Michele Bachmann questioned over gay rights, HPV vaccine on Jay Leno’s show (Video)
In her debut on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann tried to show her lighter side defended her position on gay rights, and the HPV vaccine.
But Leno largely skipped the jokes Friday as he quizzed the Minnesota congresswoman on her political positions beginning with the issue of the HPV vaccine, a subject on which Bachmann hit fellow Republican contender and Texas Gov. Rick Perry hard on Monday’s GOP debate.
Perry signed an executive order in 2007 that required requiring young girls to receive inoculations against a sexually-transmitted disease that can cause cervical cancer HPV, even though it wasn’t implemented.
Bachmann told Leno that Perry’s action had been “an abuse of executive power” and had sparked concern over “crony capitalism,” an apparent reference to the fact that a former Perry aide was a top lobbyist for Merck, the manufacturer for the HPV vaccine. Merck donated to Perry’s campaign fund.
She added: “The concern is that there’s, you know, potentially side effects that can come with something like that. But it gives a false sense of assurance to a young woman when she has that that if she’s sexually active that she doesn’t have to worry about sexually transmitted diseases.”
Leno responded: “Well, I don’t know if it gives assurance. It can prevent cervical cancer; correct?”
He then pressed Bachmann over comments she made earlier this week in which she said a woman had approached the congresswoman to say her daughter had suffered “mental retardation” as a result of receiving the vaccination.
“Something like 30 million people have had this [shot],” Leno said, “and there haven’t been any cases of this [retardation], or at least recorded cases.”
“I wasn’t speaking as a doctor. I wasn’t speaking as a scientist. I was just relating what this woman said,” Bachmann replied.
The former tax attorney and mother of five, defended two clinics she runs with her husband, offering what she said was a Christian counseling service. The clinics have come under fire over claims they use a controversial therapy that encourages gay and lesbian patients to change their sexual orientation.
Asking Bachmann why gay people shouldn’t have the right to be happily married, Leno said: “Well, that whole ‘pray the gay away’ thing,” Leno said. “I don’t get that.”
“Well, see, I think when I heard that,” Bachmann said, “I really thought it was, like, kind of a midlife crisis line — ‘Pray away the gray.’ That’s what I thought it was.” “But it sounds like if two gay people want to get married, that’s their business; that doesn’t concern us,” to which Leno said. “I mean, why is that even an issue?”
“Well, because the family is foundational,” Bachmann said, “and marriage between a man and a woman has been what the law has been for years and years.”
Bachmann final comment was a tease about choosing Leno for the No. 2 spot on her presidential ticket. “You don’t want a cut in pay, so what can I say?” she joked.
“Well, we’d probably have an argument over that gay thing,” Leno replied.