POLITICS

Rick Santorum Mega Donor Wants Him To Run Again

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Foster Friess, the wealthy conservative businessman who became a political fixture after funding former Sen. Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign in 2012, says he wants the Pennsylvania Republican to run again.

“Anything he does, I’m for,” Friess said, while roaming the halls of the Conservative Political Action Conference. “He is the most wonderful human being on the face of the earth.”

Friess donated $2.1 million to the Red White & Blue Fund, a super PAC that helped keep Santorum afloat as he challenged, and nearly defeated, the much better-funded Mitt Romney in the Republican primary. But when asked if he'd make a similarly large contribution in 2016, Friess hinted strongly that he’s wouldn’t. “I’m not a political animal,” he said. The publicity that came with being a so-called mega donor clearly bothered him.

“When I was found out to be a Santorum backer, I had 60 interviews,” he said. “Ted Koppel sent a crew from New York. Ted Turner sent a crew from Atlanta. I thought they were trying to figure out what I like about this Santorum. You know what the whole message was? How could this wealthy guy steal democracy from the little guy, with all this money? That was the whole gist of the message.”

That’s part of the story. But Friess brought some of the attention on himself when he infamously remarked during an interview that back in his day, women "used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly.”

“That aspirin comment only sparked interested because I was a Santorum supporter,” he insisted on Friday. “I think it was an attempt to try and tie that into I’m against contraceptives. Contraceptives have been very, very good to me. I have four kids, two years apart.”

Even if he wouldn’t personally be setting up a super PAC to support his favored candidate, Friess said he expects more money to be spent in the 2016 presidential race than the 2012 one. He would prefer if there were no super PACs at all, he added, arguing that it would be cleaner if donors like him could give unlimited amounts of money straight to a candidate, provided they disclosed their names.

“If I had my way, you could give as much money to candidates as you wanted without all these superficial, phony, around the back door deals," he said. "But you have to be reported and disclosed. It is a shame."

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