Commentators called it one of the most poignant moments in the Sept. 22 GOP debate, second only to Herman Cain’s story of his battle with cancer. It was when Texas Governor Rick Perry, hero to much of the apparently deluded Tea Party movement, told how he was lobbied to mandate young girls be forced to take the Gardasil vaccine not by Merck, but by a woman dying of cervical cancer.
Michele Bachmann tried to hurt Perry with charges of corporate cronyism. But the hall grew respectfully silent as Perry looked into the camera, put on a serious expression, and said: “I got lobbied on this issue. I got lobbied by a 31-year-old young lady who had stage four cervical cancer. I spent a lot of time with her. She came by my office. She talked about this program. I readily admitted we should have had an opt-in, but I don’t know what part of opt out most parents don’t get. And the fact is, I erred on the side of life, and I will always err on the side of life as a governor or as a President of the United States.”
Unfortunately for Perry, his story is deceitful. As ABCNews pointed out, Perry signed his executive order requiring sixth grade girls receive the vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV) in early February 2007. He first met the woman, Heather Burcham, while she was lobbying the Texas Legislature to prevent it from overturning Perry’s order. That was AFTER he had signed the order and AFTER he had received $22,000 in campaign contributions from Merck and AFTER his former chief of staff had taken a job at Merck as a lobbyist.
Rick Perry is a liar. How he can continue to lead in the polls and be considered the darling of the Tea Party movement is beyond me.