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Rick Santorum donor makes weird contraception comment

Foster Friess, a major donor to the Rick Santorum super PAC, suggested that women use aspirin as a contraceptive. Rick Santorum was not amused.

By DCDecoder / February 17, 2012

Billionaire backer of Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, Foster Friess, at campaign stop in Altoona, Iowa, in January.

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

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Washington

Foster Friess, the billionaire pumping plenty of cash into Rick Santorum’s super PAC, went on Andrea Mitchell’s MSNBC show Thursday afternoon and had the following exchange:

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"I get such a chuckle when these things come out. Here we have millions of our fellow Americans unemployed, 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 that says something about our culture. We maybe need a massive therapy session so we can concentrate on what the real issues are. And this contraceptive thing, my gosh, it’s such inexpensive. Back in my days, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.”

Followed by two beats of silence, Mitchell’s response says it all: “Um, Mr. Friess, I’m trying to catch my breath from that, frankly. Let’s change the subject.”  

Rick Santorum, a Catholic, also seemed eager to change the subject when asked about Friess' remarks. Santorum opposes contraception but called Friess' comment "a stupid joke" and "in bad taste." But he also told Fox News that Friess was "a good man" and "a great philanthropist."

 UPDATE:

Friess, on his website, later apologized for his comments:

"Today on Andrea Mitchell’s 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. 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."

 Friess’ frankly weird remark just capped off a truly weird day in gender politics in the nation’s capital. First, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) of Calif. was zinging one liners all over the place. Huffington Post reports thus:

“I think it’s really curiouser and curiouser that as we get further into this debate, the Republican leadership of this Congress thinks it’s appropriate to have a hearing on the subject of women’s health and can purposely exclude women from the panel,” Pelosi said during a press conference. “What else do you need to know about the subject?”

“If you need to know more, tune in, I may, I may at some point be moved to explain biology to my colleagues.”

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