Perry on Bachmann's vaccine gaffe: 'No basis in fact'
September 14th, 2011
05:33 PM ET
3 years ago

Perry on Bachmann's vaccine gaffe: 'No basis in fact'

Richmond, Virginia (CNN) – Texas Governor Rick Perry took issue Wednesday with Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann's recent comments linking the HPV vaccine to mental retardation.

The issue flared up at Monday's "CNN-Republican Tea Party Debate" when Bachmann slammed Perry's decision in 2007 to require vaccinations for Texas school girls against the sexually transmitted HPV virus which may cause cervical cancer.

Then on Tuesday, Bachmann told NBC News she had heard from a woman who said her daughter "took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter."

Health experts immediately rejected the claim the vaccine causes mental health problems.

After a speech in Richmond, Virginia Wednesday, Perry told reporters Bachmann's comments had "no basis in fact."

"I think that was a statement that has no truth and no basis in fact and I hate cancer and that is what this has always been about for me," Perry said.

The Texas Governor went on to talk about how his parents both survived bouts with cancer. He said his meeting with a young woman who died from cervical cancer had an influenced his decision.

"I sat by the bed of a young lady as she was dying from cervical cancer. It had an impact on me. I care about life," Perry said.

The Bachmann campaign stood by its criticism of Perry in a statement to CNN.

"Governor Perry abused his power of the executive order to in imposing mandatory vaccines on 12 year old girls and engaged in crony capitalism with donors in sealing the deal – that's the truth," Bachmann campaign spokeswoman Alice Stewart said in a statement.

The statement did not address the validity of Bachmann's comments on the vaccine's safety.

The American Association of Pediatrics has sharply criticized Bachmann's comments in a statement.

"There is absolutely no scientific validity to this statement," the association said.


Filed under: Michele Bachmann • Rick Perry
soundoff (166 Responses)
  1. V in Chicago

    Thank God neither of these two idiots stand a chance against Obama. But, hey, I've always loved the circus, so keep it coming teapartiers. It's fun watching your fools go after each other. It just goes to show how inept they both are and how much we need another four years for Obama!!

    September 15, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  2. Lynne

    Some republican leaders have said that their primary goal is to make sure that President Obama is a one term President, but then these are the people they put forth to run against him?????????

    Some how I don't think their words and actions match up. There are many stronger, less radical Republicans out there...but I guess they figure they don't have a chance to win against Obama, so they will just wait until they don't have to run against him.

    Just a theory. Cause these guys are a bunch of yahoos!

    September 15, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  3. JW

    "He cares about life." Just not the quality of that life.

    September 15, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. Daniel R

    Thank God idiots like Bachmann were not able to influence decisions and/or oppose government-mandated vaccinations against polio and smallpox in the 1950's and 1960's, otherwise those horrific diseases would still afflict millions of Americans. Of course Bachmann – in her infinate wisdom – would say that those diseases were God's punishment against America for (choose your favorite target) gays, Muslims, blacks, rock and roll, feminists, liberals, etc.

    September 15, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. Thor

    So, I'm not convinced to vote for ANY candidate at this time, however, my elimination button is pretty strong for Perry. Here is why: He took money from the MERK corporation and made a mandate (law) change because of it. That is pretty clear to even the dumbest person that Perry has accepted money for a favor. I'm not sure about Texas Law, but, I do know that I don't vote for people who I know take money for favors in office. I'd say that THAT is all the scientific evidence that an ex tax attorney needs to let me know!

    September 15, 2011 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. Jaywing

    Seriously folks, neither of these two clowns are fit to run anything but a garbage dump. Perry's Texas is a mess, with the highest rate of uninsured, under-paid, poorly-educated, over-executed population in America. His state is bankrupt. His political staff corrupt. Bachmann, on the other hand, well... she's just just freakin' nuts. She lies non-stop, is totally clueless on American history, the constitution, science, ethics, international relations and rational thought. if this is all the GOP has, then they should fold their circus tent and take their place in the unemployment line.

    September 15, 2011 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  7. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    The fact that she was wrong in her accusation and he had to wait until his staff checked the facts about the vaccine should worry Republicans far more than it seems to. Neither of the candidates had the correct information at hand. Bachmann is just spouting Information that is very popular among the low end Tea Partiers. And Perry. Lets just say Perry is not among the nations finest in mental ability.

    September 15, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. Jim R

    Hopefully even conservative Republicans can see the obvious by now – that Michelle Bachmann is a moron, a fanatic, and a liar. Anyone who really believes in what the GOP only pretends to promote – limited government and individual liberty – had better be praying that Teatalitarians like Bachmann and her ilk never gain power in this country.

    September 15, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. Michael - Portage

    And Perry's characterization of the science around global warming/climat change also has no basis in fact........pot calling the kettle black.

