Republican Gov. Rick Perry and Democratic opponent Bill White have yet to start the air war of TV ads against each other for the upcoming November election.
But that's not stopping the Back to Basics political action committee funded by a Houston trial lawyer. The PAC started airing an ad on Tuesday that is attacking Perry.
The commercial is the latest criticism of Perry's 2007 executive order mandating sixth grade girls be vaccinated for the HPV virus.
“It was a controversial new drug used for sexually transmitted disease,” the ad claims.
Not so fast.
Although HPV is the most common sexually-transmitted disease, the ad omits information that Perry wanted the vaccine since it prevents most forms of cervical cancer.
The Back to Basics PAC ad also states: “A giant drug company would make billions. So they gave to Perry's campaign.”
Merck, the vaccine's maker, donated $6,000 to Perry's 2006 re-election.
“...and [Merck] paid Perry's former chief of staff big money to lobby for them,” the ad says.
It's also true Merck hired Perry's former chief of staff as a lobbyist. A graphic in the ad implies the lobbyist received $260,000, but that is misleading since Texas Ethics Commission records show the most he could have made at the time is $50,000.
The legislature later overruled Perry's vaccination order, one of his most controversial decisions since 2006.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison tried to use it against Perry in the primary. “This mandate was driven by lobbyists and special interests in Austin,” she claimed.
Regardless, Perry won the primary without a runoff. And now one poll ahead of the general election shows the governor even leading White among women voters, those perhaps most likely to have been upset with his order.