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Bachmann campaign sinks on candidates Gardasil claims September 20, 2011

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann, candidate for the Republican nomination for president, attacked Texas Governor Rick Perry in a September 2011 debate for his executive order to have girls in Texas receive injections of the Gardisil HPV vaccine. Bachmann’s claim that Perry was too close to pharmaceutical companies to be trusted was a strong point in the debate, but she extended her argument in one post-debate interview by claiming that the vaccine had apparently made one young girl mentally retarded. Immediately, members of the scientific community challenged her claim, and some even offered cash rewards if she could prove that she had any evidence to support her point.

Bachmann attempted to walk back on her claims by pointing out that she was not arguing as a medical expert. However, the damage was clearly done. According to Bachmann insiders, the Congresswoman has a history of making controversial statements that cannot be supported with facts. Her cavalier style is probably her weakest trait, they say, and will surely sink her campaign if she cannot get it under control.

To see Bachmann’s statement yourself, watch the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Why was Bachmann’s statement about Gardasil causing mental retardation so troubling?

2.  Will Bachmann’s statement sink her campaign, or can she return from the gaffe?

3.  How do you think Bachmann’s opponents will use her gaffe against her?

4.  How does Bachmann’s gaffe demonstrate the importance of media access to political candidates?

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