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Ed Rollins: Michele Bachmann 'Stumbled' With HPV Vaccine Remarks (VIDEO)

First Posted: 09/21/2011 12:00 pm Updated: 11/21/2011 4:12 am

Ed Rollins, who stepped down as Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign manager earlier this month, discussed the Republican hopeful's chances during an appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News on Tuesday night.

Rollins shared his take on a USA Today/Gallup poll released this week showing Texas Governor Rick Perry with 31 percent support, and Bachmann running at 5 percent. He attributed Bachmann's slide in support to Perry's entrance into the presidential contest.

"The bottom line here is she's the best candidate in this field," said Rollins. He continued, "And I think when you look at a national poll, it basically indicates people from all over the country. When you throw Texas into a national poll, it’s, you know, 10 percent of the population. So a guy that’s from Texas, obviously, has a big impact.”

Rollins noted, however, "It's not over yet." He stressed the importance of next year's Iowa caucuses for Bachmann. "If she wins Iowa, she’s still in this race," he said.

Earlier this week, Bachmann pushed back against a suggestion from her former campaign manager that she may not have what it takes to come out on top in the Hawkeye State in 2012:

[Rollins] expressed doubt on Monday that the conservative congresswoman has "the ability or the resources" to keep her run alive beyond next year's Iowa caucuses.

"We do not agree," said Bachmann on Tuesday during a stop in the Hawkeye State, according to the Los Angeles Times. "We have sufficient resources to be able to do what we’re doing and that’s to be very competitive in this race."

Addressing questionable comments recently made by Bachmann on the HPV vaccine, Rollins signaled his belief that her choice of words "hurts her at this point in time, but she'll be back debating very effectively on Thursday night." He suggested voters will ultimately forget about her remarks.

"You know, obviously, she stumbled on it the next day when she talked about the vaccine," he said. "But at the end of the day, she’s a great debater."

Bachmann linked the HPV vaccine to mental retardation. After coming under scrutiny, she sought to do damage control on her statement:

"All I was doing is relaying what a woman had said," Bachmann told The Associated Press after touring a manufacturer in Waterloo. "I relayed what she said. I wasn't attesting to her accuracy. I wasn't attesting to anything."

On Tuesday night, Rollins discussed his departure from Bachmann's campaign.

"At the end of the day, I quit because I'm 68-years-old, I've been doing this since 1968 was my first presidential campaign. I'm an old man, I don't need to basically be working 14 hour days," he said. "I helped put her campaign together. There's great people in her campaign. She is a wonderful campaigner. I love her dearly."

Video of the Rollins interview can be found above (courtesy of Fox News).

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Filed by Adam Goldberg  |