“I didn’t make that claim, nor
did I make that statement. Immediately after the debate, a mother came up to me, and she was visibly shaken and heartbroken because of what her daughter had gone through, and so I only related what her story was.”

— Michele Bachmann,
Sept. 22

Of all the candidates seeking the GOP presidential nomination, Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) has earned the most four-Pinocchio ratings. She has a tendency to shoot from the hip and repeat statements even after they have been proved incorrect.

This quote is an example of how Bachmann never really acknowledges her gaffes but rather tries to spin her way out of a problem. In a previous debate, she had hit Texas Gov. Rick Perry hard for his support for giving the vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV) to girls before they are sexually active to prevent cervical cancer later in life. (Studies indicate that the vaccine is most effective before girls have contact with the virus.)

But controversy ensued when Bachmann said after the debate that the HPV vaccine is “potentially a very dangerous drug” and related the story of a mother who claimed that her daughter had become mentally retarded because of the aftereffects of the vaccine.

In a subsequent debate, Bachmann was asked: “Do you stand by your statement that the HPV vaccine is potentially dangerous, and if not, should you be more careful when you’re talking about a public health issue?”

As shown above, she immediately denied that she had made that claim.

She said this even though the transcript shows that she called the vaccine “potentially a very dangerous drug” before she mentioned the distraught mother.

Bachmann also never acknowledged that it was a mistake to pass on unverified information — and she never made any attempt to identify the mother. She simply reinvented history and pretended that she never made the statement in question.

The Fact Checker awards four Pinocchios for this statement.