Foster Friess Billionaire
February 18, 2012 by staff
Foster Friess Billionaire, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum was coping with a political migraine Friday amid controversy over a prominent supporter’s bizarre quip about women using Aspirin as a contraceptive.
The former Pennsylvania senator, who is surging in GOP polls, said it was “stupid” of billionaire businessman and philanthropist Foster Friess to joke that “gals” in his youth used Bayer Aspirin to keep from getting pregnant.
But Santorum lashed out at the media for seeking to hold him responsible for remarks made by a supporter who has no formal role with his campaign.
“It was a bad joke. It was a stupid joke. It is not reflective of me or my record on this issue,” Santorum said Friday on CBS This Morning. “This is the same ‘gotcha’ politics that you get from the media, and I’m just not going to play that game. I’m not responsible for any comment that anybody who supports me makes.”
The tempest began Thursday when Friess, a 71-year-old billionaire who has donated heavily to the pro-Santorum Red, White and Blue super political action committee, offered his views on a new Obama administration rule requiring U.S. employers to offer free contraception in health-care plans for their workers.
“This contraceptive thing, my gosh, it’s (so) inexpensive,” Friess told journalist Andrea Mitchell.
“Back in my days, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.”
The remark by Friess, which baffled some and angered others, has distracted Santorum at a time when national polls show him in a statistical dead heat with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination.
Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, called Friess’s remarks “insulting and irresponsible” and said birth control was “not something to belittle on national TV.”
Friess has sought to clarify his comment by saying he was not seriously suggesting Aspirin as a contraceptive.
He didn’t elaborate on what point he was trying to make with his joke, or whether he was trying to suggest that women should simply avoid having sex.
“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 his personal blog.
“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.”
Friess said he wanted to “deeply apologize and seek your forgiveness.”
Still, the controversy has put the spotlight on Santorum’s own views on contraception. A socially conservative Catholic, the 51-yearold former lawmaker is known as one the GOP’s leading culture warriors.
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