Bachmann made only two teensy mistakes

In an interview with David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting network, U.S. Rep Michele Bachmann said that she was “extremely careful” in what she said during her presidential campaign and got through with just two mistakes.

One was when she wished Elvis Presley happy birthday on what was actually the anniversary of his death. The other was when she said that both she and Hollywood legend John Wayne were born in Waterloo, Iowa. (Actually, it was the serial murderer John Wayne Gacy who was born in Waterloo.)

Other than those two silly flubs, she said, she got everything right. The CBN interviewer wasn’t about to let her get away with that. Here’s the exchange:

David Brody: You ran pretty much an impeccable campaign, in terms of a mistake-free campaign.
Michele Bachmann: Thank you, it really was.

David Brody: It pretty much was.
Bachmann: It really was, we were extremely careful, and we were almost mistake-free, but for those two points, Elvis Presley’s birthday and John Wayne’s birthplace. I’ve apologized, and we moved beyond.

One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Here’s the full interview, both audio and transcript.

And here’s the first page worth of the Bachmann statements that were fact-checked by Politifact. They aren’t all from her presidential campaign, but plenty of them are.

I’m not sure who holds the record for getting the most “pants on fire” ratings from Politifact, but Bachmann is surely in the running.

It’s weird enough to have someone in Congress whose relationship to factual accuracy is so tenuous, but downright bizarre to have her congratulating herself on her bodacious facticity. And that is almost a fact.

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Comments (17)

  1. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 05/04/2012 - 09:39 pm.

    She is right – Only two mistakes

    Moving from Iowa and running for president. Not exactly the two she was thinking of. But then again she is never good with facts.

  2. Submitted by Pat Berg on 05/05/2012 - 12:30 am.

    Equally unsettling . . . .

    is the number of voters who continue to support, defend, send money to and – most unfortunate of all – continue to vote for her.

  3. Submitted by mark wallek on 05/05/2012 - 08:22 am.

    A fantasy nightmare

    With this sort of self assessment, are we not thrilled by the fact that this woman will never be President? No matter how sick the nation becomes, she will never have the sort of power she really craves. That said, she will be hanging around for as many of the crumbs as she can inhale.
    What galls me most is that, long after this breathing entity is out of public “service” she will get a government pension, continuing to take while returning a net negative to the nation.

  4. Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 05/05/2012 - 10:40 am.

    Interesting insight

    Shelly only regards a statement as an error if it has to do with facts to her supporters, but if she lies through her teeth about an opponent, that is not an error.
    THAT is more telling of her moral character than any number of foster kids she has raised. That tells me lies are OK if they are about an opponent, but not to her “believers”. It is OK to lie as a public servant to the public as a whole, but not to your party members.
    Interesting insight there Representative.

  5. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 05/05/2012 - 10:42 am.

    So if she got everything else right

    why is Romney the apparent Republican nominee and not Michele Bachmann? Or one of the other darlings of the demented right? If people like Bachmann claim to have such deep support in the Republican Party, where is that support at the voting booth?

  6. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 05/06/2012 - 08:58 am.


    Is John Wayne Gacy the only person ever born in Waterloo, Iowa? In it’s small way, I thought that particular bit, was among the most revealing incidents showing the corruption of our media in it’s current state. Note how unfair it was to link Bachmann to Gacy in this respect. She never mentioned Gacy, probably had no knowledge at all of where Gacy was born. In terms of covering what happens, if that’s what journalists are supposed to do, there was no reason at all to bring up Gacy at all. But journalists didn’t like Michele. And somewhere along the line they made the decision that they didn’t have to take her seriously, and that there was no downside in going public with “Boys on the Bus” style of ridicule.

    I was taken to task the other day by a local journalist for suggesting that there is a sense out there that the media is lazy and corrupt. That particular journalist isn’t and is someone I have great respect for, so I was a bit defensive about the remark, which was perhaps too sweeping and maybe too hurtful. But in my original comment, this totally artificial linkage between Bachmann and Gacy was the sort of thing I had in mind.

  7. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 05/06/2012 - 09:06 am.


