Don’t you often wonder what people say behind your back? Especially the powerful politicians, to whom you bring your grievances like a medieval peasant, begging for justice from your king?
Well, thanks to Julian Assange and Wiki-Leaks, you can read what the Hillary Clinton campaign thinks about the vaccine issue. It’s not pretty. And it’s not that encouraging about the other side as well.
This, almost all below, is an excerpt from my new book, INOCULATED: How Science Lost its Soul in Autism, which will be released on November 9, 2016. You can preorder it from Amazon by typing in my name and the title.
“And just when the Presidential election of 2016 didn’t seem it could get any wilder, it did. Julian Assange of Wikileaks began releasing unflattering emails from Hillary’s campaign manager, John Podesta, and one of them concerned autism.
An email from February 3 of 2015 seemed to have revolved around the discussion prior to Hillary’s tweet of February 2, 2015 in which she compared the safety of vaccines to the roundness of the Earth and the blueness of the sky. The email and the response in its entirety is reproduced below:
From: Nick Merrill [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, February 3, 2015 10:13 PM
To: Mandy Grunwald; John Anzalone; Jim Margolis; Robby Mook; Huma Abedin; Joel Benson; John Podesta; Phillip Reines; Cheryl Mills; Kristina Schake; Jennifer Palmieri
Cc: Ethan Gelber; Dan Schwerin
Subject: WaPo: Vaccine debate presents a political minefield – as Hillary Clinton can attest Ethan, Dan and I spent more time than anyone would have liked dealing with this vaccine silliness today, namely the focus that the right was pushing on a questionnaire HRC and Obama filled out in ’08 where they each similarly hedged on an answer about the link between autism and vaccinations, leaving the door open to the possibility.
Below is the most significant piece that was filed so I wanted to flag it. What stood out about today is that the reporters I talked to were less focused on the perception of a flip flop so much as that their takeaway from the tweet last night was that she’s not worried about catering to every constituency so much as being authentic and constructive, or as Dan called it, the Happy Warrior.
As to this piece, thanks largely to Ethan’s research which we conveyed to Karen, [Karen Tumulty, Washington Post] this gives a pretty straight accounting of HRC on the topic.
Vaccine debate presents a political minefield – as Hillary Clinton can attest…
The latest Hillary Rodham Clinton sounded straightforward enough:
“The science is clear: The earth is round, the sky is blue, and #vaccineswork.”
But the issue of vaccinations has long been politically and emotionally fraught – involving not just public health but also the proper role of government, the prerogatives of parents and medical riddles that have yet to be solved.
Probably no one in public life today has felt those crosscurrents more strongly than the presumed front-runner for the 2016 Democratic nomination. On the issue of vaccination over the past two decades, Clinton has repeatedly found herself on the front lines of advocacy and criticism.
Other politicians – including potential GOP presidential hopefuls Gov. Chris Christie (N.J) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) – have been learning those political lessons the hard way in recent days. Both made statements questioning whether childhood vaccinations should be mandatory bringing a torrent of criticism, including from medical professionals who are alarmed over a recent rise in measles cases.
As a new first lady in 1993, Clinton championed what became the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccines for Children program, designed to provide free inoculations against nine diseases to children who otherwise might not get them. It now covers 14 diseases.
Clinton’s role in that endeavor landed her in the crossfire. Conservatives blamed her when shortfalls of some vaccines developed in subsequent years, arguing that the private market was better at allocating resources. “One of her projects is a bust,” the conservative Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote in a 2003 piece headlined “Hillary’s Vaccine Shortage.”
Meanwhile, Clinton also found herself the target of a burgeoning movement that linked the rising rate of autism to thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative that has since been removed from childhood vaccines. Some advocates of this theory went so far as to dub her “Thimerosal Hillary,”
For reasons that scientists cannot explain, the incidence of autism is up markedly. Last year, the CDC estimated that 1 in 68 children aged 8 had been identified with the range of conditions known as autism spectrum disorder. That was about 30 percent higher than previous estimates, reported in 2012, of 1 in 88 children.
