ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Republican Michele Bachmann is feeling the sting of presidential campaign jab gone awry.
In a GOP debate this week, the Minnesota congresswoman criticized frontrunner Rick Perry over a controversial vaccination directive he signed as Texas governor. The executive order upset social conservatives and drew accusations of cronyism because the drug's maker donated to Perry's campaign.
Bachmann went further after the debate and linked the human papillomavirus vaccine to mental retardation. The claim was roundly disputed by medical experts, who called it irresponsible and dangerous.
Political observers say it muddied Bachmann's shot at Perry.
Bachmann is trying to regain her footing in the race after a late-summer slide. She hopes to raise doubts about Perry among conservatives and both candidates.
© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.