Flashback: When Hillary and Obama Gave Credence to Anti-Vaccine Theories

February 2, 2015

Chris Christie is not the only prospective presidential candidate who has called for a "balanced approach" to the vaccine debate triggered by a measles outbreak in many states in the United States.

While in the United Kingdom, the Governor of New Jersey commented on whether the government should be able to mandate vaccines that are widely accepted by the medical community.

"There has to be a balance, and it depends on what the vaccine is, what the disease type is, and all the rest," Christie said. "Not every vaccine is created equal and not every disease type is as great a public health threat as others."

The comments immediately put Christie on the defensive. Later Monday, Christie had to walk back his comments in a press release, saying "there is no question kids should be vaccinated."

Chris Christie’s comments resemble the rhetoric Democrats used in 2008, however. On more than one occasion, Obama echoed common anti-vaccine arguments that vaccines, including ones based on long-retracted research that vaccines have a tie to autism.

"We've seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it's connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it," then Sen. Obama said.

The president’s words contrast his current position that there is no reason not to get vaccinated. The president said over the weekend that the scientific evidence in support of vaccines is "overwhelming."

"There are some people who are suspicious that it's connected to vaccines and triggers. But the science right now is inconclusive," Obama said.

Likely 2016 Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton had a similar statement while speaking to an anti-vaccine group on the campaign trail in 2008.

"I am committed to make investments to find the causes of autism, including possible environmental causes like vaccines," said Clinton in a written response to the group.

The Center for Disease and Control said that more than 100 measles cases were reported in the month of January.