Opinion: Politicians: It’s not the gaffes, it’s the lies


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Should we be bothered that Michele Bachmann doesn’t seem to know where the shot heard ‘round the world was fired? A report in Politico says the firebrand Republican Minnesota representative and ‘tea party’ favorite made an embarrassing gaffe Saturday while speaking in New Hampshire.

‘You’re the state where the shot was heard around the world at Lexington and Concord,’ she told the GOP crowd, apparently confusing Concord, N.H., with Concord, Mass., where the Revolutionary War began. Politico points out that this isn’t the first historical blooper from Bachmann, who enjoys paying homage to the nation’s Founding Fathers but sometimes seems confused about details. She told a crowd in Iowa that the founders worked tirelessly ‘until slavery was no more in the United States,’ for example, when of course that didn’t happen until they were all long dead.


Bloggers are having a field day over Bachmann’s latest blunder, and Politico points out that all this could hurt her with a few East Coast history buffs if she’s serious about throwing her hat in the presidential ring. But I’d be happier if pundits made more of a fuss about Bachmann’s outright falsehoods, which are plentiful, than a few mistakes, which are common for just about anybody who does much public speaking. Bachmann’s whoppers during the heathcare debate are well documented (she helped lead the ‘death panels’ charge and even went so far as to claim that the Democratic healthcare bill would end all private insurance coverage within five years), and she can be relied on to repeat whatever nonsensical claim is currently in vogue on conservative talk shows, such as the absurd notion that President Obama’s trip to India last year cost taxpayers $200 million a day.

Bachmann can read a history book if people are concerned about her grasp of 18th century details. But I’m not sure she can conquer her addiction to lying.

-- Dan Turner

Michele Bachmann speaks Saturday at a GOP fundraiser in New Hampshire. Credit: Darren McCollester / Getty Images