Wednesday, Dec. 07, 2011

Michele Bachmann's Government Injection

There's something about the words government injection that grabs an audience's attention, especially a group of Republican primary voters. In a Sept. 12 debate, Michele Bachmann delivered a stinging critique of Rick Perry's support for mandating the HPV vaccine for teenage girls in Texas, which he later called "a mistake." "I'm a mom of three children, and to have innocent little 12-year-old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat-out wrong," she said. "Little girls who have a negative reaction to this potentially dangerous drug don't get a mulligan." The personal message was well received by the debate crowd, and it fed conservative criticism of Perry that snowballed in the following days. But her latter point spiraled out of control after the debate, when Bachmann counted "mental retardation" among the "very dangerous consequences" of the vaccine, a contention that has no basis in medical research. Despite criticism from various doctors' groups, Bachmann declined to walk back the remark. "I wasn't speaking as a scientist," she told CNN a week later. "I was merely passing on ... what I had heard."