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Michele Bachmann Mixes Up John Wayne And John Wayne Gacy

A bit of a gaffe on the day of her big announcement:

Rep. Michele Bachmann kicked off her presidential campaign on Monday in Waterloo, Iowa, and in one interview surrounding the official event she promised to mimic the spirit of Waterloo’s own John Wayne.

The only problem, as one eagle-eyed reader notes: Waterloo’s John Wayne was not the beloved movie star, but rather John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer.

Mrs. Bachmann grew up in Waterloo, and used the town as the backdrop for her campaign announcement, where she 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.

Video:

Indeed John Wayne Gacy, who went on to murder 33 people, lived in Waterloo, Iowa in 1967 and in fact committed his first sexual assaults there. in 1968. Marion Morrison, who later became the screen actor John Wayne, was born some three hours away from Waterloo in Winterset, Iowa in 1907, but moved to California with his family sometime in 1910. Michele Bachmann was born in Waterloo, Iowa in 1956, and lived there for about twelve years.
Something tells me she got a very bad history of the events in her hometown subsequent to the time she departed, and that those Iowa ties she talks about aren’t quite as deep as she’d like Iowans to think.

Update: Apparently, John Wayne’s parents lived in Waterloo for a very brief time before Wayne was born but moved to Winterset to be close to family. Wayne was, of course, born in Winterset not Waterloo.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Falze says:

    Sounds like she’s getting her background notes from the same people that do Obama’s…

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  2. Jim Henley says:

    I blame gay marriage.

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  3. Hazuki says:

    This is hardly the worst gaffe she’s made. I didn’t even know there WAS a John Wayne Gacy (and Wikipedia ugh’d a few weeks off my life…thanks, guys :/).

    However, I have to wonder if there are any unintentional similarities…Bachmann IS a clown, may well be a secondary psychopath, and will most certainly rape this country up the @$$ is elected. And she’ll probably win too, in this nation of 40% young-earth creationists…*sigh*

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  4. Sounds like something she (or someone on her staff) semi-learned and didn’t bother to fact check.

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  5. Hey Norm says:

    Truly funny…but ultimately as meaningless as her Lexington and Concord gaffe.
    She’s a nut-job of biblical proportions. These silly gaffes provide a convenient means for followers to deflect and minimize serious criticism.

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  6. Vast Variety says:

    Winterset – Waterloo, I suppose any nut who hasn’t lived the state for a couple of decades can make that mistake.

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  7. Wiley Stoner says:

    Maybe if Michelle had used Wayne’s real first name she would have avoided the confusion. Marion. Guess if the Duke had used his real first name, his image might have been somewhat different. Did not notice any posts concerning Obama’s gaffe about the Medal of Honor winning Marine’s status as either dead or alive at the time of presentation. One would think, that as a President making his first Medal of Honor presentation, a person would remember if the person receiving the accommadation was breathing. Doug, is Bachmann going to get the Palin treatment from you?

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  8. Dustin says:

    Ya Doug, is she? Because she’s going to get it from Wiley.

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  9. Rob says:

    John Wayne was an uber-Chickenhawk…

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  10. PJ says:

    I don’t think she made a mistake, she really meant John Wayne Gacy.
    If she had made a mistake, then wouldn’t she admit it?

    All the hacks trying to distort what she said. Shameful.

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  11. mattb says:

    @Stephen:

    Sounds like something she (or someone on her staff) semi-learned and didn’t bother to fact check.

    Sounds like exactly the sort of problem that can be caused by a bright young thing brimming with trivia and like Hazuki didn’t realize that there was a “John Wayne Gacy” (or assumed the original had dropped the last name before making it big).

    I’ve seen some similar things happen in all too many essays.

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  12. Pug says:

    “That’s the kind of spirit I have.”

    Someone better check the crawl space under this woman’s house.

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  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Someone better check the crawl space under this woman’s house

    .
    pug wins.

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  14. bains says:

    Let me see if I have this correct. John Wayne Gacy, who was born in Chicago IL, lived for some time in Waterloo IA. Marion Mitchell Morrison (aka John Wayne) was born in Winterset IA, but his parents lived in Waterloo IA.

    Now Michelle Bachman, who was born in Waterloo, and lived there until 1968 (12 years – if memory serves, that thru elementary school). John Wayne, who was born in 1907, was a well known national figure during Mrs Bachman’s upbring. John Gacy crime spree had not even merited local news.

    When I was in elementary school – Champaign IL – in the late 60′s, I remember all the tales of local heroes drummed into our heads. I’m sure there were some Paul Bunyan sized liberties taken in retelling those tales. And while I sure knew of John Wayne, I never heard a peep of John Gacy.

