Nearly every politician gets it wrong at some point. Sometimes gaffes stick and sometimes they don’t. Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann is hoping for the latter.
On Sunday during an interview with Fox News in her childhood hometown of Waterloo, Iowa, the presidential candidate confused John Wayne with John Wayne Gacy, Jr.
Saying she’s a natural fit for the state’s first-in-the-nation caucus voters, she made this statement: “I want them to know just like John Wayne is from Waterloo Iowa, that’s the spirit I have too. It’s embracing America. It’s sacrificing for America.”
However, as many media outlets have pointed out since then, John Wayne was born in Winterset, Iowa – a town some 150 miles away. Serial killer John Wayne Gacy, Jr. once lived in Waterloo.
Bachmann, who announced her run for the GOP presidential nomination on Monday, defended herself on CNN this morning saying John Wayne’s parents’ first home was in Waterloo, but she also acknowledged making a number of other mistakes in recent weeks.
“People can make mistakes and I wish I could be perfect every time I say something, but I can’t,” she said in the interview.
She went on to list her accomplishments, saying she is a former federal tax litigation attorney who has spent considerable time in the U.S. federal tax court, as well as being a successful small business owner.
She added, “Of course, the main point I was making are the sensibilities of John Wayne, which is patriotism, love of country, standing up for our nation, that positive enthusiasm is what America’s all about.”
In an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News last night, Hannity ran video of several gaffes made by President Obama and then said to Bachmann, “John Wayne was born in Iowa. You obviously misspoke. The media has kind of made a big deal about it. So I wanted to give you a chance. Do you think there’s a double standard?”
“Well there certainly can be, Sean,” Bachmann said. “Clearly he was born in Iowa. The point is, John Wayne represents patriotism and great American values. He wasn’t afraid to stand up for the greatness of the United States of America. That’s what we need. That’s what the American people want.”
Bachmann also had to deal with another incident that happened over the weekend after appearing on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.
“The rap on you here in Washington is that you have a history of questionable statements – some would say gaffes – ranging from talking about anti-America members of Congress to, on this show a couple of months ago, when you suggested that NATO airstrikes [in Libya] had killed up to 30,000 civilians,” Wallace said in the interview, and then paused before asking, “Are you a flake?”
She didn’t take kindly to the question.
“Well, I think that would be insulting to say something like that,” she said, “because I’m a serious person.”
Later, Wallace apologized for the question both on video and via telephone with Bachmann. She has accepted his apology and is hoping to move on.
Bachmann is considered a frontrunner for the GOP nomination. A recent Des Moines Register poll of Republicans shows her running neck in neck with Mitt Romney for the lead in Iowa.