    By the way, the Bachmann story is the result of what at this moment I think is the very worst thing ever, the passing off of the results of a Google query as research.Journalists must understand that what is of value in their profession can never be found by searching Google.

  8. Submitted by Tim Walker on 05/06/2012 - 09:45 am.

    Oh, the irony

    I counted three errors in Eric’s piece before I stopped counting.

    John Way Gacy? Really?

    I love you, MinnPost, but you really need to hire some copy editors.

  9. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/06/2012 - 09:46 am.

    She means

    political errors, not factual ones.

  10. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 05/07/2012 - 06:12 am.

    The Way

    I just wish reporters were just as harsh, just as skeptical, and I wouldn’t mind if they were just as sophomoric, towards Mitt Romney and yes, even the president.

  11. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 05/07/2012 - 06:55 am.

    Errors? What errors?

    I’m with Tim Walker. PLEASE, MinnPost, if human copy editors are too expensive, at least look into a genuine spellcheck software package for your writers to use. When I make a spelling mistake in writing comments like this, the software MinnPost already has underlines the error in red. Why can’t the same thing be done with copy that’s submitted for the site?

    I’m also with Pat Berg. Mrs. Bachmann continues to be an embarrassment, and the fact that people continue to vote for her strains credulity. Spin (by which I mean “lying”) is used by politicians of all parties and persuasions, and with distressing frequency, but Mrs. Bachmann either has a conscience even less well developed than most felons, or is so ill-educated that she almost literally cannot distinguish fact from fiction. Either one of those ought to disqualify someone from public office. Mostly, it appears to this non-native Minnesotan than she simply makes things up to suit her purposes.

    Meanwhile, Hiram Foster manages to turn accurate criticism on its head. Yes, it’s likely true that Mrs. Bachmann has never heard of John Wayne Gacy, nor has any knowledge of where he was born. That’s not the point. The point is that Mrs. Bachmann didn’t have any idea – and apparently still doesn’t – what was true and what wasn’t. Her statement that she made only two small errors of fact during her campaign is either a willful lie of substantial proportions, or yet another instance of her truly not being able to distinguish fact from fantasy. She doesn’t belong in elective office, or anywhere else where actually knowing what you’re talking about is considered to be of some importance.

    • Submitted by Stephen Dent on 05/07/2012 - 11:25 am.

      Spell check….really?

      Come on Ray. Any user of a computer with spell check knows it will never catch John Way Gacy. Way is a correctly spelled word.

  12. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 05/07/2012 - 01:04 pm.

    “it’s likely true that Mrs. Bachmann has never heard of John Wayne Gacy, nor has any knowledge of where he was born. That’s not the point. The point is that Mrs. Bachmann didn’t have any idea – and apparently still doesn’t – what was true and what wasn’t.”

    Mrs. Bachmann may or may not know what’s true, but is the fact that she got a fact wrong about John Wayne in an offhand comment evidence of that? Did the media focus on this silly example of misspeaking because it was some sort of public issue? Instead, why didn’t they focus on more substantive issues that Mrs. Bachmann may or may not have gotten wrong? Is it because that would have been difficult to do? Is it because that would have opened them up to charges of bias?

    It’s so easy to take on Michele Bachmann. She is a woman. She wasn’t going to be elected president. In all likelihood, in her political career she will never be anything more than a back bench Congresswoman. The media puts nothing at risk in allowing a back of the bus pack mentality to spill over into the news coverage they present to the public. Candidates we have decided to take seriously, candidates who the media fears, say things a lot seriously, on far more substantive issues every day, and for some reason the frat boy or girl bullying we get in the media’s reaction to Mrs. Bachmann’s various struggles with the truth are suddenly quite absent.

    It’s been said the the job of newspapers and I would extend it to the media generally is to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that were true?

    • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 05/07/2012 - 03:19 pm.


      “…Mrs. Bachmann may or may not know what’s true, but is the fact that she got a fact wrong about John Wayne in an offhand comment evidence of that?”

      Yes. Yes, it is.

      Did the media jump all over something that was essentially trivial?

