess to make the comment. No one solicited that type of answer. He said it, it offended some people. But to blame the media for "gotcha" politics is laghable. He said something dumb. Own, apologize for it, and move on. Don't blame anyone else or try to distance yourself. It was just a dumb statement.............................

    February 17, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. iceload9

    The GOP (Grand Old Petroleum) one step closer to that time machine they so desperately need.

    February 17, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. BADGUY

    What's REALLY upsetting about this guy's comments wasn't even the "aspirin between the legs" snafu, it's what he said after "birth control is really cheap". Well from what I've read, contraceptives, whether you need them for birth control or to stem some other physical ailment, IS NOT cheap! It can run 50-100$/month. This may not be a lot for a guy like Friess, but for the rest of us..its big bucks! Do we have another Rmoney "The poor (46 million who live below the poverty level) have their own safety net, so I'm not worried about them" kinda comment?

    February 17, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  11. Steve

    Another apology where someone places responsibility on the people offended by the joke rather than taking it on himself. Essentially, "To all those who took my joke the wrong way, if I offended you, I am sorry." Rather than "I am sorry I said something so horribly inappropriate. Period."

    February 17, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  12. Jeepers

    Well that was a bit of a non-apology. Sorry you didn't get the joke? That dude is completely without a clue.

    February 17, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  13. V in Chicago

    Women everywhere take notice.

    If this man get elected in to office, everything we've fought and worked for in the last 50 years will be undone. We might as well quit our jobs because, according to Ricky, the glass ceiling is just a liberal ploy and holds no merit. We will have to have as many children as our bodies can take. To hell with the consequences, just have the babies. We will probably lose our vote, because after they've raped us of our rights, they won't want us to be able to vote them out of office. PLEASE – Google Rick Santorum and take a look at some of the things that have come out of this man's mouth. It is incredible that any woman would support him to lead this nation (or anything other than maybe a pack of dogs). He is truly a pathetic person and he gives me the creeps just listening to him talk. I can't wait until President Obama gets re-elected (and he will be) and the smirk on this guys face gets wiped away.

    February 17, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  14. Jeepers

    Sorry you didn't get the joke is a non-apology.

    February 17, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  15. dontbow

    men paying for women's issues is a joke as well. pay for it yourself! funny though how an innocent joke like he made offends so many of these fragile sensitive liberals. lol

    February 17, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  16. kgotway

    svann – all medications can be seen as commodities. My father has a heart condition – he has to be on medication for the rest of his life. Do you suggests that it not be covered because he has to take it over and over again? Why should birth control be any different? Many women take it because of health reasons, others (like me) are being responsible because we are not in a place to have a child. And just for your information I am a married Catholic woman.

    February 17, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  17. stan ho

    Nothing wrong with aspirin. Many abortions (aka murders) would be avoided but for promiscuity.

    February 17, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    Santorum wants every woman to have an immaculate conception. Why aren't more women speaking up on national TV against this radical moron? Where are the women in Congress and the Senate who have the guts to speak out against this radical intrusion into women's lives? Every woman in America needs to be heard.

    Go ahead ladies, give it to him and the extreme far right GOP. Stand up in November and let your voices be heard.

    February 17, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. paulm5545

    Amen, Steve. Amen!

    February 17, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  20. Big Daddy Cain

    A little advise for Santurum and other fed up with "gotcha politics": STOP SAYING STUPID ISH!!!

    February 17, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  21. teena

    I would have more respect for this whole anti-contraceptive group if they were actually women or majority of women!
    But, it is very hard for me to take MEN seriously when they act as experts on women's health! I wonder how the men of this country would feel if WOMEN were the ones debating the value of insurance coverage for VIAGRA!

    February 17, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  22. JohnRJ08

    Friess is as ignorant as he candidate he supports.

    February 17, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  23. Peter

    Ever notice how Republicans, at least modern-day Republicans, are always a liability? Why are they even still around??

    February 17, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  24. Tiredashell

    It does seem like this guy's disregard for women is consistent with Santorum's disregard for them. Similarly, they both live in the past. They belong together, and I hope this becomes the punchline to the joke that is Santorum's candidacy. We need a statesman (or stateswoman if any emerge in the campaign), not a reactionary person with ordinary intelligence and limited scocial skills. This is not a job for just any bozo off the street. The consequences of electing a bad POUS is a global disaster. Santorum is potentially GWBush2 with a different set of handlers.

    February 17, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |

    You all are surprised that another old, rich, pugnacious, white guy said something stupid. Why?

    February 17, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
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