Huffpost Politics

Rick Santorum Responds To Foster Friess's Controversial Comment On Birth Control (VIDEO)

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Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum (R-PA) addresses the Detroit Economic Club February 16, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum (R-PA) addresses the Detroit Economic Club February 16, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

"It was a stupid joke."

That's how former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) described a controversial comment made Thursday by one of his biggest backers.

Foster Friess, a major contributor to a super PAC that supports the GOP candidate for president, was discussing Santorum's stances on social issues like contraception and women's reproductive rights in an interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell when he declared: "Back in my days, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly."

Although Hogan Gidley, a spokesperson for Santorum, told Talking Points Memo that the campaign would not comment on Friess's statement, the candidate himself decided to do so.

On Thursday night, during an interview on the FOX News program "On The Record W/Greta Van Susteren," Santorum brushed off Friess's comment.

"Foster is known in political circles as telling a lot of jokes and some of them are not particularly funny, which this one was not," Santorum said.

Santorum then went on to praise Friess and distance the campaign from the controversial "joke."

"He's not creepy. He's a good man. He's a great philanthropist. He's a very successful businessman," Santorum said. "He told a bad, off-color joke and he shouldn't have done it, but that's his business."

Santorum thinks contraception should be available, but states should have the right to ban it. He has touted his votes for Title X funding as a senator, but now supports retooling it to exclude certain Clinton-era regulations.

CORRECTION: This article originally incorrectly stated that Santorum favors banning federal funding for contraception. The sentence has been edited to reflect his stance.

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