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. yogi

    @ AEK and DandyStriker, great posts!
    Typical Republican: you are spewing garbage and then you apologize timidly.
    Thank God we have dignity in the White House, and four more years to offset the shameful GOP.

    February 17, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  2. Jon in Balto

    Smoke and mirrors. The GOP has nothing going for it right now, so they set this up. Look how much "ink" this idiotic remark got...you can't buy publicity like this! It was once said that there is no such thing as a bad review, in this case there is no such thing as a bad joke...it has gotten attention. albeit negative, back to the GOP during this intermission from primaries, and stolen the spotlight away from a DJIA just shy 7 points of 13K, 50% approval rating of Obama, a trending lower of unemployment.

    The joke is old and between girlfriends or mothers and daughters it wouldn't be that offensive. But as we have learned the people who made the joke are in general anti-women's rights and that makes teh same HA-HA joke in a mean spirited utterance. I always tell my kids, "Be care when you make a joke, what may seem funny to you may not be funny to the people listening, know your audience."

    February 17, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  3. Pattie

    Santorum is against birth control because sex is only for married couples who are trying to make a baby. Otherwise, not even married people should be having sex. Maybe we should do away w/all medicines, doctors, hospitals, surgeries. Just let nature take its course. If we get cancer, we shouldn't be treated. After all, God gave it to us. We should just accept our fate. I don't like Santorum's slippery slope. This could all come down the pike if he gets elected.

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

    this IS a reflection of who santorum is. he has a low opinion of woman and their rights. he is only fit to be president of a mens club or a priest. the fact santorum is doing well, is a reflection of how much romney sucks. the republicans really screwed the pooch this election

    February 17, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  5. Thomas

    Santorum would have done good 30 years ago in an eastern European country.

    February 17, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  6. midwest

    Good to see that meany who read this article did not find this mutual fund fat-cat's "joke" humorous in the least, and commented that this is how far too many Republican males feel about women. Being backed by such a dolt also illustrates that Santorum is no different than any of the other Republican candidates.

    February 17, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  7. mary

    Yeah, I heard that joke about 20 years ago. It was funny because it was so outrageous, so ridiculous and so incorrect. To have someone say that in a serious interview, PLUS use the word "gals" really reveals how out of touch this guy is. Totally inappropriate.

    February 17, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  8. midwest

    Sorry – – make that "many" not "meany."

    February 17, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  9. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    BobInIrvine - Santorum bringing up Jeremiah Wright again shows just how desperate these GOP candidates are, and how low they will sink to beat Obama.
    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???

    February 17, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. Malory Archer

    You said it. You meant it. It was moronic, disrespectful, and not the least bit funny. Apology not meant, and NOT ACCEPTED, YA JERK!

    February 17, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. rob

    Most non knee jerk, hyperpartisan, Dem shills found it a bad attemp at humor but knew what he was trying to say. How long untill Wasserman-Schultz comes out and says that anyone who is against the Govt paying for all womens birth controll is sentencing women to DEATH. That is how far the Dems have to go because they have nothing possitive to run on. We should not have to pay for others birth controll unless its a real HEALTH issue covered by medical insurance PERIOD.

    February 17, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  12. Illeagle-j1

    Hey, lighten up, give the guy a break. He was the victim of the aspirin regimen when he was a teen. It must have been traumatic for him to encounter true birth control method. You can understand why he is so upset, he still experiences flash backs. As for Santoreum, God Forgive him, he know not what he does, He's a GOPher.

    February 17, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  13. Karen

    Thank God my dad never ran for President. That was one of his favorite jokes "back in the day".

    February 17, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    The bigger question is why Rick Sanctimonious has decreed himself arbitrator of all that is $exual. Dudes fascination with America's $exual activities is reaching high paranoia. Really, GOPers. You can do better than Rick Santorum. Well, in 2016 maybe. President Obama has 2012 locked up, thanks to Mittens and Co. running around the country making fools of themselves.

    I'll agree with Rick on the aspirin joke. It was stupid (and about 50 years out of date). For the rest of GOPerville getting all bent out of shape - practice what you preach.

    February 17, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. Illeagle-j1

    Bye the way, under certain medical plans, aspirin are more expensive than birthcontrol pills.

    February 17, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    "an aspirin between the knees . ." what a gut-buster. Reminds me of my dera departed Gramps & his favorite joke about the Rabbi & the Priest, except even he would've known better than to tell it during a "serious subject" interview on a national network televsion broadcast.

    February 17, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  17. Carol

    Foster must just be the "life of the party" with his hilarious joke? Don't honor this turkey with publicity.

    February 17, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  18. Malory Archer

    Isn't it interesting how those who find it "just a funny joke" and claim that women just need to "lighten up" all appear to be new to these threads. Anyone else here suspect they might be ringers?

    February 17, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  19. Flappy

    I love how he thinks its a double standard.

    According to him it is exactly the same situation when a conservative says something offensive vs when a progressive listens to something offensive.

    Seriously? Really? Obama listening to a preacher that says something offensive is the same as you making an offensive statement on national TV?

    Come to think of it he is right. There is a double standard going on here.

    February 17, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  20. Rhonda

    to callmecrazy...The point is that who Rev Wright is and what he stands for (evil) should have given rise to much outrage in comparison to this stupid joke. Rev Wright is a divisive, angry, hateful man and B Obama chose to sit under his tutelage. Anyone who is concerned that a woman would believe the joke or would be offended by it obviously underestimates the intelligence of the average woman.

    February 17, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. rob

    President Obama framed his arguement for forcing Insurance Co's to offer "Free" contrception to women as helping them to "Pay rent" and for "groceries" instead of their birth controll. Well I pay about $1200 per year on my gas for my car, how about forcing someone to pay for my gasoline so I can pay for groceries etc.

    February 17, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  22. Jim

    I prefer the birth control pill for men – I put it in my shoe and it makes me limp. LOL

    February 17, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  23. William Marlowe

    The problem is you don't get what people are upset about. I am a 54 year old, believe conservative man, and I find what you continue to call a 'Joke' an insult to women everywhere. You make all men look like complete idiots and Neanderthals with your ‘Insult’ and are doing us no favors by trying to white wash it with what you call an apology even though you try to make it again sound like women and other people who found your ‘Insult’ insulting too ignorant to understand your sense of humor.

    You seriously need therapy are doing Rick Santorum NO FAVORS. Shut up, please.

    February 17, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  24. Debbie

    As "dumb" as Foster Friess' statement was... lets be honest... he said "In my day" and the fact is, that was the thinking in his day. We may not wish that was the thinking, and it was a stupid thing to say but he was telling the truth. This is why he should not apologize either! Why should Foster Friess apologize for speaking truth? If some old guy said this on some sitcom everyone would be laughing! So lets all relax and use our heads and start holding our politicians accountable for the lies they tell; ask them to apologize for those!

    February 17, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  25. Malory Archer

    Anyone who doesn't understand why there's so much consternation over this needs to stand back and look at the big picture. I've heard his comment before, and while it may be fine for cocktail parties, it's entirely inappropriate when speaking to America. Additionally, he entirely dismissed Andrea Mitchell's question with his inane comment – and THAT is the REAL issue.

    February 17, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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