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September 14th, 2011
05:26 PM ET

Palin hits Perry on state-mandated vaccine

While she wasn't on stage at Monday night's debate, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin jumped in on the attacks against Texas Gov. Rick Perry for signing a state law that required inoculation against a sexually-transmitted disease for sixth-grade girls.

"You have to go up against the big guns," Palin said on FOX News Monday, praising GOP candidate Michele Bachmann for bringing up the issue at the debate.

"And they will try to destroy you, when you call them out on the mistakes that they have made," she added.

In 2007 Perry signed off on a law that mandated vaccines for HPV, a virus that can cause cervical cancer. While parents had the option of opting out for religious reasons, the measure was still considered an unpopular law in the Lone Star State.

Bachmann confronted Perry at the "CNN Tea Party Republican Debate" in Tampa, saying the Texas governor's former chief of staff later went to work for a drug company that made the vaccine.

“There was a big drug company that made millions of dollars because of this mandate,” Bachmann said, adding that Perry received contributions from the company.

Perry countered saying he had received $5,000.

"I raised $30 million," Perry said. "If you think I can be bought for $5,000, then I'm offended," Perry said.

Firing back with a shot that spurred wide applause in the audience, Bachmann said: "Well, I'm offended for all the little girls and the parents that didn't have a choice."

After the debate, Palin called Perry's ties with the drug company "crony capitalism."

"True reform and fighting the corruption and fighting the crony capitalism is a tough thing to do within your own party," Palin said. "Believe me I know that. I have the bumps and bruises to prove it."

Palin, who paints herself as a "maverick," added that she's been fighting corruption for the last 20 years at the local and state level, in addition to her time campaigning as the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee.

CNN’s Drew Griffin interviewed Gov. Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential campaign for CNN Presents: “Sarah Palin Revealed.”

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Filed under: Drew Griffin • HPV • Michele Bachmann • Rick Perry • Sarah Palin
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