The HillTube

Santorum accuses media of double standard on Obama and Jeremiah Wright

Rick Santorum accused the media of a “double standard” Friday for defending President Obama for the comments of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor.

Santorum was reacting to criticism of comments Thursday by Forster Friess, who made ill-advised remarks about birth control. He said he shouldn’t be held accountable for every comment by one of his supporters, and said the media were playing “gotcha politics.”

ADVERTISEMENT
"Look, this is what you guys do,” Santorum said on CBS. “I mean, you don't do this with President Obama; in fact with President Obama what you did was you went out and defended him against someone who he sat in a church for, for 20 years and defended him that, 'Oh, he can't possibly believe what he listened to for 20 years.'

"That was the double standard — this is what you're pulling off and I'm going to call you on it,” Santorum said.

Obama’s 2008 campaign was nearly derailed by the controversy surrounding Wright, who in incendiary sermons said the Sept. 11 attacks were the result of U.S. policies and said it should be “not God bless America. God d--n America.”

In response to the controversy, Obama gave a highly acclaimed speech on race in America in which he denounced Wright’s comments, and he later resigned from Wright’s church.

Republicans have sometimes shied away from bringing up Wright. Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) made the strategic decision not to raise the issue in the 2008 campaign.

Santorum on Friday was reacting to a controversy engulfing his own campaign after supporter Friess's comments on birth control Thursday.

"I'm not responsible for every comment a supporter of mine makes," Santorum said Friday on CBS.

Friess was widely criticized by women's health advocates Thursday after he joked that birth control would be less expensive if women simply remained abstinent.

"This contraceptive thing, my gosh, it's so inexpensive. You know, back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception," Friess said on MSNBC. "The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn't that costly."

Santorum admitted that "it was a bad joke — it was a stupid joke," but maintained that it was not "reflective of me or my record on this issue." Friess is the largest donor to the super-PAC supporting Santorum's candidacy.

"When you quote supporter of mine who tells a bad, off-color joke and somehow I'm responsible for that, that's 'gotcha,' " Santorum added.

Friess apologized for the comments in a blog post late Thursday night.

"After listening to the segment tonight, I can understand how I confused people with the way I worded the joke and their taking offense is very understandable. To all those who took my joke as modern-day approach I deeply apologize and seek your forgiveness. My wife constantly tells me I need new material — she understood the joke but didn’t like it anyway — so I will keep that old one in the past where it belongs," Friess wrote.

The former senator said it was a "double standard" to press him on Friess's comments, considering Obama’s ties to Wright.

The former Pennsylvania senator has said previously that while he thinks women should have access to contraception, he did not believe the government should subsidize the cost in any way. Santorum loudly denounced the Obama administration's decision to require employers — or insurance companies, if religious employers objected — to cover the cost of birth control.