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. Linda

    I woudn't vote for any of the Republican canidates that are running......one is to rich he has no idea what the working class goes through, everything he does will be for the rich and big corporations, the other is so caught up in religion and social issues that he couldn't run on any other issues.....this whole bunch of idiots want to tell women what to do and how to do it.....they want women back in the kitchen pregnant and barefoot, they want you home not out in the corporate world, where they know women are smarter than they are but God forbid a woman should to tell them what to do with their bodies.

    February 17, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. Diane

    I knew that Fries was not suggesting Aspirin as birth control. What he was doing was making a joke out of a very serious subject to women. His inability to take the subject seriously along with his pet politician Santorum's stance on contraception just shows that he like his counterparts in the GOP don't consider women's health a serious subject.

    February 17, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  3. The Loon

    how does nobody get that joke?? people really thought he was saying that an aspirin between the knees could chemically prevent pregnancy?? people are dumb and looking for any reason to blow something out of proportion...the dude is old, he used an old joke...relax dummies

    February 17, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  4. Stacey

    Conservative sing-a-long:
    “…Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1899…”

    LOL! You got that right!

    February 17, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. Nojo

    @ Jaun in El Paso. The interviewer specifically said he wasn't holding Santorum responsible, he just wanted a response to Friess' comments. Also, Friess is not just a supporter he's a financial backer, big difference. You should check your facts before you accuse people of double standards.

    February 17, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  6. teena

    Hey Stan Ho–many abortions or murder would be prevented if women used aspirin? What about duct taping a man's genitals to his leg–that might work also!

    February 17, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  7. mv

    Why didn't Santorum's mother practice the rhythm method more faithfully?
    Friess' mother would have used aspirin but it wasn't invented yet.

    February 17, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  8. tcaros

    This is the Republicans,... they're worried about whether you wear a condom or not. Meanwhile the rest of the country is focused on jobs.

    February 17, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. fun fun

    Is that a joke?

    Why didn't Santorum's mother practice the rhythm method more faithfully?
    Friess' mother would have used aspirin but it wasn't invented yet.

    That's not nice!

    February 17, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  10. Paul1st

    It is not a bad joke. It is what advice columnists and mothers of teenage daughters in the 1950s and earlier dispensed as the method to not get pregnant. Those were the days where if a girl got pregnant, it was totally her fault. All this incident has done is define the mentality of Santorum and his financial supporters.

    February 17, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  11. Rationalintn

    Hey Rick, I sat in a Catholic church every Sunday for 20 years, and I still don't believe a word of what they had to say.

    February 17, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  12. fun fun

    sensitive today? gosh, I hit a nerve. that's what the truth does sometimes.

    February 17, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  13. john

    It is really depressing at the level of ignorance in this country.

    February 17, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  14. Confused Guy

    Can someone explain what the joke was? I still don't get it? How does having apirin between your knees do anything?

    February 17, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  15. Copper's Donut Shoppe

    Fries is just a moronic p!g.

    February 17, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  16. walleye46

    This guy is only apologizing to cover his (and Sanaterum's) butt. He REALLY BELIEVES what he said is true, correct and should be a rule that is followed. If this mid-evil minded moron from Pennsylvania is elected Pres. you wont be able to buy a condom any longer. Next thing they will be doing is beheadings.

    February 17, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  17. Jimi

    Honestly, I could hear the TV from the other room this morning and thought they were talking about the fast food chain!


    February 17, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  18. DENNA

    To Stan Ho – Many abortions would be avoided if irresponsible me would keep their hands to themselves.

    February 17, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  19. Shannon

    This is what Republicans really think of women. I watched this guy last night, he couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about. So what they want to take away our healthcare, our birth control, so what he makes crude jokes about women. Its how Republican men feel, why not say it. You can issue a phony apology later....seriously, is there a woman out there who would vote for this party of hate.

    February 17, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  20. he said what

    This is why I think Santorum is an egotistical idiot. This is a media gotch... he has nothing to do with someone elses statements....... oh wait, unless Obama supporter says something.... So he makes it sound like only Obama is responsible for what his supporters say. Hey Ricky... did you know that this dude was on the television today saying you all talk about 4 or 5 times a week? I would say that makes you pretty close.. and pretty sure it is close to the unethical and illegal.

    February 17, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  21. Shannon

    Of course Rick's first actions were to play the victim....it's the Republican way, never accept responsibility for anything!

    February 17, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  22. Internet Child

    Oh my God children, take a freaking joke. I thought it was clever.

    February 17, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  23. Tone

    "Gotcha politics" is "don't really want ya" politics, "have no real use for ya" politics, "put an aspirin between your manly ears and squeeze REAL hard" politics. It will give the nervous sheep in Wyoming one less thing to worry about.

    February 17, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  24. Bill

    This is exactly what Obama needs. The stupid liberals getting whipped up into a frenzy over a dumb joke most liberals dont even understand. This is Obamas base, the rednecks, the clueless, the people who want to be told what to do everyday. Santorum is a vote for recovery. Obama is a vote for recession that we are still in even though dems have been telling us since 2010 that we are out of the recession.

    February 17, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  25. FactChecker

    So now Youtube is "the media"? No! It's "the people"! Get used to it.

    February 17, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
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