Bachmann on John Wayne Gacy gaffe: I'm not perfect

With a new poll in Iowa showing the tight race between Michelle Bachmann and Mitt Romney, Jan Crawford and John Dickerson report on where the candidates stand in the GOP race.
Iowa poll: Bachmann, Romney lead GOP race
AP

On day one of her presidential campaign, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann was already insisting that she's not a "flake." Today, on day two, she's acknowledging a minor flub she made the day of her presidential kickoff speech Monday that elicited a few chuckles.

Speaking from her home town of Waterloo, Iowa on Monday, Bachmann told Fox News, "John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That's the kind of spirit that I have, too."

As the Washington Times first noted, however, the actor John Wayne was born nearly 150 miles away in Winterset, Iowa. John Wayne Gacy, Jr. -- the serial killer -- was born in Waterloo.

Bachmann addressed the mistake on CNN Tuesday morning, saying, "People can make mistakes and I wish I could be perfect every time I say something, but I can't."

The parents of John Wayne the actor lived in Waterloo for a time, she pointed out. But the technicalities were beside the point, she added.

"Of course, the main point 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's all about," Bachmann said.

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The Tea Party Republican starts her campaign with a reputation for at times stretching the truth and mixing up facts.

However, she's proven to be a serious political contender when it comes to the polls and fundraising. A recent Des Moines Register poll of Iowa Republican voters shows she's in a statistical dead heat with Mitt Romney for the lead in the nation's first presidential nominating contest (which is, albeit, seven months away).

After Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked Bachmann if she's a flake, the congresswoman said, "It's insulting to insinuate that a candidate for president is less than serious."

She later accepted his personal apology after he called her.