Mixing up the founding fathers: Bachmann's latest gaffe?

If it's a new day, there's probably at least one new Michele Bachmann gaffe. Today's comes courtesy of an interview Bachmann did with ABC News, in which she categorized John Quincy Adams (who was the sixth president) as a "founding father" when it was his dad, John Adams (the second president), who was actually one of the founding fathers. 

Bachmann's been getting beat up in the media today over the statement, but watching the clip, I don't think this is one of her worst mistakes. Bachmann used a loose definition of the phrase "founding father" to be sure, but she accurately described John Quincy Adams as a boy during the U.S. revolution. 

The whole mess stems from Bachmann's earlier statement that the founding fathers "worked tirelessly" to end slavery. She should have qualified that statement to say that some of this country's founders were opposed to slavery, while others weren't. 

I don't consider any of Bachmann's misstatements individually a reason she shouldn't be president, but they are adding up -- and the media's amplification of them isn't helping her. 

All candidates make gaffes from time to time, but PolitiFact recently reported that Bachmann has the "worst record of making false statements of any of the leading contenders" for the presidency. This tendency to make gaffes could point to shoddy, superficial research on the part of her speech-writing team or the candidate, herself. Either way, it's not a good trait for a potential president to have. (Granted, Obama has made his fair share of misstatements.)  

Nevertheless, most recent polls show Bachmann at or near the top of the GOP field. 

Are Bachmann's false statements hurting her chances to be president? The polls don't seem to indicate so. But if she wins the GOP nomination, they'll almost certainly come back to haunt her in attack ads during the general election. 


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