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. Jamie

    Re: "...I can understand how I confused people...." You didn't confuse people you silly old goat. We heard you loud and clear.

    February 17, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  2. Renae

    that joke was hilarious! I'm 41, I laughed out loudly, so did my 40-year-ol boyfriend. I can't believe that joke offended people!

    February 17, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  3. mjbrin

    "confused people"?
    what confuses me is how he thinks it was good joke at all
    or for him to joke about women's issues at all
    i hope women wake up now and realize that it is us women who are now being attacked
    We are not ignorant and these men will not succeed in pretending they care about our issues

    February 17, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  4. abby1

    Santorum needs to shut up about double standards and place those aspirins between his knees.

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

    People get angry at this? Are you kidding me? If I am a woman's advocacy group, and I see this...I don't think anything of it. So shame on them for making an issue out of it (all they did is give what he said validity), and shame on him for apologizing. Geez, people...accept that not everybody agrees with you, that you aren't always right, and that we have to be a little more thick-skinned if we are to find a solution together.

    February 17, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  6. Regis990

    "It's not reflective of me or my record on this issue," Santorum said Doesn't Ricky know that lies make baby Jeebus cry?

    February 17, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |

    So this is how Santorum will "answer" questions from the press? "You in the press always do this" and NOT answer the question?

    February 17, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. Jann

    I really thought Santorum would win Michigan without a hitch, but this has made a whole lot of people mad, men who respect their wives, mothers, and daughters, as well as women voters–a real kicker to his campaign now.

    February 17, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  9. Rick

    Anyone could tell you that a woman holding an aspirin between her knees only works
    if she doesn't bend over. Sheesh.

    February 17, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. sf

    yes Santorum...he told a bad joke...but it's how you clown republicans think! and if you think that if you become the republican nominee you're not proned to being asked these questions...think again! you're running for the highest office in our country...and if you think we won't hold your feet to the fire like you and your people always want our President to do! then so be it...be prepared to answer questions idiot! and don't expect to be innogerated next year either!

    OBAMA 2012!

    February 17, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  11. Kate

    Yuck, another non-apology. What's with the whole "I'm sorry if anyone was offended by what I said" trend instead of "I'm sorry for what I said"?

    February 17, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  12. sf

    so this idiot Santorum wants to use the Reverend Wright issue? really? first of all, before this became a media spectical with the rev wright thing President Obama got on the air almost immediately and DENOUNCED him! he didn't depend on the media to cover for him you idiot! spoken like a true tea partier...Santorum you haven't a chance in hell being president! no thank you!

    obama 2012!

    February 17, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  13. loretta

    Goes to show once again you can buy allot with money, but you can't buy class.

    He is a tacky, low class, rich man, who thinks he can buy his way into the politics of his choosing.
    He and the GOP have no concerns about the health of American women, their sole purpose is to defeat Obama, they look for fault where there is none, and each time end up looking like the fools & clowns that they have become when they chase after nothing to try to discredit him on. BOZO'S everyone of them!

    Independent voter

    February 17, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  14. Old Guy

    A further note to the republicans, You even accused Obama of palling around with terrorists even though the activities took place when he was like less then 5-10 years old living in another part of the countryall because he was asked to be on local board by a rich well known republican to try to improve the education system in Chicago. You accused him of being indoctrinated against western culture by his Kenyan father whom he has had no contact since the age of 2!

    February 17, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  15. micook

    Pathetic world we live in, when we have to apologize for everything! I work in an environment where they tell you to grow thick skin... Wonder why nobody else takes that advice!

    February 17, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  16. Aaron Lanterman

    Jim said: "Finally, a conservative with a real sense of humor and we make him apologize for it. Boy I miss freedom of speech..." This is not a freedom of speech issue at all. No one is stopping Freiss or Santorum from saying whatever they want. But by the same token, people are free to notice Freiss or Santorum they say something stupid.

    February 17, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  17. Sick

    Again, another day goes by and another group is offended by someone's comment and feels the need to express their disgust. This is a stupid joke, but someone has to read an 'attack' in it and demand an apology. It's truly disgusting. People need a backbone. It's not a attack on women. Get over yourselves already.

    February 17, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  18. rosiejones

    Really? This is a joke? Jokes said in jest, they say, are actually 2/3 truth, 1/3 joke. So how 'bout that?! All the joking will end if these jokers get elected into office. I'm not a young woman, probably as old as the joker who made this comment, and all my life I've held to the principle that my body is my temple, and no man (including my husband) has the right to tell me what to do with it. Therefore, if I want to color my hair, I'll color my hair. I don't believe any man, rich, poor, republican or liberal, should have the right to tell me what to do. And as always, I find it the most ironic of ironies that this right-wing, conservative bunch believe that the government has no business in our lives, but when it comes to women's reproductive rights, they are the only ones who should make decisions. What's going to happen next?!

    February 17, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  19. Tes Stone

    Close your eyes and imagine the jokes to come, if this trogladyte is nominated. As a "blllllllk" person, I'm waiting for the race jokes to begin.

    February 17, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  20. Sillybean

    Well Freiss and his ilk can go live back in the day when asprin cured MANY ailments and conditions. I'll take my BC, and every other MODERN DAY medical intervention that should be STANDARD care for any woman who requests it...IS IT 1960 AGAIN? Are we really having to fight for BC all over again and defending it's legitimacy from stone cold, heartless, white collar, WHITE men – whom by the way will NEVER BE PREGNANT so I'll open my legs as often as they please since they seem to open their mouths 10 times more!!!!!!

    February 17, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  21. RinosRwinos

    Santorum is a vote for the Tea-Leban. Just what we need a religious nutcase in the whitehouse...NOT!

    February 17, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  22. Jonathan

    I don't get the part about putting it between her knees, but Asprin as birth control is funny. It's a spoof on the cliche of "not tonight, I have a headache".

    February 17, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  23. rachelle

    Not all Republicans think this way; only the religious right-wing element, that highjacked the party, spews this rubbish. Many of the rest of us will either not vote for President at all this election or will vote for Obama. The party has given us no choice.
    Santorum is a joke and Romney is not much better. Gingrich and Paul are barely worth mentioning so the media and thinking Repubs don't. Sad state this country is in and we couldn't even field a viable candidate to beat a lousy President like Obama. If the Repub party doesn't get off the social issue bandwagon, we may never win a big election again. When are you going to get it... It's about the economy stupid, not social issues!
    Most of us don't care who does what in their own bedroom, or who loves who, or who got in trouble and wants to get out of it with a pill or procedure.... It's not my concern! Shouldn't be yours either!
    Santorum tells a crowd "Get a job!" Guess what? I'm sure they would like too!
    Sometimes it's tough to be a Repub but someone has to moderate these idiots.

    February 17, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  24. Carl

    I'm torn between 2 realities:

    1. It is a standard joke, it means nothing, get over it.

    2. Rick Santorum is a frothy backward SOB who holds way to many dastardly opinions to be making jokes when he ought to be apologizing for who he actually is instead of creating additional reasons why he needs to apologize.

    February 17, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  25. Knee Knocker

    Im sorry, all I heard you say was, "Blah blah blah, I am an idiot."

    February 17, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
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