Bachmann apparently confuses actor John Wayne with serial killer John Wayne Gacy

Send Paul Revere to Concord to tell the British: Congresswoman Michele Bachmann seems to have made another historical gaffe.

She apparently confused actor John Wayne with serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

In an interview this morning after making her official presidential announcement, told Fox News: 

“Well what I want them to know is just like, John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That’s the kind of spirit that I have, too.”


John Wayne the actor was born in Winterset, Iowa, about 100 miles away, as the crow flies. His family moved to California when he was a little boy.

The Waterloo John Wayne Gacy was a notorious serial killer who committed some of his early sexual crimes in Waterloo — in 1967 and 1968, when Bachmann was a young girl growing up there. Later, after he was released from prison for those crimes and moved to Chicago, he began a serial killing spree that left 33 teenage boys and young men dead between 1972 and 1978.

He was executed in 1994.

To be fair, Slate notes that apparently actor John Wayne’s parents did meet in Waterloo, but the actor then known as Marion Morrison never lived there. So with a little stretching and spinning, you could give the congresswoman the benefit of the doubt, maybe.

But this comes on the heels of her earlier Wacky History lesson, when she confused Concord, N.H., with Concord, Mass., in the context of the Revolutionary War history. (And then there was fellow Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin who later gave a strange twist to the Paul Revere legend.)

 Bachmann’s John Wayne misadventure might be more of a problem for her, because of the carefully planned strategy of putting so much stress this week on her Waterloo and Iowa roots. Says Politico this afternoon about Wayne-gate, after noting the earlier Concord concoction:

“[T]his screw-up cuts a little deeper, given how relentlessly she’s positioned herself as a hometown gal.”

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 06/27/2011 - 04:42 pm.

    Wayne was born in Winterset Iowa, but rumor has it, his parents lived in Waterloo at one point.

  2. Submitted by will lynott on 06/27/2011 - 06:13 pm.

    Oh boy, how is she going to talk her way out of this one?

    If nothing else, her candidacy will be entertaining–although ultimately a flop. I simply cannot see the Rs being sufficiently self-destructive to allow her the nomination.

  3. Submitted by scott cantor on 06/27/2011 - 10:51 pm.

    Who says she confused them?

  4. Submitted by Roy Everson on 06/28/2011 - 12:47 am.

    John Wayne Gacy had a goal and he didn’t give up, and he probably wasn’t judgmental about the historical errors of others. He didn’t quit half-way through his term. And he wasn’t bent on transforming America into a socialist state. So lay off, commiepinkomuslimlibs!

  5. Submitted by Peter Anderseon on 06/29/2011 - 12:16 pm.

    Wow, seriously MinnPost? Do you actually think that Bachmann would be so stupid as to confuse the two? These “gotcha” moments are getting really old really fast. John Wayne’s parents did actually live in Waterloo before moving to Winterset – a fact easily found in one of his Biographies, so it’s an easy mistake to make for Bachmann. In any event it’s irrelevant to the point she was making and to try and associate her with a serial killer is beyond the pale.

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