Posted at 09:20 AM ET, 06/28/2011

John Wayne Gacy gaffe delights Michele Bachmann opponents

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., greets supporters after her formal announcement to seek the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. (Charlie Riedel/AP)
On “Fox News Sunday,” Michele Bachmann told Chris Wallace, “Of course a person has to be careful with statements that they make. I think that's true.” Two days later, she may have wished she had followed her own advice a bit more closely. After her presidential campaign kickoff, Bachmann stepped into a cultural joke minefield by comparing herself to John Wayne of Waterloo, Iowa. The only John Wayne that ever lived in Waterloo was the serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

The mistake has left an easy opening for a flank attack. David Letterman spent four minutes on the incident Monday night, discussing the “ugly and dumb things”politicians say.

On “Morning Joe,” Joe Scarborough shared a laugh with former Minnesota governor TimPawlenty, a Bachmann rival, when Scarborough asked, “Do you have any serial killers from your hometown?”

Bachmann told CNN that people make mistakes and that she is working to introduce people to her “strong academic scholarly background.”

She went on to say: “John Wayne’s parents’ first home was in Waterloo, Iowa and he was from Iowa and 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... And that’s of course my main point.”

One positive thing the incident has done, it’s made me listen to Sufjan Stevens’s creepily beautiful song, “John Wayne Gacy Jr.” multiple times:

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By  |  09:20 AM ET, 06/28/2011

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