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Inside Politics

- - Monday, June 27, 2011

GOP

Bachmann's Wayne reference in spotlight

Rep. Michele Bachmann kicked off her presidential campaign on Monday in Waterloo, Iowa, and in one interview she promised to mimic the spirit of Waterloo's own John Wayne.

The only problem, as one eagle-eyed reader notes: Waterloo's John Wayne was not the beloved movie star, but rather John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer.

Mrs. Bachmann grew up in Waterloo, and used the town as the backdrop for her campaign announcement, where she told Fox News: "Well, what I want them to know is just like, John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That's the kind of spirit that I have, too."

John Wayne, the movie legend, was in fact from Iowa and the John Wayne birthplace is a celebrated landmark - only it's in Winterset, which is a nearly three hour-drive away from Waterloo.

Gacy, though, had his first taste of the criminal life in Waterloo, where he lived for a short time, and where he had his first criminal conviction for an attempted homosexual assault, which landed him in prison for 18 months.

He moved back to Illinois, where his killing spree started, and lasted about six years. In 1980 he was convicted on 33 counts of murder, and was executed in 1994.

The Bachmann campaign sent this explanation: "John Wayne is from Iowa, his parents lived in Waterloo."

SOUTH CAROLINA

Sources: Haley will veto presidential primary bill

COLUMBIA — Two officials close to South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley say she will veto a plan to use taxpayer money to pay for the first-in-the-South Republican presidential primary.

The officials are familiar with Mrs. Haley's decision and spoke Monday on condition of anonymity. The Republican governor will make an announcement on Tuesday.

Mrs. Haley had warned lawmakers not to put taxpayer cash toward the primary. Still, the state budget would spend up to $680,000 on the contest.

Mrs. Haley's expected veto may not be that much of an impediment to the primary.

On Monday, Attorney General Alan Wilson released an opinion that appears to clear the way for the state Election Commission to contract with the state GOP and collect money from the party to put on the contest.

NEW YORK

Fox host apologizes for 'flake' question

NEW YORK — Fox News Channel's Chris Wallace says he "messed up" by asking Republican presidential contender Michele Bachmann whether she's a flake.

The talk show host posted the video apology after his "Fox News Sunday" interview with the Minnesota congresswoman, who formally announced her presidential bid Monday in Iowa.

Mr. Wallace said on the Fox show that Mrs. Bachmann had a reputation in Washington for making questionable statements, noting she had called fellow members of Congress anti-American. He paused and asked her: "Are you a flake?"

Mrs. Bachmann answered that she was a "serious person" and found insinuations that she was a flake to be "insulting."

She offered some career highlights and Mr. Wallace asked whether she recognized that as a presidential candidate she had to be careful and not say "what some regard as flaky things." She answered that of course a person had to be careful with things that they say. The exchange came at the end of her Sunday show appearance.

Mr. Wallace said later that since "it's really all about the answers and not the questions, I messed up. I'm sorry. I didn't mean any disrespect."

He said he had simply wanted to address issue with her directly because some people do dismiss her as a flake.

"She seemed to be a little perturbed about that and I think gave a very strong answer," he said. "In any case, a lot of you were more than perturbed. You were upset and felt that I had been rude to her."

The "Fox News Sunday" Facebook page had several angry comments from viewers, including some who suggested Wallace's question was sexist.

OKLAHOMA

Officials: Cherokee election results not as thought

OKLAHOMA CITY — - Cherokee Nation officials have reversed unofficial election results, saying the tribe's longtime leader was re-elected in Saturday's voting.

Unofficial results had shown longtime councilman Bill John Baker defeating Principal Chief Chad Smith by 11 votes.

But Cherokee Election Commission clerk Joyce Gourd said Monday that Smith won a fourth term as chief by a mere seven-vote margin. Miss Gourd says official results show Mr. Smith won with 7,609 votes to Mr. Baker's 7,602 votes.

Mr. Smith said he was pleased by the commission's action and his staff is jubilant. He had announced plans to challenge the results of the election before Ms. Gourd's announcement. He said he expects Mr. Baker to challenge the official results. Mr. Baker was not immediately available for comment.

STATE

Clinton hails state's gay marriage decision

New York's legalization of same-sex marriage marks a historic human rights victory that will give much-needed credibility and visibility to the international movement for equality for gays and lesbians, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday.

Speaking at a gay pride event at the State Department, Mrs. Clinton celebrated last week's move in the state she once represented in the Senate. She called New York's legislative approval of gay marriage a momentous and extraordinary event and said she hoped it would lend momentum to the campaign for gay rights.

Mrs. Clinton also said much more needs to be done to end discrimination around the globe, a cause she has rallied American diplomats to embrace.

"This is an especially momentous and extraordinary time for us to meet," Mrs. Clinton told a crowd organized by Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies, a group that includes employees of the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development and other federal offices that deal with foreign policy.

"The historic vote in New York ... I think gives such visibility and credibility to everything that so many of you have done for so many years," she said.

Although Mrs. Clinton perhaps intentionally did not use the word "marriage" once in her remarks, her enthusiastic endorsement of the New York law puts her at the forefront of President Obama's top aides in backing same-sex marriage. Mr. Obama himself has been hesitant on the issue, although he has instructed his administration to end discriminatory barriers for gay people at home and abroad.