WASHINGTON -- Republican mega-donor Foster Friess declared Friday that he was going to contribute money to outside groups to help elect Republican candidates in both the 2014 midterm elections and the 2016 presidential campaign. The Wyoming-based multimillionaire investor also declared himself "excited to be a part of the 1 percent."
Friess jumped into the national spotlight in 2012 when he pumped more than $2 million into the Red White and Blue Fund, a super PAC supporting former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum in the Republican presidential primary. His money helped the wildly underfunded Santorum to win the Iowa caucuses and to run strong through April against eventual GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
For 2014, Friess said he is prepared to continue his big giving to aid Republican candidates in the House and the Senate.
"I very, very much want to be involved in helping those senators and congressmen and women who can embrace those special values that make America great," he said at a breakfast at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C., sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor. "Everyone knows why we're great is because of the free markets."
Friess mostly dodged the question of whether he would give through the more transparent super PACs or through "dark money" nonprofits that do not disclose their donors. He also waved away another query about how much he gave in 2012, including contributions to dark-money groups.
"You can ask any question you want, and I can decide to answer any question I want," Friess said when asked how much he contributed in the most recent election. "Next question."
He was, however, more than happy to talk about supporting another presidential run by Santorum. "Rick Santorum has so much potential and so much eagerness to serve our country," said Friess.
The real value of outside Republican groups' heavy spending in the 2012 election was much debated after President Barack Obama won reelection and Democrats picked up seats in both the Senate and the House. Questions were also raised about whether the super PAC spending by wealthy individuals like Friess and casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson unnecessarily extended the Republican primary, thereby hurting Romney in the general election.
On Friday, Friess invoked a personal mantra -- "Excellence embraces error and builds on it and transforms it" -- before declaring that he does not regret any of his giving.
"It was absolutely worth it because I allowed Rick Santorum to express views and ideas that the American people wanted to hear and needed to hear that never would have been articulated," Friess said.
"I think we helped Mitt Romney," he continued. "I think we helped define him and caused Mr. Romney to understand some of the visions of [Rick Santorum]."
Still, the president won reelection by more than 4 percentage points and 126 electoral votes. This, however, was not the key point to Friess. "You have to understand that the American people gave the Republican Party a mandate in this last election," he said. "We have a total gain of 17 state legislatures since 2010 -- [they] have moved from the Democratic power to Republican power."
Friess also claimed that the president has a weak mandate because "the total numbers take into account a lot of the center cities that went for Obama." When asked whether he thought votes in the "center cities" should be discounted, Friess firmly answered, "Yes."
He also sought to counter the narrative of a "war on women" that emerged in the 2012 election. Friess said this was rhetoric ginned up by Democrats and their allies in the media. Recounting an instance in which television personality Joy Behar said that Santorum wanted to take away contraception, Friess said, "Somehow that message took advantage of all the low-information women voters out there, who just follow Joy Behar and had no idea that Rick Santorum and Mother Teresa believe that contraception goes against Catholic teaching."
During the campaign, Friess created a controversy when he joked that "back in my days ... gals put [Bayer aspirin] between their knees" to prevent pregnancy.
Friess joked again on Friday about contraception. "Hugh Hefner even said I was trying to reverse the sexual revolution. I have four kids. They're two years apart," he said. "Contraception has been very, very good to me."
