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HPV: The New Republican Debate

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The sight was familiar. The same crop of 10 GOP candidates for president stands side-by-side, shuffling through notes and rehearsing their speeches. They go over carefully planned answers to simple, softball questions.

Much of the audience is comprised of Tea Party members; the ultra-conservative part of the Republican Party. Though they are a minority, they have a surprising chokehold on the rest of the party, so much of a chokehold, in fact, that the candidates salivate at the very idea of a possible Tea Party endorsement.

Rick Perry, the governor of Texas and disciple of former president George W. Bush, is the front-runner over Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and serial flip-flopper. Michelle Bachmann is the God-fearing, crazy-eyed representative from a Tea Party run district in Minnesota.

The order goes like this: Romney will talk about jobs, then attack Perry for not creating enough jobs in Texas. Perry then attacks Romney for creating the blueprints for Obama-care and flip-flopping on issues. Bachmann will then come in and say something random about the America she knew and how horrible Obama is. This was the cycle of the first few debates, but nothing equals the craziness that unfolded at the Tampa debate.

It unfolded as usual, with the same fighting and bickering we’ve heard before, with one massive difference. Perry said he believes that it is a good idea for girls to receive the HPV vaccine. The vaccine prevents certain kinds of human papilloma virus, a cause of most cervical cancers.

He believes this so much, that as governor of Texas, he signed it into law before it was shot down by the legislature.

Children already have to have a list of vaccines before entering school and unless they have a valid religious or medical reason, they can’t attend that school.

According to, about 20 million Americans ages 15 to 49 have one of the 40 types of HPV, making it one of the most infectious sexually transmitted diseases in the country. And the scariest part is, most people don’t have any symptoms at all; they don’t even know they have it.

Perry, from this writer’s perspective, is right for once. For all of his ranting, he makes a valid point. This could save millions of women from getting various cervical cancers, as well as helping to stop the spread of another disease, like we did with polio. Of course, making something mandated means that people will line up to attack it.

Bachmann was the first to sink her teeth into this idea’s carotid artery. She used key buzz-words like: socialized and federal mandate. She even went as far as to tell a story to Matt Lauer of the “Today” show about a woman who approached her after the debate and told her that her daughter, “suffered mental retardation as a result of that vaccine.” This is a claim not found in the CDC’s list of side effects of the vaccine, called Gardasil, which include fever, swelling, and body aches. Bachmann crossed the line
on this one, and it shows.

Once a front-runner, Bachmann is now behind Perry, Romney and Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, because voters looked at this ridiculous attack as one step over the line. She used a story that one woman told her, that was unchecked and possibly full of mistakes, to attack an opponent for merely making a suggestion in his own state to stop the spread of HPV.

What makes Bachmann tick is pure mystery, and no one will ever really know what drives her towards the White House. We do know that as long as she uses unfounded evidence and wild accusations, she will derail her own train to being the president.

– Matt Morsovillo, Staff Reporter


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