Foster Friess, the main donor to a super PAC aligned with Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, apologized for his comments suggesting Bayer Aspirin as a contraception method.
In a blog post, the Wyoming billionaire first tried to explain the comment he made Thursday on Andrea Mitchell's MSNBC show.
"My aspirin joke bombed as many didn’t recognize it as a joke but thought it was my prescription for today’s birth control practices," he wrote on "Foster's Campfire Blog," where he posts along with other contributors. "In fact, the only positive comments I got were from folks who remembered it from 50 years back. Birth control pills weren’t yet available, so everyone laughed at the silliness on how an aspirin could become a birth control pill."
"After listening to the segment tonight, I can understand how I confused people with the way I worded the joke and their taking offense is very understandable," he wrote. "To all those who took my joke as modern day approach I deeply apologize and seek your forgiveness." He noted that his wife didn't like the joke, either.
He added, "I am a big fan of the ancient Jewish scripture which says 'God works everything for good for those that love Him and are called to His purpose.' So maybe the good to come from the high profile reaction is a better understanding of Rick Santorum." The quote is actually from the book of Romans in the New Testament.
In the interview with Mitchell Thursday, Friess made a bizarre statement on contraception after trying to downplay the importance of social issues in Santorum's candidacy.
Friess said, "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." Then, unprompted, he 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.
Friess donated $331,000 to the Santorum-aligned Red, White and Blue Fund in 2011, which raised $764,000 overall. He also introduced the GOP candidate at last week's Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. The amount, however, is significantly less than the $30.1 million raised by Romney-aligned Restore Our Future and $11 million donated by Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson to pro-Gingrich Winning Our Future.
Santorum responded to the comments Friday on CBS' "This Morning." "This is someone who is a supporter of mine, and I’m not responsible for every comment that a supporter of mine makes," he told Charlie Rose. "It was a bad joke, it was a stupid joke, and it is not reflective of me or my record on this issue."
He then turned the tables on President Barack Obama. "This is what you guys do. You don't do this with President Obama. In fact, with President Obama, what you did was you went out and defended him against someone who sat in a church for 20 years, and defended him, that he can’t possible believe what he listened to for 20 years,” said the former Pennsylvania senator, referencing Rev. Jeremiah Wright. "That’s a double standard, this is what you’re pulling off, and I’m going to call you on it."
He repeated his position that he supports contraception being available and abstinence-only sex education. He also touted his past vote for Title X funding. However, he believes that states should be able to ban birth control if they want.
UPDATE: Santorum exapanded on Friess' comments to Robert Costa of the National Review Friday afternoon. "You know, [reporters] sit there and they say nothing, while for 20 years [President Obama] sits in a church with a guy who is a racist," he said. “And somehow or another Foster Friess is now who I am? This is just crap."
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