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2012 -- Mitt Romney
Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, speaks at the podium as he concedes the presidency on November 7, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)
2008 -- John McCain
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., gestures to his supporters, while his wife, Cindy looks on during his concession speech at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
2004 -- John Kerry
Former Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) stands on stage with his wife Teresa Heinz Kerry after delivering his concession speech at Faneuil Hall on November 3, 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
2000 -- Al Gore
Democratic presidental candidate Al Gore leaves the voting booth after casting his vote at Forks River Elementry School in Elmwood, Tennessee on November 7, 2000. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
1996 -- Bob Dole
Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole lowers his head while making his concession speech to supporters at a Washington hotel, on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 1996. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
1992 -- George H.W. Bush
U.S. President George Bush concedes the election on Nov. 3, 1992 after losing to President-elect Bill Clinton. (BOB DAEMMRICH/AFP/Getty Images)
1992 -- Ross Perot
U.S. independent presidential candidate Ross Perot delivers his concession speech on November 3, 1992 after Democrat Bill Clinton won the presidential election. (Photo credit should read PAUL RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
1988 -- Michael Dukakis
Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis wipes his upper lip during the first presidential debate with his opponent U.S. Vice President George Bush in Winston-Salem, N.C. on Sept. 25, 1988. (AP Photo/Bob Jordan)
1984 -- Walter Mondale
Defeated presidential hopeful Walter Mondale addresses supporters at night, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 1984 at the St. Paul Civic center, conceding to President Reagan. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
1980 -- Jimmy Carter
U.S. President Jimmy Carter concedes defeat in the presidential election as he addresses a group of Carter-Mondale supporters in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 1980. (AP Photo/Barry Thumma)
1976 -- Gerald Ford
President Gerald Ford speaks in the White House Press Room in Washington on November 3, 1976, conceding defeat to Jimmy Carter. (AP photo/ stf)
1972 -- George McGovern
Sen. George McGovern and his family in Sioux Falls, election night, Nov. 7, 1972 after he was defeated by Richard Nixon, and conceding the election. (AP Photo)
1968 -- Hubert H. Humphrey
Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey spaks at the Alfred E. Smith memorial dinner in Waldorf Astoria on Oct. 16, 1968 in New York. (AP Photo/John Lent)
1964 -- Barry Goldwater
A contact sheet of Republican senator Barry Morris Goldwater of Arizona concedes the 1964 presidential election to President Lyndon Johnson at a press conference held at his campaign headquarters at the Camelback Inn, Phoenix, Arizona, on November 4, 1964. (Photo by Washington Bureau/Getty Images)
1960 -- Richard Nixon
Vice President Nixon points to home-made sign at airport as he arrives in home state to cast his ballot on Nov. 8, 1960 in Ontario, California. (AP Photo)
1956 -- Adlai Stevenson
Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts talks with Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson on August 12, 1956 in Chicago. (AP Photo)
1952 -- Adlai Stevenson
Movie Actress Piper Laurie (left) is wearing a donkey head beauty spot on her cheek as she chats with Gov. Adlai Stevenson of Illinois, Democratic presidential nominee in Portland on Sept. 8, 1952. (AP Photo)
1948 -- Thomas Dewey
Dewey ran as the presidential candidate of the Republican Party in the elections of 1944 and 1948. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)
1944, 1948 -- Thomas Dewey
Thomas Dewey (1902 - 1971) Governor of the State of New York broadcasting over the 'Crusade of Freedom' radio. Dewey was the presidential candidate of the Republican Party in the elections of 1944 and 1948. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
1940 -- Wendell Wilkie
Wendell Willkie, rehearses a report to the nation at a New York City radio station on Oct. 26, 1942. Willkie was President Roosevelt's personal representative, and his Republican opponent in the 1940 presidential elections. (AP Photo/Murray Becker)
1936 -- Alf Landon
Gov. Alf M. Landon, G.O.P. presidential nominee, voting in Independence, Kansas on Nov. 3, 1936. (AP Photo)
1932 -- Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover is shown leaving Madison Square Garden, Oct. 31, 1932 in New York City, after delivering his major campaign address before a crowd estimated at 22,000. (AP Photo)
1928 -- Alfred E. Smith
Governor Alfred E. Smith speaks in New York on Nov. 2, 1928. (AP Photo)
1924 -- John W. Davis
John W. Davis, Democratic nominee for President of the U.S., and his wife, are pictured on the estate of Charles Dana Gibson at Seven Hundred Acre Island in Dark Harbor, Maine on July 21, 1924. (AP Photo)
1920 -- James M. Cox
Democratic candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency of the United States, Governor James M Cox and Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882 - 1945) are seen at the head of a nomination parade in Dayton, Ohio on Nov. 1, 1920. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
1916 -- Charles Evans Hughes
1912 -- Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt during the progressive campaign of 1912. (AP Photo)