Free Lance-Star reporter Chelyen Davis covers Virginia government.
Perry visits Virginia
You can tell 2012 is approaching — presidential candidates are visiting Virginia.
Today it was Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who came to the Richmond Convention Center to headline a Republican Party of Virginia fundraiser. The event drew more than 1,000 people and 54 media outlets, including CNN, the New York Times, and Politico. Those folks don’t show up just to hear state Republicans talk about this fall’s legislative races.
Perry largely aimed his speech at President Obama, saying the president’s policies have failed to improve the country’s economy and create jobs.
“Our country is in trouble,” Perry said.
He said his campaign “is about freedom,” and that people don’t feel free when they don’t have a job, or they’re in debt, or there’s too much government interference in their lives.
In a brief Q and A with reporters after the speech, Perry was asked about the HPV vaccine, which is supposed to protect young women from HPV, which can cause cervical cancer. As governor, Perry made it mandatory for girls to receive the vaccine, although there was an opt-out provision. One of his opponents now, Michele Bachmann, has gone after him for that, and claims a mother told her that the vaccine made her daughter mentally handicapped.
Perry scoffed at Bachmann’s story. ““I think that was a statement that had no truth in it, no basis in fact,” he said to reporters here today.
Perry says he made a mistake in how the HPV vaccine issue was handled in Texas, and now believes it shouldn’t have been mandatory. But, he said, he hates cancer and wanted to protect young women.