Michele Bachmann is on the hot seat this week for her controversial comments about the HPV vaccine for young girls.
During the Republican presidential debate in Tampa, Florida, Bachmann took a swipe at Governor Rick Perry for his 2007 order to vaccinate girls in Texas against a common sexually transmitted virus, HPV, which has been linked to cervical cancer.
"This was about trying to stop a cancer," Perry said.
Many parents oppose states requiring girls to be vaccinated, so Bachmann's attack was seen as definitely delivering. But then she took it one step further, making this claim on the Today show about a woman she met at the debate:
"Her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter," Bachmann claimed on the Today show.
Now the medical community is in an uproar, accusing Bachmann of being irresponsible.
"There is no known link between the HPV vaccine and mental retardation, and it's irresponsible for anybody to make such a statement without any scientific facts," says Dr. Joanna Dolgoff, spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The Center for Disease Control says, of 35 million doses, side effects, mostly minor, were reported in just 19,000 cases. There were no reports of mental retardation. We did find plenty of complaints about the vaccine, called Gardasil, on YouTube.
"I had to be hospitalized three times," said one girl in a video. "If I had never gotten the shot I would be a normal teenager."
But even conservative Rush Limbaugh says Bachmann made a mistake by linking the vaccine to mental retardation.
Limbaugh said, "She had scored the points in the debate, but now this comment has become a news item for Bachmann today rather than what she said at the debate."