09/16/2011 10:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Michele Bachmann Defends Controversial HPV Vaccine Remarks

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann defended controversial remarks she made earlier this week about the HPV vaccine during a stop in San Francisco on Thursday.

"During the debate, I didn't make any statements that would indicate I'm a doctor, I'm a scientist, or making any conclusions about the drug one way or the other," she said of the comments in question, which she made in the aftermath of a GOP primary forum on Monday night. "I didn't make any statements about that."

The AP relays background on what Bachmann had to say that led her to come under scrutiny:

Bachmann criticized Perry, the Texas governor, for signing an order requiring middle-school girls in his state to get vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, known as HPV. But in the following days, she linked the vaccine to mental retardation. Medical experts roundly disputed the claim, calling it irresponsible and dangerous.

Former Bachmann campaign manager Ed Rollins signaled earlier this week that he believes the presidential hopeful "made a mistake" with her remarks. He said, "The quicker she admits she made a mistake and moves on, the better she is."

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that when Bachmann was asked if she intended to apologize for her comments, she responded, "I'm not going to answer that question."

Below, video of the exchange between Bachmann and Perry during Monday night's debate.