    So Michelle Bachman, in formally announcing her candidacy, relies upon most likely oral history, to claim that John Wayne is from Waterloo? So? And are you seriously implying that she was really thinking of John Gacy?

    I will be astounded when you of the left start holding your people to the same idiotic standards you demand the right to be held to. And I note, Doug, how let everyone know just how blase you were regarding the Anthony Weiner creepiness, yet how anxious you are to blare out this supposed Bachman boo-boo. As I said in another thread, this kind of thing is more revealing of your own veracity than it is of the character, or issue, that has your ire.

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  15. William Teach says:

    Yet another post where Doug hyperventilates in attacking a Republican. It is almost as breathless as the one where you excoriated Obama for getting the details wrong on Medal Of Honor recipient Jared Monti wrong….oh, wait, that’s right, no one at LOTB bothered to cover Obama making a major league gaffe.

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  16. anjin-san says:

    I grew up in a fairly small town. I don’t see how anyone else who did could be confused about something as simple as wheather or not one of the most iconic actors in history hailed from the same town as they did. HTF do you get that wrong?

    George Lucas lived up the road from me once upon a time. But I, like everyone else in town with over 100 functioning brain cells, knew that Modesto, which is several hundred miles away is his home town. No one was confused about that.

    It simply reinforces the view of Bachmann as someone who’s view of the world is based on seeing what she wants to see, rather than what is…

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  17. bains says:

    It simply reinforces the view of Bachmann as someone who’s view of the world is based on seeing what she wants to see, rather than what is…

    To the more activist on the left perhaps. But ignoring the oral history aspect reveals the flaw in your desired narrative.

    And it is quite impressive to see all the minions out seeking to foist that narrative.

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  18. jukeboxgrad says:

    bains:

    So Michelle Bachman, in formally announcing her candidacy, relies upon most likely oral history, to claim that John Wayne is from Waterloo? So? And are you seriously implying that she was really thinking of John Gacy?

    Good point. She was obviously not thinking of John Gacy. She was thinking of that great American, John “I believe in white supremacy” Wayne (link). You’re right, we should pay attention to what she really meant, because her choice of heroes is quite revealing.

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  19. Jeff Wayne says:

    John Wayne, my father, was raised and went to school in Waterloo. Just like Michelle. He is neither John Gacy nor is he Marion Morisson. He is the real and true John Wayne from Waterloo. Check the West Waterloo Wahawk yearbooks around 1951-1955 or so to find the possible error. It is ridiculous to believe she was referring to a serial killer. Nor was she refering to my father, but perhaps her crack research team confused my father, John Wayne from Waterloo, with Marion Morrison.

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  20. Jeff Wayne says:

    Sorry JukeBoxGrad, but you have just misquoted your own link, by ommitting the complete quote your post lacks merit. The actual quote from your link is – “I believe in white supremacy until blacks are educated to a point of responsibility”. although it is ignorant for our time, maybe it is not so much for his time. At least he is open to educating blacks and allowing them to serve office when educated. which is much more than many whites of the time would be accepting of. It was a difficult time for many who had to unlearn the bigotry they were taught when growing up in times of racial tension and inequality. We are still learning.

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  21. jukeboxgrad says:

    by ommitting the complete quote your post lacks merit

    The rest of what he said doesn’t help him.

    although it is ignorant for our time, maybe it is not so much for his time

    He said it in 1971, not 1941 or 1951. It’s not just “ignorant for our time.” It was ignorant when he said it.

    And Bachmann honoring him happened in 2011, not 1941 or 1951, so this is another indication that she is clueless, or worse.

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  22. anjin-san says:

    But ignoring the oral history aspect reveals the flaw in your desired narrative.

    What on Earth are you babbling about?

    I can talk about my hometown for a long time. And all of my facts will be straight. I won’t tell you the Easter Bunny spent the night there in 1947 and then try and hide behind some nonsense about “oral history”…

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  23. anjin-san says:

    Bains… perhaps you could explain to us how Bachmann’s confusion about fairly well documented events relating to the founding of our nation is also the fault of “oral history”…

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  24. Jim Treacher says:

    Wayne was, of course, born in Winterset not Waterl

    oo.

    Of course. You knew that before yesterday, right?

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  25. Jim,

    Not having been born in Waterloo (or Winterset) it wasn’t something I had stored in my brain although I did know JW was born in Iowa.

    One would think a Waterloo native would be more familiar with her town’s history, though.

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  26. Pug says:

    John Wayne was from California. ‘Nough said.

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  27. mantis says:

    All this John Wayne business is rather silly and much ado about nothing, if you ask me.

    Bachmann’s ignorance about the founding fathers is pretty embarrassing, though.

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  28. DavidL says:

    I would welcome a honest comparison of gaffes between any republican candidate and the current president and vice-president.

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  29. bubbles says:

    @Pug:
    too true

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