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Wait a minute, folks, Chris Christie never said people shouldn't vaccinate their kids! Except that one time today when he kind of did say he was in favor of "balance" between public health and parental choice, and that other time in 2009 he expressed sympathy with anti-vaxxers, which we'll get to in a moment. But no, he really does think vaccination is important, his office says now.


"To be clear: The Governor believes vaccines are an important public health protection and with a disease like measles there is no question kids should be vaccinated," Christie's office said in a statement. "At the same time different states require different degrees of vaccination, which is why he was calling for balance in which ones government should mandate."

Yeah, yeah, he was talking about a balance between what the different states require, although his original statement didn't say squat about other states and very clearly contrasted government requirements and parental choices not to vaccinate. Here, see if you can find the magical "balance of various states' mandates" in the original statement, as quoted by the New York Times:

It’s more important what you think as a parent than what you think as a public official. I also understand that parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well. So that’s the balance that the government has to decide.

So when he said parental choice is more important than some crazy government mandate, he was actually talking about finding a balance between competing state requirements. We see that now.

We also learn that Mr. Christie had some similar thoughts about parental choice back in 2009, when he said he was definitely on the side of parents who feared that vaccines gave their kids autism. (Do we need to link to a reminder that the one study suggesting such a link was fraudulent and disproven? Yes we do. And idiots on Facebook will nonetheless insist it was only withdrawn due to pressure from Big Pharma). The Daily Beast notes that when he was running for governor in 2009, Christie sent a letter that sure sounds a heck of a lot like he believed in a link between vaccines and autism:

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.

We're betting that Christie's office will explain he didn't believe a word of that and was just blatantly pandering to people for votes. Or maybe that he was condemning Obamacare. Yeah that must be it, because it has a mandate too.

Also, too, don't make too much of the fact that Christie met with a group of anti-vaxxer parents (the source of that letter, according to MSNBC), and that one of those parents, Louise Kuo Habakus, says that Christie has "been absolutely constant on this issue since I first met with him in 2008.” And don't be too concerned that Christie even took a picture with the anti-vaxxer parents:

Christie's office released a statement explaining that he discussed a wide range of parental choices with the parents, especially choices about things that wouldn't look bad six years later.

In addition to that letter, Christie pandered expressed concerns about individual liberty during an appearance on the Don Imus show, saying he planned to give parents concerned about autism and vaccines a "seat at the table" to share their conspiracy theories about how vaccines are bad.

He struggles with Corzine's flu shot mandate, calling it "a real tough choice between protecting public health with vaccinations," and the problems parents suspect have caused by vaccines.

Yeah, but in that same interview he also linked autism with Superfund sites and other toxic waste dumps in New Jersey, so his office can say that really, he's still in favor of vaccinations, but also loves the environment. Perhaps he could take a picture with some ducks. Could he vaccinate a duck? We should find out if he could vaccinate a duckling. People love ducklings.

[TPM / Daily Beast / NYT / MSNBC]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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