    September 15, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. Blue19

    not really a shock here. Tea Party candidates have not been fettered with trvial subjects like facts in the past.

    September 15, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  11. Bessy

    Bachmann told a blatent lie. Even if someone told her that she had a responsibility to check it out before she repeated it.

    September 15, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. Voice of Reason

    You gotta wonder why he didnt say this in the debate... Maybe it wasnt on his practice-cards?

    What a phony either way.

    September 15, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  13. Tom

    Everything you hear the GOP say should be followed by, even if just in your mind, "not intended to be a factual statement." And leave it at that.

    September 15, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  14. Cedar Rapids

    And after all this back and forth is done and they finally get their candidate, the losers that spent all this time saying how crap the other people are, will turn around and declare how the winner is the perfect person for the job and how well qualified and fantastic they are.

    September 15, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  15. @OddsWithScience

    like Perry's comments on climate change, Bachmann can argue that science is not in 100% agreement on this subject, only 99.999999% agree.

    September 15, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  16. Denita

    The fact that parents could opt out of the vaccination makes it pretty difficult to argue anything was being forced upon anybody.

    September 15, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  17. Tber

    Bachman really put her foot in her mouth. Her statements are not accurate. I would not vote for her nor the rest. This is the best the party can come up with to beat OBAMA????

    September 15, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  18. This is Really Scary!!!

    I shudder at the thought of one of these creationism-loving, global-warming-denying, immigration-bashing, Social-Security-cutting, clean-air-hating, mortality-fascinated, Wall-Street-protecting Republicans running my country.

    September 15, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  19. Luke Brown

    Here is a vaccine that can prevent most cervical cancers, and Bachmann is callously scaring millions of parents to score a few political points. She has no idea what she is talking about. She showed that this has no understanding about how dangerous it is for someone in her position to just mouth off about something without any understanding of what it could mean.

    It's interesting that it has taken Governor Perry three days to actually respond, which tells me he really didn't have a handle on the issue when he signed that executive order.

    September 15, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  20. Brian

    By Bachmann making these comments that hold no medical marrit Bachmann has used scare tantics to get her point across. The family members of these girs who have not educated themselves on the vaccine only heard "HPV causes mental retardation". This is irresposible and wreckless. But lets look on the other side. If the republicans vote for Ron Paul these girls who don't get the vaccine and then get cuvical cancer and don't have insurance will just suffer and go untreated... The warm hearts of the republican party.

    September 15, 2011 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. Kyser

    HPV causes warts and leads to Cervical Cancer......known fact, but it "Might" cause retardation....hmmmm...lets see.....this looks like another year i won't be voting due to the lack of sound choices for canidates.

    September 15, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  22. Alex

    I understand that people on these boards disagree with many of Governor Perry's policies, but in this case he should be given a lot of credit for taking a stand on an issue that has him at odds with his base. It's strange to me that somebody like 'Ernie' can criticize a state or the government for mandating a vaccine for children. By that rational, I would assume that he opposes the required vaccines for polio and measles that already exist. I'm glad that this debate has brought attention to the HPV vaccine, but it's disappointing that people give any sort of merit to Rep Bachmann's statement, which is clearly at odds with scientific evidence, or use this story as another opportunity to sound off about how awful Gov Perry is.

    September 15, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  23. powercred

    Here is the irony: we have a bunch of GOP runners who are dead against government intervention in anyone's life and decisions and here they are debating their own actions of a government mandate. They want to make the point that government should stay away from everything possible and let citizens and the private sector decide but are themselves clamoring to get into government and mandate things themselves. Look around and see GOP governors mandating stuff left right and center.

    September 15, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  24. BigBee

    At least good or bad, we know where we stand with the Democratic president. He could improve his standing simply by firing some of his advisers and/or staff. However, just take a look at the bunch that the Republicans are offering. Bachmann (as radical and dumb as they come who never engages her brain before putting her mouth in gear); Gingrich (who once made a bunch of promises – a contract with America – and then finally left politics in disgrace); Perry (and his purported connections with Merck); Paul (who wants to do away with everything governmental just because it is there); etc., etc. Come on America. Surely we have better to offer than this bunch.

    September 15, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  25. Bachman and Perry are Soooo Scary!

    Bachman says the stupidest things I don't understand why anyone takes her seriously. Perry is a snake. Yet both of these are "called by God to run for the presidency". I guess they serve two different Gods...why would God call of the these Tea Partiers at the same time to do the same thing when there is one position? This whole Tea Party is utterly scary. Sad thing is, our country is in trouble and we need a good leader. Obama is flailing around with the same tired ideas. The GOP selections are pathetic except for Huntsman, who has no chance in the GOP.

    September 15, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
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