While running for governor in 2009, Christie wrote a letter wherein he seemed to acknowledge a link between autism and vaccinations—a theory for which there is no scientific proof.It's since been pointed out that Barack Obama expressed some skepticism about vaccines in the 2008 campaign; this was criticized at the time as "autism pandering."
“I have met with families affected by autism from across the state and have been struck by their incredible grace and courage. Many of these families have expressed their concern over New Jersey’s highest-in-the-nation vaccine mandates. I stand with them now, and will stand with them as their governor in their fight for greater parental involvement in vaccination decisions that affect their children.”
Also in 2009, Christie told The Don Imus Show that he struggled with then-Gov. Jon Corzine’s flu-shot mandate and the problems some parents have with vaccines.
"We've seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it's connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it." --Barack Obama, Pennsylvania Rally, April 21, 2008.Obama pushed back, noting through a spokesman that when he said "This person included" he was referring to someone in his audience, not himself. By September 2008, however, Obama was angering the anti-vaxx community by telling an vaccine-skeptic blogger that he supported vaccination:
Last Friday evening, September 5, 2008, I had the opportunity to ask Senator Barack Obama about childhood vaccine safety/choice. His response, “I am not for selective vaccination, I believe that it will bring back deadly diseases, like polio.”The Daily Caller, meanwhile, points out that Hillary Clinton expressed some vaccine skepticism in 2008:
But as a 2008 presidential contender, then-Sen. Hillary Clinton indicated that she was a vaccination skeptic as well.Which is odd, because an anti-vaxx blog recently called Clinton "the mother of the autism epidemic" because, in the first year of her husband's administration, she pushed for a law intended to increase childhood vaccination rates. (She was also attacked from the right for that program: The Wall Street Journal editorial page said in 2003 that the program, under which the government purchased a large percentage of available vaccines at a discounted and redistributed them to uninsured and underinsured, was responsible for a vaccine shortage.)
As The Huffington Post and The American Prospect reported in April of that year, Clinton called for more research into the autism-vaccination link in response to a questionnaire from A-CHAMP, an autism awareness group.
Clinton wrote that she was “committed to make investments to find the causes of autism, including possible environmental causes like vaccines.”
And in response to the question of whether she would support more research into a link between vaccinations and autism rates, Clinton wrote: “Yes. We don’t know what, if any, kind of link there is between vaccines and autism -- but we should find out.”
Her pro-vaccination stance also angered vaccine skeptic Don Imus:
Oh, and a major focus of the Clinton Foundation is speeding up the rollout of new vaccines.
So Obama and Clinton seem unquestionably pro-vaccine. Christie? Um, he's getting there.
(Via Ali Elkin at Bloomberg Politics.)
Also, via Michael Hiltzik of the L.A. Times, here's the April 2008 clip of Obama talking about vaccines in Pennsylvania. When he says "This person included," he unquestionably refers to a person in the audience.