Santorum calls Foster Friess’s Bayer aspirin comment a “bad joke”

Back in Foster's day they walked five miles uphill both ways just to get Bayer aspirin to put between their ladyfolk's knees.

Rosie Gray, writing at BuzzFeed, chatted up Rick Santorum about the unfortunate comments his SuperPAC backer, Foster Friess, made about contraception earlier:

Rick Santorum wasn’t very amused by his friend and super PAC backer Foster Friess’ comment today about using aspirin as birth control.

Today on MSNBC, Friess said “Back in my days they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives,” adding, “The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.”

Asked about the quote outside the Oakland County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner here in Novi, Santorum wasn’t at first aware of the incident — but when it was described to him, he told BuzzFeed “I’m not responsible for every bad joke one of my supporters makes.”

Friess will be appearing on MSNBC again at 10 tonight to “set the record straight” on his aspirin remark, he tweeted earlier.

Speaking with Lawrence O’Donnell this evening, Friess played dumb, saying: “Back in my days, they didn’t have the birth control pill, so to suggest that Bayer Aspirin could be a birth control was considered pretty ridiculous and quite funny. So I think that was the gist of that story, but what’s been nice, it gives an opportunity to really look at what this contraceptive issue is all about.”

Right, the part about putting the aspiring between girls’ knees had nothing to do with it.

“I have been blessed by contraceptives,” Friess went on, inexplicably. “It’s an important thing for many women. it’s allowed them to advance their careers and make their own choices. That’s what’s special about America. People can choose. That’s what’s so annoying about this idea that President Obama forcing people to do something that is against their religious beliefs and that’s what the issue’s about, where Rick Santorum, as I said earlier, you know what his position is, but yet he’s never had any attempts, in fact, has even funded contraceptives to fight aids in Africa.”

What an odd shuffle. It’s almost as though Santorum and Friess are coordinating their message, and when Santorum expressed his distaste for Friess’s joke, Friess backed away from it. Not surprising, really, given Santorum’s meteoric rise in the polls and his need to start appealing to larger swaths of the American public. One can only play the far-right social conservative card in so many settings. After a while you need to diversify.

The problem for Santorum is that he really can’t shake his social conservative bona fides. That’s his strength and his weakness. Despite what Politfact might say, a majority of Americans are not hardcore so-cons, and most Americans are pro-birth control. 2011 was the first year that most Americans voiced a favorable opinion about gay marriage, for that matter. Santorum’s politics are a dying breed.

I hope he wins the nomination, even though I’m pretty sure he won’t.

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Should Conservatives Unite Behind Ron Paul To Defeat Romney?

Ron Paul has asked the rest of the field to drop out and help him defeat Romney.

Mitt Romney’s victory in New Hampshire Tuesday doesn’t cement the former governor’s lead quite as much as he had hoped. Ron Paul came in a strong second – maybe not as strong as Santorum’s close second in Iowa – but strong nonetheless. Since everyone who scores gets some delegates this time around – unlike past years where it was winner-take-all – this leaves Paul with the second most delegates. Now the Paul campaign is urging that everyone other than Romney drop out and unite to defeat Mitt and support Paul.

“Ron Paul tonight had an incredibly strong second-place finish in New Hampshire and has stunned the national media and political establishment,” said campaign chief Jesse Benton in a statement.

“When added to Paul’s top-tier showing in Iowa, it’s clear he is the sole Republican candidate who can take on and defeat both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.

“The race is becoming more clearly a two-man race between establishment candidate Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, the candidate of authentic change. That means there is only one true conservative choice.

“Ron Paul has won more votes in Iowa and New Hampshire than any candidate but Mitt Romney.

“Ron Paul and Mitt Romney have been shown in national polls to be the only two candidates who can defeat Barack Obama.

“And Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are the only two candidates who can run a full, national campaign, competing in state after state over the coming weeks and months. Ron Paul’s fundraising numbers — over $13 million this quarter — also prove he will be able to compete with Mitt Romney. No other candidate can do all of these things.

“Ron Paul is clearly the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney as the campaign goes forward.

“We urge Ron Paul’s opponents who have been unsuccessfully trying to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney to unite by getting out of the race and uniting behind Paul’s candidacy.”

Of course, this is never going to happen. Romney’s enemies may despise him but they tend to despise Paul just as much. It’s dubious that Newt Gingrich could deflate his ego long enough to forget that Paul called him a chickenhawk. Even Newt’s deep-seeded loathing for Romney won’t erase Paul’s own attacks on the former speaker.

Beyond that, while Paul is certainly positioned to run a national race, he may lose momentum in South Carolina. He’s polling around fourth place there behind Santorum, Gingrich, and Romney. No chance anybody but Perry drops out before South Carolina though the bumbling Texas governor doesn’t seem to realize this.

At some point we’ll start to see candidates leaving the race. Huntsman put all his eggs into the New Hampshire basket. If he can’t make headway in South Carolina or Florida I don’t see any reason he’d stick around. Santorum will likely get a boost in South Carolina though that may not last beyond Florida and neither he nor Gingrich have the warchest to keep this act up much longer.

So it is possible – likely even – that sometime in the near future this does become a two-man race between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. But don’t expect chickenhawks like Gingrich to lend him their support. Santorum and Huntsman are wild cards, but it’s hard for me to imagine either of them going to bat for Paul. Which means he’s on his own, paving the way for his son, Rand Paul, to win in the next election or the election after that.

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