Bachmann having difficulty distancing herself from HPV vaccine 'retardation' claim

Bachmann is trying to calm the reaction from medical professionals countering her comment linking the HPV vaccine to 'mental retardation'. Two medical ethicists, though, aren't willing to let the discussion die quite yet, offering a total of $11,000 for anyone who can show proof of a link between the injection and mental illness or cognition problems.

On the Sean Hannity radio show, Michele Bachmann tried to both defend and back away from her earlier comment on the Today Show linking the vaccine for preventing HPV to 'mental retardation'. She tells Hannity she has 'no idea' whether the vaccine can cause illness. She says she was only passing on what a woman at the Tampa candidates' debate told her.

Her comment got a swift rebuke from medical groups and professionals around the country, including medical ethicist Arthur Caplan at the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. In a commentary for MSNBC, Caplan says ignore the political hype that the HPV vaccine is unsafe.

Caplan went even further. He offers $10,000 for proof of the HPV vaccine victim whose mother Bachmann says she talked to. His offer is echoed by University of Minnesota bioethics professor Steven Miles who puts $1,000 of his own into the pot.

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