September 16, 2011 / 9:01 PM / 8 years ago

Factbox: Bachmann's misstatements on campaign trail

(Reuters) - Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, a favorite of the conservative Tea Party movement, has made verbal slips and factual blunders while campaigning on the 2012 election trail.

Here are some of her misstatements since she announced her candidacy in June.

* PRESIDENT OBAMA AND PETROLEUM RESERVES, June 26

In a television appearance, Bachmann rebuked President Barack Obama’s decision to release oil from America’s emergency petroleum reserves.

“It’s ironic and sad that the president released all of the oil from the Strategic Oil Reserve because the president doesn’t have an energy policy,” Bachmann said.

Her statement was incorrect. Obama ordered a release of about 4 percent of the total U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, not the entire volume.

* LIKE JOHN WAYNE FROM WATERLOO, June 27

Bachmann said actor John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa, her hometown that she picked as the location to kick off her campaign.

“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,” Bachmann said in a television interview shortly after announcing her candidacy.

But Wayne, a legendary American movie star, was born in Winterset, Iowa. She confused the actor with John Wayne Gacy, an American serial killer who lived in Waterloo.

* JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, AMERICA’S FOUNDING FATHER, June 28

Bachmann referred to John Quincy Adams as one of America’s founding fathers in a television interview, a day after entering the presidential race.

When she was asked if she believed that the founding fathers fought hard to end slavery, she said: “Well if you look at one of our founding fathers, John Quincy Adams, that’s absolutely true. ... He tirelessly worked throughout his life to make sure that we did in fact one day eradicate slavery,” she said.

John Quincy Adams was the sixth U.S. president. His father, John Adams, was one of the founding fathers of America.

* HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELVIS, August 16

Bachmann began a speech in Spartanburg, S.C., by wishing American rock ‘n’ roll star Elvis Presley a happy birthday.

“We played you a little bit of Promised Land when we pulled up. You can’t do better than Elvis Presley. We thought we’d celebrate his birthday as we get started to celebrating Take Our Country back tour,” Bachmann said to hundreds of supporters.

Her speech coincided with the anniversary of Elvis’ death, not his birth.

* PRESIDENT BACHMANN AND GASOLINE AT $2, August 16

At an event in Greenville, S.C., Bachmann blamed President Obama for rising gas prices, which rose from $1.79 at the beginning of his presidency and touched $4 in recent months.

“Under President Bachmann, you will see gasoline come down below $2 a gallon again. That will happen,” Bachmann told supporters.

Political commentators were amused by her promise, which they said would entail a challenging task — controlling demand and supply factors in a free market to rein in gas prices.

* THE SOVIET UNION IN 2011, August 18

Bachmann, who has been criticized for her lack of experience in dealing with foreign policy, said “the rise of Soviet Union,” threatened America’s superpower status.

“What people recognize is that there’s a fear that the United States is in an unstoppable decline,” Bachmann said in a radio interview. “They see the rise of China, the rise of India, the rise of the Soviet Union and our loss militarily going forward.”

The Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991.

* HPV VACCINES AND MENTAL RETARDATION, September 12

Bachmann at a Republican debate criticized rival Rick Perry’s order mandating the vaccination of adolescent girls against a sexually transmitted disease.

Texas Governor Perry announced a program in 2007 to vaccinate young girls against the human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can cause cervical cancer.

In that forum, she questioned the state’s authority to force “innocent little 12-year-old girls” to have a “government injection” that was “potentially dangerous.”

“There’s a woman who came up crying to me tonight after the debate. She said her daughter was given that vaccine,” Bachmann said on television moments after the debate. “She told me her daughter suffered mental retardation as a result of that vaccine. There are very dangerous consequences.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics says there is absolutely no scientific validity to Bachmann’s statement that the HPV vaccine is potentially dangerous.

“Since the vaccine has been introduced (in 2006), more than 35 million doses have been administered, and it has an excellent safety record,” said Dr. O. Marion Burton, president of the AAP.

Reporting by Malathi Nayak; Editing by Xavier Briand

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