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Michele Bachmann's revolutionary blunder — more than a 'gotcha' moment

Posted by Jesse Singal  March 14, 2011 03:24 PM

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Michele Bachmann's now-famous flub about the American Revolution would go down as just an embarrassing gaffe by the Minnesota Republican, conservative rock star, and possible presidential candidate — if it didn't fit into a larger pattern.

Bachmann has been the object of ridicule since Saturday, when she said that the battles of Lexington and Concord took place in New Hampshire. Luckily for Paul Revere's horse, that's not accurate: the first battles of the Revolution were in Massachusetts.

Bachmann has gotten into the habit of making dubious statements about American history. She claimed John Quincy Adams was a founding father, and that he lived to see slavery's end. She also said the founders all worked tirelessly to overturn slavery.

Now, using the founders selectively is one of the most hackneyed tricks in American politics — left, right, and everyone in between can pluck out a quote that seems to support their views.

But that's not what's happening with Bachmann. She's not using facts and quotes selectively; she's simply getting them wrong. Her flubs are not happening in impromptu settings, where it might be easier to forgive slips of the tongue. In fact, she apparently repeated the Lexington and Concord line twice during her New Hampshire visit. Given that as the chair of the Tea Party caucus Bachmann leads a group that claims to represent the legacy of the Revolution, it seems fair to hold her to a higher standard.

Globe file photo: Minuteman memorial in Concord.

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ABOUT THE ANGLE Online commentary and news analysis from the Boston Globe. The Angle is produced by Rob Anderson and Alan Wirzbicki. You can follow Rob on Twitter at @rcand.

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