BACHMANN: Michele Bachmann refused to back down from relaying a story from a mother who said the HPV vaccine caused her daughter’s “mental retardation,” a side effect not known to be associated with the vaccine. At a Tea Party fundraiser Thursday in San Rafael, just north of San Francisco, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, per NBC’s Jamie Novogrod, Bachmann said, “During the debate I didn't make any statements that would indicate I'm a doctor, I'm a scientist – or that I'm making any conclusions about the drug one way or the other." She added: "At the conclusion of the debate, a woman came up to me who was very distraught. She was crying, and she thanked me for my remarks and said that her daughter had had a negative reaction. And that’s all I related.”
HUNTSMAN: Tom Ridge is going to endorse Huntsman, the New Hampshire Union Leader reports.
PERRY: Perry again said of Romney, “I think it's very important that we put someone as our nominee that does not blur the lines between President Obama and the Republican Party.”
“Republican voters are evenly split over whether Texas Gov. Rick Perry's outspoken stance on Social Security makes them more or less likely to support him for the presidential nomination, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, but they are worried that his views could cost him in the general election. … One in five Republicans say that position makes them more likely to support him; one in five say it makes them less likely to do so. However, by more than 2-1, 37%-17%, Republicans predict Perry's position will hurt rather than help his chances of being elected president. There is evidence they are right: By close to 3-1, 32%-12%, independents who were polled say Perry's stance makes them less likely to support him. By almost 4-1, 40%-11%, they say it would make it harder for him to win the White House.”
“The U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution Thursday of a black man convicted of a double murder in Houston 16 years ago, agreeing to review his appeal that his death sentence was unfair because of a comment about his race during the sentencing phase of his trial,” The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. The man was scheduled to be executed last night. His lawyers appealed to Perry, but Perry hasn’t commented.
ROMNEY: “Former Bay State Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign yesterday challenged an explosive report that said his landmark health-care law cost the state jobs, while his GOP rivals seized on the findings linking ‘Romneycare’ to Obama’s controversial health-care reforms,” the Boston Herald reports. “The Herald yesterday exclusively detailed the report, conducted by a conservative think tank, the Beacon Hill Institute, which said Romney’s universal health-care plan passed in 2006 has cost Massachusetts more than 18,000 jobs.”
“Romney, who has failed to stir the passions of primary voters en masse, hopes he can win them over by casting himself as the pragmatic politician best able to attract independents and disaffected Democrats in key swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania,” the Boston Globe’s Viser writes. “It marks a significant test for some Republican primary voters: Should they vote with their heart - choosing the candidate who most represents their political persuasions - or with their heads, picking the one who seems to have the best chance at defeating Obama.”
And catch the Perry campaign’s response: “Governor Perry has run numerous races, and people who have had that line on us before are now home watching reruns on TV of ‘CSI: Miami,’ ’’ said Mark Miner, a spokesman for Perry’s campaign. “This electability issue comes from someone who has been running for president for five years. If someone has an electability problem, it’s Mitt Romney. He’s made a career out of it, and not a very successful one.’’