Politics & Policy

Perry’s Changing Rhetoric on Vaccine

A few weeks ago,  when addressing the topic of the HPV vaccine, Rick Perry tended to stress that he had both been wrong to try to require it via executive order and that he accepted the legislature’s (and the public’s) decision to not mandate the vaccine.

In an interview with Iowa radio WHO August 15, Perry began with the argument that he should have worked with the legislature — but then continued on to say that he “agreed with [the legislature’s] decision” to not require sixth grade girls to be vaccinated.

“We shouldn’t have done it with an executive order. We should have worked with the legislature,” Perry said, according to Politico.

“That particular issue is one that I readily stand up and say I made a mistake on,” he continued. “I listened to the legislature, they said that was not going to occur, and I agreed with their decision. I don’t always get it right, but I darn sure listen.”

Perry struck a similar note when talking to a Texas ABC station.

“I obviously made an error in not having a conversation with the people of the state of Texas rather than just kind out of the blue an executive order.,” he said. “There was a better way to do that, I realize that now. One of the things I do pride myself on, I listen. When the electorate says hey that’s not what we want to do.  We backed up, took a look at what we did.  I understand I work for the people, it’s not the other way around.”

It’s interesting that during the debate last night that while he did say he should have gone through the legislature, Perry never talked about the fact that he had accepted the decision made by the legislature and the public to not implement the mandate.

However, admitting that he erred at all remains a significant change from the 2010 gubernatorial election, when Perry denied he had made a mistake in promoting the policy, according to the Texas Tribune.

Katrina TrinkoKatrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...


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