Martin Bashir | September 13, 2011
>>> it's time now to clear the air. all the pundits had been speculating that after her decline in the polls and her less than scintillating appearance in our own msnbc politico debate last week, michele bachmann needed to deliver a big performance last night in order to reestablish her candidacy, and boy, did she give it a try. perhaps unsurprisingly, she built her strategy on criticizing the front-runner, rick perry , especially on the issue of vaccinating young women to prevent them from contracting the hpv virus which can lead to cervical cancer . it was her view that mandating parents to do so was wrong and that young girls should not be subjected to such an approach to public health . now, of course she's entitled to her own opinion, but it's worth noting that medical experts around the world are persuaded by the evidence and many governments believe that this vaccine is an important weapon for women in the fight against cancer. and this is politics, and i guess michele bachmann decided this was her best hope for making an impact. but this morning, the candidate went much further. much further. she made an assertion on the "today" show which could have very serious ramifications if allowed to go unchallenged. she claimed that following the debate a mother came up to her in tears and made a disclosure about her own daughter's experience of the hpv vaccine , and here's what michele bachmann claims the mother said.
>> i had a mother last night come up to me here in tampa, florida, after the debate, she told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter.
>> if it is true that serious mental illness has been caused by the hpv vaccine , then this is a staggering consequence and is likely to influence millions of parents. although he was struck off and had his license revoked many years ago, the bogus research of dr. andrew wakefield on the mmr vaccine , which he claimed was the cause of autism, has continued to confuse parents and even led to the rise in some potentially fatal conditions. and that's why michele bachmann 's comments this morning are so serious and potentially so dangerous. we contacted the department for health and human services and were told that the very worst side effect that they had seen were rare cases of an flak sis, that's an allergic reaction to the vaccine. but not a single case of mental retardation has been reported anywhere by anyone. now, of course, the parent who apparently spoke to miss bachmann may not be a doctor and her observations are understandably difficult to verify. but as for michele bachmann , this is no longer about her own political aspirations, it's about her own truthfulness. she needs to refer that mother and daughter immediately to medical experts so that a proper clinical assessment can be made, and then they can inform us as to whether there is any basis for the suggestion that a child became mentally retarded after receiving the vaccine. or she needs to admit that in her desperation to make an impact in the republican race for the white house , she may have been economical with the truth . and if she does neither, with then none of us should ever take her seriously ever again. thank you