If you were in charge of a big political fundraiser in Colorado, where women voters are obviously a key voting bloc, and your keynote speaker was recently embroiled in a national controversy for his joke that contraception need not be so expensive because, back in the old days, "The gals put [Bayer Aspirin] between their knees, and it wasn't that costly," would you disinvite the guy and find another keynoter?
It's a legitimate question.
Yet, as far as I know, no reporter has posed it to Larimer County GOP officials who've got Foster Friess listed as the keynote speaker for their April 6 Lincoln Day Dinner.
Friess, a wealthy Republican donor and backer of Rick Santorum, made the comments back in February to MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, who said his response took her breath away. Mitchell had asked Friess to comment on Rick Santorum's statements about contraception, which include his opposition to some forms of it.
Friess later apologized, writing on his website that he was kidding, and his joke "bombed."
"To all those who took my joke as modern day approach I deeply apologize and seek your forgiveness," Friess wrote. "My wife constantly tells me I need new material -- she understood the joke but didn't like it anyway -- so I will keep that old one in the past where it belongs."
Still, the joke generated controversy, particularly on talk shows around the country.
Asked if the flap around Friess had given him second thoughts about inviting Friess to their fundraiser, Larimer County GOP Chair Michael Fassi said, "We're going to move ahead with Foster Friess."
Former CU Regent Tom Lucero, who's the master of ceremonies for the event, told me that Friess's joke didn't give him second thoughts about his own involvement in the dinner.
"I think that Foster handled it appropriately," said Lucero, who's served as Chair of the Larimer County GOP. "He was trying for a joke, and it fell flat. It wasn't the appropriate forum for that particular joke, and we moved on."
Asked if he'd disinvite a speaker who made a controversial comment that women could reduce the cost of birth control by placing pills between their legs, Colorado Democratic Chair Rick Palacio said, "In a word, yes."
Friess has said he plans to back key Senate candidates across the country during the next election cycle, and his appearance in Colorado may signal a broader interest in getting involved in presidential swing state or in backing social conservatives like Santorum (e.g., Mike Coffman, Joe Coors, Cory Gardner) running here in Colorado.
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