True to her recent form, Rep. Michele Bachmann kicked off her presidential campaign with a highly-publicized gaffe: She said the wrong John Wayne was from her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa. The iconic cowboy actor was not from Waterloo, but notorious serial killer John Wayne Gacy did live there--likely not who the presidential hopeful wants to be compared with.
But her popularity in Iowa and some national polls continues to grow, suggesting her base may not mind her historical misspeaking so much—at least not so far. And her admission on CNN Tuesday helped. “People can make mistakes, and I wish I could be perfect every time I say something, but I can’t,” Bachmann said. “One thing people know about me is that I’m a substantive, serious person.”
Her gaffes, however, aren’t confined to misidentifying the state where the Battle of Lexington and Concord occurred, or misidentifying John Quincy Adams as a Founding Father. Fact-checking website Politifact.com has rated 23 of Bachmann’s statements since 2009 and found only one true, six half or barely true, and 16 false or “pants on fire.” [Vote now: Can Michele Bachmann win the 2012 GOP nomination?]
U.S. News blogger Leslie Marshall lays out several of Bachmann’s gaffes (and some things Marshall calls lies), pointing out that women in general still must work harder and be smarter than men to gain respect. “But,” Marshall adds, “Bachmann better work harder and be smarter, not just because she’s a woman, but because she’s running to be president of this great nation.”
But Washington Post’s Aaron Blake suggests that negative media attention when fellow Tea Partyer Sarah Palin has made flubs “often had the effect of galvanizing her conservative supporters.” He adds that this could be a good thing for Bachmann as well, and even compares her to Ronald Reagan, who, he writes, “was known to drop a few whoppers here and there.” [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the 2012 GOP primary.]
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