After the debate, Cunningham sought to clarify his remarks, telling reporters in a virtual spin room, “The point that I’m making is that we need to go through that due diligence.”

“We need to make sure that our public health professionals, our medical professionals, the FDA, and the professionals and scientists there sign off in this,” he said. “If they sign off, free of politics, then I’ll take that vaccine.”

But his detractors were already off to the races.

“We thought we knew why Cal Cunningham was being systematically hidden from public scrutiny by his DC handlers, but we didn’t know he’d go *this* far off the deep end,” began a release from the Senate Leadership Fund, with the subject line “Cal Cunningham Goes Full Anti-Vaxxer in First North Carolina Senate Debate.”