Huffpost Politics

Foster Friess, Rick Santorum Super PAC Backer, Talks Contraception (VIDEO)

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Foster Friess, a top donor to a Rick Santorum-aligned super PAC, dismissed the importance of his candidate's stances on social issues in an interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Thursday, adding a bizarre statement about birth control.

Friess was asked about Santorum's beliefs on social issues such as abortion and gay rights, which have led many to question his viability in a general election.

"I get such a chuckle when these things come out," he said. He added, "We have jihadist camps being set up in Latin America, which Rick has been warning about and people seem to be so preoccupied with sex -- I think it says something about our culture. We maybe need a massive therapy session so we can concentrate on what the real issues are."

Friess then turned to contraception. "This contraceptive thing, my gosh it's such [sic] inexpensive. Back in my days, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly," he said.

Mitchell, taken aback, said, "Excuse me, I'm just trying to catch my breath from that" and changed the subject. Friess later described Santorum as "truly the post-partisan candidate," a line ascribed to then-candidate Barack Obama in 2008.

Santorum said that he personally believes in the Catholic Church's position on contraception, which is that it should not be used by members of the religion, but that he thinks it should be available. He noted Wednesday that he had voted for funding for contraception "domestically and internationally, and would not support any law that would prevent that."

Still, Santorum has strongly opposed the Obama administration's rule requiring most religiously-affiliated employers to provide contraception in their health plans. He said in 2006 that he thinks that contraception is "harmful to women."

Friess later recounted to Mitchell a conversation he had with someone who challenged him on Santorum's opposition to same-sex marriage.

"So I said to this guy, 'You know through the beginning of time, not just the major religions, but various African tribal people have said that man is marrying a woman. And at what point in your life did that suddenly become an extreme idea?'" Friess said of that conversation. "Well obviously he couldn't answer so the whole idea of extremism seems kind of a bizarre terminology for someone who believes that marriage is between a man and a woman."

Friess donated $331,000 to the Santorum-aligned Red, White and Blue Fund in 2011, which raised $764,000 overall. The amount pales in comparison to the $30.1 million raised by Restore Our Future, a Mitt Romney-aligned super PAC, and the $10 million donated by Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas casino mogul, to a Newt Gingrich-aligned super PAC.

UPDATE:

Hogan Gidley, a spokesman for Santorum, told Talking Points Memo on Thursday that they will not comment on Friess' statement about birth control. The campaign won't "make a comment on somebody that doesn't have any affiliation," Gidley told the outlet. "He can answer those comments."

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