Waterloo, Iowa - Republican presidential contender Michele Bachmann spent her first day as an official candidate back-pedalling on her misstatement that film legend John Wayne was born here in her hometown.
"Once Americans get to know me better, they'll realize that I almost know what I'm talking about, most of the time," she said. "It's not that I'm lying. I'm just not remembering things completely or correctly, but I'm still mostly right."
When a reporter pointed out that John Wayne Gacy, not John Wayne, was born in Waterloo, Bachmann replied, "See, I was close. John Wayne Gacy had something to do with cereal. Wasn't he the original voice of Tony the Tiger?"
Asked whether a president needs to have flawless command of the facts to lead effectively, Bachmann pointed to an American flag flying above the Waterloo City Hall.
"I suppose you're going to ask me how many stripes are on that flag. I think I know the answer, but I don't want to get another question wrong. Anyway it's more important to love our flag than to do the math… 11… 12… 13. Thirteen! There are 13 stripes on the American flag."
Bachmann was questioned about whether her presidential campaign was going to buy her a GPS system so she wouldn't keep getting lost as she crisscrosses the country.
"Absolutely not," she said. "GPS is another example of big government interfering with our little lives. The government is not going to tell me which way to go. I'm going to tell the government which direction to follow.
"If I'm elected, the first thing I'm going to have them do is shoot those GPS spy satellites out of the sky. Next, I'm going to dismantle the Interstate Highway System. I don't want the government setting my route. Give me one of those American-made Jeeps and I will blaze my own trail."
When a reporter pointed out that Italian automaker Fiat owns Jeep, Bachmann countered, "Well, Christopher Columbus discovered America way back there in the 1600s. We owe a lot to our Italian brothers. But not as much as we owe to the Chinese.
"That's why I urge all Americans to stay away from all ethnic foods, and stick to your Whoppers. I know that's what I'm going to do."