Republican Representative Michele Bachmann surely meant to invoke iconic Hollywood star John Wayne as she launched her White House bid Monday -- not "Killer Clown" serial killer John Wayne Gacy.
Speaking to Fox News Channel from this heartland town, where she was born, Bachmann said that "what I want them (voters) to know is just like, John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That's the kind of spirit that I have, too."
But the late leading man -- known for Westerns like "Stagecoach," "The Searchers," and "True Grit," as well as his support of conservative political causes -- was born in Winterset, Iowa, a few hours' drive from Waterloo.
And, as the Washington Times newspaper first reported, Waterloo's own John Wayne was Gacy, who got his criminal start in the Iowa town before moving to Chicago, where he committed the more than 30 murders of which he was convicted.
It was the latest in a series of miscues that have tarnished Bachmann's image, making Republican insiders skeptical of the prodigious fundraiser and archconservative "Tea Party" movement darling's chances at the White House.
During a March visit to New Hampshire, home to a critical first-in-the-nation presidential primary, Bachmann incorrectly said the opening shots of the American Revolution were fired there instead of in nearby Massachusetts.
In November, she denounced President Barack Obama for "taking a trip over to India that is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day" -- a figure quickly dismissed by the White House as having "no basis in reality."
The independent factcheck.org site also treated the claim skeptically, noting that the entire Afghanistan war costs the Pentagon about $190 million per day.
In April 2009, Bachmann dismissed warnings about climate change, scorning scientists' warnings about heat-trapping greenhouse gases by saying carbon dioxide is "harmless."
"Carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn't even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas," she said in a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives.
In October 2008, Bachmann called during an appearance on MSNBC television for a media investigation into whether Democrats have "anti-America" views.
"I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out are they pro-America or anti-America? I would love to see an expose like that," she said.