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. ThinkAgain

    The vast majority of Rev. Wright 's sermons were run-of-the-mill, non-inflammatory; everyone with half a brain knows that.

    Sanitorium is the one with the double-standard, insinuating that the firey clip of Rev. Wright that went viral represents all of Rev. Wright's sermons.

    February 18, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  2. ThinkAgain

    Friess wrote in a blog post. "To all those who took my joke as modern day approach I deeply apologize and seek your forgiveness."

    Forgive – but NEVER forget.

    February 18, 2012 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  3. Mary

    Bottom line – men who want to control what women do with their bodies are pigs – period.

    February 18, 2012 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  4. ThinkAgain

    @Truth and yada yada: "So talking about Obama's anti-American and racist mentor and minister for 20 years is "sinking low"??? How so? Is it not part of who Obama is???"

    No because the Rev. Wright sermon that went viral was not attended by President Obama, took place long before he was running for president and the ideas expressed were denounced by then-candidate Obama. The President also addressed the situation directly and severed ties with Rev. Wright.

    I think your problem, yada yada, is that you just aren't adult enough to get President Obama and his policies.

    February 18, 2012 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  5. Zane

    What would you expect from somebody who supports Santorum? Santorum was named the "most corrupt" senator of 2006 by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

    February 18, 2012 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  6. SurRy

    Santorum. Google it.

    February 18, 2012 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  7. tallulah13

    I wonder if he'd have laughed if someone mentioned the Lorena Bobbitt method of birth control.

    February 18, 2012 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  8. MT

    For those of you pretending to wonder what all the fuss is about, let me explain: the difference between this "joke" and actual humor is that the Republicans really ARE trying to take away contraceptive health care from women. And that's not funny. Get it?

    February 18, 2012 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  9. buctootim

    It was a joke – not that funny but not that awful. Ive got friends and relations who say all kinds of things. Does that make it my fault? Anyone who is offended by the guy's comment needs to get out more, or more likely wants to be offended.

    February 18, 2012 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  10. mary

    The Loon

    The "dude" is crude.." Old jokes" don't fly.. Because old jokes were based in disrespect..
    This was all part of times gone by, and they need to stay there.. Even if some men still do not respect women, this is the 21st century and they need to keep it to themselves.

    February 18, 2012 03:48 am at 3:48 am |
  11. john turner

    its a joke people, an offhaned not gut buster joke, are you people out of your mids? offeneded by this comment? truly?

    February 18, 2012 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  12. Randy

    Liberals are the most miserable people on the planet. There isn't a liberal in this country that has a sense of humor. There was absolutely nothing offensive about that joke. All he was basically saying is that if you keep your legs together, you won't get knocked up. I am so glad I'm not a liberal. Thank you Jesus for not making me liberal. Amen.

    February 18, 2012 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
  13. A. Crackpot

    Ricky and Friends need to put an aspirin between their lips, keep keep lips from spreading. It would save them from having to take the morning after pill to abort their foot from their mouth.

    February 18, 2012 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  14. Neal Horsley

    Orgasm addicts, regardless of gender, are thrown into crisis by any suggestion that abstinence from orgasm is the obviously most effective form of birth control, as Frieiss' joke clearly implied. Most of these comments demonstrate how orgasm addicts respond to any suggestion that threatens their addiction. STRUNG OUT!

    February 18, 2012 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  15. sick of republican phonies

    I understand that after his date would put the aspirin between her legs, he would ask "Do you want Friess with that?"

    February 18, 2012 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  16. fiscal2020

    Santorum's aide's joke wasn't a joke. He really believes it - believes that women want birth control because they find having a baby too painful, physically painful, emotionally painful, and financially painful, and therefore should take pain killers instead of having an abortion. This is what ultra-right wing conservatives truly believe - that if women took painkillers and "sucked it up" they wouldn't need birth control.

    Truth is stranger than fiction.

    February 18, 2012 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  17. Just ... wow

    Just goes to prove beyond any possible lingering minute quark of a doubt, money doesn't buy class. What a bleeping redneck in a monkey suit.

    February 18, 2012 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  18. tedt

    Was this guy freiss around when they were burning witches in salem mass.

    February 18, 2012 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  19. Dave

    I'm not supporter of Santorum, and his buddy with the gaffe, don't much admire him either, but what he said, BIG FREAKING DEAL! I would not apologize for squat! Unless your as phony as Rick Santorum, stick by your remarks already!

    February 18, 2012 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  20. Tom

    What's the fuss? It was a JOKE. Get over it.

    February 18, 2012 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  21. TRH

    "It's not reflective of me or my record on this issue"

    Oh, yes it is Rick....and it's your "record" of what comes out of your own mouth that proves it. Come on Rick...you KNOW you had a bit of a chuckle over this in private...didn't ya!

    February 18, 2012 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  22. g.r.r.

    Sigh. While I am not a backer of Santorum (or the neo-con romney), that joke was simply a repeat from the 60's. Give it a break. It was not that horrible. Other than claiming that only women are responsible for BC, it was not that big a deal

    February 18, 2012 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  23. Spencer

    As much as Santorum says his donor doesn't reflect his views...that is the whole point. You can't take millions from someone and not expect them to eventually want a say in things. Santorums an idiot if he really believes that someday Foster won't want to be involved in things.

    February 18, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  24. pray

    omg, really? You democrats are so scared you attack over what was an old joke told on tv? Serious? Wow your man Obama must really be deep in the you know what. I do not find the comment offensive in even the slightest of ways, unlike your mans campaign officials about Chimichungas (that was racist and did not see you lemmings freaking out over it). I cannot wait to see the eviction notice on the white house door and the racist more divisive president leaving!

    February 18, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  25. cregis

    Who cares about his apology? He's sorry because of the uproar not for his comments. I hope women voters realize that Santorum is being supported by this type of person so Santorum's positions are acceptable to him. Isn't it big of Santorum to allow women to use contraceptives?

    February 18, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
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