      Yes. Yes, they did.

      Does that mean that media criticism of Mrs. Bachmann’s many, many documented errors, factual and otherwise, trivial and substantive, should thus be dismissed?

      I think not.

      The media may not like Mrs. Bachmann, but she’s either been proudly displaying her ignorance, or lying pathologically, ever since I arrived in Minnesota, and from what I’ve read, it’s something that she’s been doing for far longer than my tenure here.

      Should reporters be asking far tougher questions of other candidates? Yes. Yes, they should.

      Should Mrs. Bachmann be dismissed as a serious candidate because “She is a woman”? I certainly hope not. If she has the ego and the financial backing to run for the presidential nomination – the odds against her being the nominee don’t matter in terms of motivation for joining the race – then she ought to be held to the same standards of truthfulness as other candidates. They, too, make occasional mistakes, and they, too, often try to “spin” their way out of a situation when they’ve been caught with foot in mouth, but none of the other candidates has presented outright falsehoods as facts with the frequency – and lack of apology – as has Mrs. Bachmann.

      She continues to be an embarrassment to the 6th District, to the House of Representatives, and to whatever political organization it is that claims her, whether that’s the Republican Party or the Tea Party.

  13. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/08/2012 - 09:56 am.


    I think it’s funny that anyone would conclude that a person who crashed and burned with less than 6% of the vote ran a flawless campaign. Don’t flawless campaigns get people elected? These people simply cannot deal with facts, past, present, or future.

  14. Submitted by rolf westgard on 05/08/2012 - 05:23 pm.

    More Bachmann campaign boners – Star Trib 4/27/11


    U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, our newest lawyer-turned-petroleum-geologist, is critical of the Brazil policy of another would-be geologist lawyer, President Obama (“There’s oil here at home, but Obama would go abroad,” April 26).
    But Obama’s motive in offering to help Brazil “develop these oil reserves” is to gain profitable business for the U.S. oil and oil-services industries.
    Brazil’s offshore Santos Basin holds the world’s largest oil discovery in more than a decade. The business opportunity for U.S. petroleum technology is substantial.
    Bachmann continues to go astray discussing U.S. oil reserves. The best estimates of economically recoverable oil from Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge range up to about 6 billion barrels.
    That’s one year of U.S. usage, not 30 to 50 years, as Bachmann claimed. And ANWR oil is likely to be natural-gas-rich, like the adjacent Point Thompson discovery.
    That oil can’t be produced because we have no pipeline for the gas.

    We have spent decades and billions on the “vast shale deposits” in the West that Bachmann says are three times Saudi Arabia’s reserves. So far that so-called oil shale has produced nothing, because it isn’t oil.

    It’s a low-grade substance called kerogen that nature never got around to cooking into oil. All attempts to complete nature’s task have required lots of water and power, and the process releases toxins. Success with oil shale has been five years away for the past 40 years.

    As to Gulf Coast drilling, more leases have already been awarded than industry is prepared to drill. You don’t take a $400,000-a-day drill ship to sea to poke random holes in the ocean floor. Good seismic data will take time.

    Bachmann is justified in criticizing Obama’s pie-in-the-sky statement that “80 percent of our energy” must come from clean sources. The studies she quotes from Europe show the illusory job-creation promises from subsidies to renewables like wind and solar.

    There is also the scale issue. It will be difficult to get sources that currently provide 1 percent of our annual 100 quadrillion BTUs up to where they substitute for fossil fuels and nuclear.

    Despite Bachmann’s pessimism, the U.S. oil industry is doing well. The Oil and Gas Journal reports that “the resurgence in oil-well completion activity that began earlier in the decade continues as an estimated 5,718 oil wells were drilled in [the] first quarter of 2011, a 51% increase from 2010 levels.”

    It’s the price of oil, not politicians, that will insure exploration for domestic oil supplies.

    Rolf Westgard, St. Paul, is a professional member of the Geological Society of America and a member of the American Nuclear Society. He teaches classes on energy subjects for the Lifelong Learning program at the University of Minnesota.

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