Michele Bachmann looks increasingly desperate — sinking in the polls, money drying up, and now flailing away at the wife of one of her opponents. Check out the ad just released by a Bachmann super-PAC ironically called “Keep Conservatives United.”
Says the DesMoines Register:
An independent campaign group supporting presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is taking its message to Iowa TV.
Keep Conservatives United will air a 30-second commercial knocking Bachmann rival Rick Perry on Fox News in the Cedar Rapids media market beginning Thursday, the group announced this morning.
The add zaps Perry, the governor of Texas, for his executive order requiring girls in the state to receive a vaccine against the human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease that can cause cancer.
Bachmann attacked Perry on the order — which was never enforced — in a candidate debate last week.
A source in the Perry camp tells me that the ad’s central allegation — that Perry’s wife, Anita, worked for Merck — is false. To see just how dishonest this line of attack is, just check out the link that the super-PAC helpfully provides. Several years and an entirely different field (osteoporosis) separate Mrs. Perry’s consulting work from the Gardasil controversy, and Rick Perry wasn’t even governor yet. This is on the level of “Dick Cheney went to war in Iraq for Halliburton!!!!11!1!1!” and should be treated with about as much respect. And if this is the standard that Bachmann wants to set, then it becomes reasonable to ask about the donations she has accepted from Merck’s direct Gardasil competitors.
A fair reading of the facts says that Bachmann’s “pay for play” allegation is false as well. And according to the Centers for Disease Control, Gardasil is an extremely safe vaccine, so there goes the scaremongering.
Whether Bachmann wants to disavow the ad’s false claims or not, she probably ought to tread lightly on attacking other candidates’ spouses. Once you open open that Pandora’s box, there’s no way to control it and no telling how it might end up damaging you, and not your target.
How a groups intends to “keep conservatives united” by falsely smearing conservatives probably ought to be explained as well.
Up until about week ago, Michele Bachmann’s national star was rising. With each passing day and false attack, though, she is wandering off into the wacky weeds.