At Monday night's CNN/Tea Party debate, 2012 presidential GOP front-runner and Texas Gov. Rick Perry took hits from all sides—from former Gov. Mitt Romney's assault on Perry's views on Social Security to Rep. Ron Paul's suggestion that Perry had raised taxes in Texas. One of the most heated attacks came from Rep. Michele Bachmann, whose campaign up until the debate seemed to be losing steam. She pressed Perry on his 2007 executive order that required Texas girls be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer. Perry admitted that the way he went about enacting the policy was wrong and that he wished he had gone through the legislature. Yet he stood by the policy itself, saying, "At the end of the day, I am always going to err on the side of life," and pointing out that parents could opt their girls out of the vaccination. Bachmann would not step down, insinuating that Perry may have had ulterior motives in issuing the mandate as a lobbyist for the vaccine-maker was Perry's former chief of staff. Perry said he was "offended" by her accusations.
The issue continues to dog Perry after the debate. Bachmann appeared on the Today Show Tuesday morning and suggested that "crony capitalism" may have been behind the mandate. She also had the support of former Gov. Sarah Palin, who praised Bachmann on Fox News after the debate for being willing to "go against the big guns."
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