If you’re a GOP candidate and Rush Limbaugh thinks you’ve gone too far, you probably went too far.
That’s the boat 2012 presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann finds herself for her unfounded claim that the vaccine for HPV can cause mental retardation.
What began as an attack on rival Rick Perry’s 2007 support of mandatory HPV inoculation for preteen girls now threatens to sink her campaign. Bachmann’s alarmist claims have rankled not just Democrats and scientists, but formerly friendly conservatives as well.
Rush Limbaugh — no stranger to inflammatory remarks himself — said Tuesday that Bachmann had “jumped the shark” on the issue. Fox News contributor and conservative blogger Michelle Malkin wrote Wednesday that Bachmann’s claims bordered on being a “demagogic” attack.
“Bachmann is right on the principles, but it gets dicey citing cases where individual anecdotes need to be vetted before tossing them out on TV,” Malkin wrote on her site.
Other prominent conservative blogs and newspapers criticised Bachmann in unusually strong terms. Writers for Power Line and The Volokh Conspiracy called Bachmann’s remarks “irresponsible,” while Red State blogger Steve Haff said she had, “resort[ed] to junk science.”
Even Bachmann’s former campaign manager, Ed Rollins, said the Congresswoman had made a major blunder.
“Obviously she would have been better if she stayed on the issue, when issue was [Rick Perry’s] executive orders, and whether he basically made a mistake, as he said he did,” Rollins said Wednesday on MSNBC “He made a mistake. She made a mistake. The quicker she admits she made a mistake and moves on the better it is.”
Bachmann’s claims about the dangers of the HPV vaccine have been resoundingly rejected by the medical community. According to the CDC, about 0.05% of all Gardasil recipients reported any side effects, only 8% of which were deemed “serious,” and none of which included mental retardation or Autism.
A bioethicist at the University of Minnesota has offered a $1,000 reward to anyone who can find a patient who actually developed mental retardation because of the HPV vaccine. A UPenn bioethicist upped the offer to $10,000.
h/t James Hohmann
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