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.