Texas Gov. Rick Perry courted controversy 6 years ago with an executive order mandating that 6th-grade girls get an anti-HPV shot. Perry withstood catcalls from conservative lawmakers and voters, not to mention allegations that it was a cozy relationship with Merck--which made the only FDA-approved vaccine at the time--that prompted the order, not concerns about public health.
But just a few hours into his candidacy for president, Perry is backpedaling away from that move--and fast. As WFAA-TV reports, Perry's first campaign stop in New Hampshire included a mea culpa on that vaccination order. "I didn't do my research well enough to understand that we needed to have a substantial conversation with our citizenry," Perry said.
Perry has had plenty of opportunity to disavow the decision already. During the 2010 primary contest for governor, Republican opponent Kay Bailey Hutchison took Perry to task for the executive order, which was rescinded later by the state legislature. At a debate among Republican candidates, Perry specifically said his decision to support HPV vaccination was not an error. "I always stand for life," he said (as quoted by WFAA).
Not so now. Perry said in New Hampshire he was "too far out in front of the parade" on HPV vaccination. It was "a mistake," he said.