Crisis communications time for Sen. Rand Paul | media training

Earlier this week Sen. Rand Paul made a number of statements suggesting he was in favor of people who are anti-vaccination. He said specifically that he heard of vaccines that lead to “mental disorders.”

He said, “I’ve heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.” He also said “the state doesn’t own your children. Parents own their children and it is an issue of freedom.”

This was universally condemned by the mainstream media establishment and party insiders yesterday. Next, Paul went into major damage control. Paul put out a statement that said I did not say vaccines caused disorders, just that they were temporally related — I did not allege causation. I support vaccines, I receive them myself and I had all of my children vaccinated,” Paul said in a statement. “In fact today, I received the booster shot for the vaccines I got when I went to Guatemala last year.

Paul also posted a photo on Twitter of himself receiving a vaccination. Is this enough to inoculate him from the charges that he is pandering to an anti-scientific lunatic fringe?

I think that Paul did enough here to neutralize this issue. There are many in his own party who are still highly suspicious of Rand Paul’s libertarian leanings. This whole vaccination issue has not helped him, but I do think the way he handled himself in this crisis and his responses yesterday, at least minimized the damaging effects of his remarks.

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