Clinton, as a presidential candidate in 2008, wrote in response to a candidate questionnaire: “I am committed to make investments to find the causes of autism, including possible environmental causes like vaccines . . . We don’t know what, if any, kind of link there is between vaccines and autism – but we should find out.”
Her then rival, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), also called for more research into whether there was some correlation. And 2008 GOP presidential contender John McCain (R-Ariz.) went so far as to say there was “strong evidence” of a connection between vaccines and autism.
But even in 2008, the weight of medical evidence was against such a link and the candidates who indulged such speculation were accused of pandering.
In 2010, the argument against vaccination received a devastating blow from the Lancet, a medical journal that 12 years before had published a study alleging that inoculations for measles, mumps and rubella were a cause of autism. The journal retracted the study, saying the supposed research had been falsified.
Another iteration of the vaccination issue flared in the 2012 Republican primary campaign, when then-Gov. Rick Perry of Texas found himself under fire for a mandate requiring most girls in his state to get inoculated against the human papillomavirus, a sexual infection that can lead to cervical cancer. Some social conservatives argued that it would encourage girls to have sex.
But, the Republicans…
Republican leaders have not welcomed the rekindling of the vaccine debate sparked by Christie’s comment Monday that parents should have “some measure of choice” in deciding whether to vaccinate their children. Paul – a physician with a libertarian philosophy – joined the argument with an unfounded claim that there are “many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.”
Paul to Twitter on Tuesday to defend himself, saying he supports vaccinations and posing for photographs as he received a booster shot:
“I did not say vaccines caused disorders, just that they were temporally related – I did not allege causation,” he wrote in one tweet.
Meanwhile, several other potential 2016 contenders distanced themselves from Christie and Paul.
“Absolutely, all children in America should be vaccinated,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said Tuesday. “Unless their immune [system is] suppressed, obviously, for medical exceptions, but I believe that all children, as is the law in most states in this country, before they can even attend school, have to be vaccinated for a certain panel.”
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) also released a statement criticizing “fear mongering” and added, “Personally, I would not send my kids to a school that did not require vaccinations.”
Alice Crites contributed to this report.
The response to the email by Nick Merrill and Alice Crites was quick and full of praise, coming just a little under twenty-four hours after it was sent.
Date: 2015-02-04 10:10
Subject: RE: WaPo: Vaccine debate presents a political minefield – as Hillary Clinton can attest
Good job on a story so overhyped it’s absurd.[i]
In reading this email it’s difficult to place blame solely on Hillary Clinton. Her flip flop is truly stunning, but she is joined in her hypocrisy by President Barack Obama, as well as Republican politicians like New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, roll up your sleeves for your shot, US Senator Rand Paul, former House Speaker, John Boehner, US Senator Marco Rubio (did I mention my dad was a bartender and my mom cleaned hotel rooms?), and Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal, who doesn’t even want your unvaccinated children (who are probably neurologically intact and extremely healthy) anywhere near his vaccinated children.
For those parents who worried that the truth wasn’t being told about vaccines and other neurological disorders, the choice in the 2016 Presidential election was pretty clear.
Back to the truth…
There you have it, my friends, what the Hillary Clinton campaign thinks of your concerns. They count you among the flat-earth society and the denying the sky is blue people. (I didn’t even know there was such a thing!)
Donald Trump is on record saying he believes the massive number of inoculations we are giving our children are causing problems. I leave it up to you to decide which politician provides a better opportunity to address autism and other neurological issues.
And the book…
And remember to go onto Amazon and pre-order my book, INOCULATED: How Science Lost its Soul in Autism, because if I sell a hundred thousand copies it will become a big story and maybe I can get a few gutless politicians to actually care about our children.
[i] WikiLeaks-The Podesta Emails, “WaPo: Vaccine Debate Presents a Political Minefield – as Hillary Clinton can attest,” Nick Merrill, February 3, 2015, 10:13 p.m., www.wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/16485