Less than 24 hours after formally kicking off her presidential bid in Waterloo, Iowa, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is already fighting two very different battles in the 2012 war.
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Facing revived criticism about her propensity for gaffes—most recently, her comment immediately following Monday’s announcement that she would channel the spirit of fellow Waterloo native John Wayne (the beloved western film star was from about 150 miles southwest; she was mistakenly referring to serial killer John Wayne Gacy, who once lived in Waterloo)—Bachmann spent Tuesday morning owning up to her comments, all the while assuring that she remains a force to be reckoned with in the GOP field.
Appearing on CNN’s American Morning, Bachmann said her past flubs “were of course just [me] misspeaking, and that happens. People can make mistakes, and I wish I could be perfect every time I say something, but I can’t.” Though Bachmann tried to move on an insisted that “the one thing people know about me is that I’m a substantive, serious person,” she backpedaled later in the interview when pressed about her most recent blooper.
“John Wayne's parents' first home was in Waterloo, Iowa, and he was from Iowa, and, of course the main point that 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 is all about,” she said.
Despite the sudden tunnel focus on what she’s doing wrong, though, Bachmann said on Fox and Friends that recent comments from the White House criticizing her stance on tax cuts mean she’s also doing something right. “It shows that President Obama sees me as a real threat, and I think he believes I will be the nominee from the Republican Party, which I intend to do,” she said. “I think he has every reason to be afraid of my candidacy.”
But other ghosts from Bachmann’s past remain. On Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos resurrected controversial comments she’s made about the Founding Fathers working “tirelessly” to end slavery, and that the minimum wage should be abolished. Amy Kremer, chair of the powerhouse PAC Tea Party Express, recently dubbed such scrutiny “Palinization,” named after 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, who’s engaged in an infamous game of cat-and-mouse with the media. Bachmann said she’s ready for it.
“There will be a media onslaught of attack,” Bachmann said on NBC's Today show, “but that's nothing new—that goes with the territory. It doesn't matter who the candidate is, whether they're male or female; there will be attacks that come. And that's simply what we have to be prepared to deal with, and I am prepared.”