Foster Friess is a multimillionaire fund manager who burst onto the national scene as the money-man behind Rick Santorum’s SuperPAC, the “Red, White and Blue Fund.” Indeed, without the support of Friess, many believe Santorum could never have stayed alive to this point in the GOP fight.
Most shadowy supporters of SuperPACs have the good sense to stay off TV, Foster Friess lacks that sense. Perhaps he was a little full of himself after his turn in the limelight at CPAC, where he earned laughs and applause for a standup routine highlighted by the joke: “A liberal and a moderate walk into a bar and the bartender says ‘Hi, Mitt.'”
He appeared on Andrea Mitchell today and probably earned himself a media firestorm in about 24 hours.
The video is a little shocking, and it’s the EDITED version! Watching it live was amazing and I wish I could find video of the full interview.
He will likely be ridiculed most for his dismissal of contraception as unnecessary because in his day it was cheap for women to put Bayer tablets between their knees. Ha! Get it? Blurg. I’m sure Bayer cures breast growths and cysts too!
Matt Yglesias has already won Twitter for the day by immediately pointing out
@mattyglesias : Fun fact: Aspirin was cheap back in Foster Friess’ day thanks to big government seizure of Bayer patents.
But if this part of the interview becomes the big story, it does a disservice to us for marginalizing all the other gaffes Friess made in the interview. Friess opened by trying to move the interview off of contraception, an issue that Santorum’s campaign needs to downplay because it is a political negative for him. But rather than focusing on the economy or Santorum’s blue collar, simple-folk upbringing — the campaign’s talking points — Friess focused on Jihadist training camps in Latin America. Remember when the polls showed how this was the top concern of American voters? Me neither. This is probably the furthest issue from the mind of voters he could have chosen. AND all it does is remind everyone that Obama reinstated the search that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden.
Then he denigrates marriage equality in the least politic way imaginable, pointing out that even “them backward Africans agree with me” rather than just using safe, market-tested buzzwords like “preserving the traditional family.” But what the video cut out is that the “guy” in the story Friess is relating was introduced as “when I talk to people around my country club…” Santorum is trying to defeat the country club candidate based on being the son of a coal miner and Friess is talking about the importance of winning over the guys at the club? Oh my!
This is just what happens when a non-politician tries to play in the big leagues without preparation. But it has potentially devastating repercussions for Santorum if the blowback from this appearance forces Santorum to distance himself and Friess to withdraw and stop bankrolling the campaign. In a general election, this could be Santorum’s Reverend Wright moment, where the candidate is attacked by his choice of friends and I don’t think Santorum is equipped to give an eloquent, historic speech to get out of it.