U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann scored points in Monday’s GOP presidential debate for her attack on fellow Tea Party maverick Rick Perry over the governor's controversial HPV vaccination program that targeted pre-teen girls in Texas.
But the Minnesota Republican might have forfeited some of those points moments after the debate when she told Fox News talker Greta Van Susteren that the shots, aimed at a sexually-transmitted virus that can lead to cervical cancer in women, might be linked to mental retardation.
“There’s a woman who came up crying to me tonight after the debate,” Bachmann recounted on Fox. “She said her daughter was given that vaccine. She told me her daughter suffered mental retardation as a result of that vaccine.”
Critics on the left and right were quick to note that there is no medical evidence connecting the HPV vaccinations to brain damage, let alone to mental retardation, which is generally considered to have pre-natal origins – certainly not something that develops in one’s teens.
(Update: Asked about the claim by Fox's Sean Hannity on Tuesday, Bachmann said she had "no idea" if mental retardation is really one of the side effects of the vaccine).
Here's the post-debate clip:
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