Anita Perry on HPV vaccine: "I wish he'd talked to me first"

Texas Gov. Rick Perry and wife Anita head back to the campaign bus after a stop at D.C. Taylor Roofing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Aug. 16, 2011.
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak
Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and wife Anita head back to the campaign bus after a campaign stop.
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

Anita Perry, the wife of Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, is a registered nurse but did not know in 2007 that her husband was going to sign a controversial executive order requiring all sixth grade girls to receive an HPV vaccine.

"I wish he'd talked to me first," Anita Perry said, in an interview with Parade Magazine for the October 23 issue.

"I thought he handled it the wrong way. I've been cochair for the March of Dimes immunization program, and I'm pro-immunization," she said. "I would have supported the vaccine."

Her husband has called the use of an executive order to enact the mandate a mistake, but he's stood by his support for the vaccine. The mandate was later overturned by the Texas legislature.

"He made a mistake. He just wants to get rid of cancer in our lifetime. I don't know how many other men would admit, 'I made a mistake,'" Anita Perry said.

Anita Perry's father was a family practice doctor during the 1970s, and she said he influenced her political views.

"I remember (my dad) telling me, as wise as he was, 'We're moving towards socialized medicine. The first time you take a dollar from the federal government, they'll start trying to control your life.' I became a nurse, and I've seen government take away more and more of our freedom to choose the care we want and the drugs we want," she said in the interview.

She also explains how she met her husband at a piano recital and how she encouraged him to run for president.

"One day Rick and I were talking and I said, 'I am so concerned with our children's future and their children's future and what will happen to them. We've given so many years to public service, and we need to make a difference.' I didn't want us to wake up when we were 80 and regret we didn't do this. Our country is in danger, in my opinion," she said.