MANCHESTER, N.H.Â â€” Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmannâ€™s suggestion Saturday that the Revolutionary War began in Concord, N.H., rather than Lexington and Concord, Mass., marks the third time in recent months that the potential GOP presidential hopeful has committed a puzzling gaffe about history and current affairs.
Making her first trek to New Hampshire as a 2012 prospect, Bachmann told a GOP crowdÂ in Manchester: â€œYouâ€™re the state where the shot was heard around the world at Lexington and Concord.â€
The Revolutionary War began, not in New Hampshireâ€™s capital, but in the famous two towns more than 50 miles away in Massachusetts.
For Bachmann, who leads the House Tea Party caucus and champions a return to the Constitution, to get such basic facts wrong about the countryâ€™s birth is revealing.
Her comment wasnâ€™t just an off-hand reference that she inserted in her remarks. At a fundraiser Friday night on the New Hampshire Seacoast, Bachmann said almost the exact same thing, according to the Minnesota Post.
â€œItâ€™s your state that fired the shot that was heard around the world, you are the state of Lexington and Concord, you started the battle for liberty right here in your backyard,â€ Bachmann said.
Bachmannâ€™s geographic mix-up prompted derision among some New Hampshire Republicans.
â€œIs she on her way to Lexington, N.H., now?â€ cracked Matt Suermann, who blogs for RedHampshire, in response to somebody who posted on Twitter that Bachmann had left the building.
Told of the congresswomanâ€™s line, another prominent New Hampshire Republican asked: â€œSeriously, the real question is whether she knows she (got it wrong), I suspect not.â€
The latest gaffe may not hurt her with those grass-roots activists who are attracted to her for her attacks against the Obama administration, but it could hamper her efforts to be taken seriously among the broader swath of Republicans sheâ€™d need to win the nomination.
â€œShe makes Sarah Palin look like Count Metternich,â€ groaned longtime GOP consultant Mike Murphy on Twitter after reading about the Concord confusion.
And the Lexington and Concord error followed two other instances where Bachmann got important facts wrong.
Speaking in January to an Iowa anti-tax group, Bachmann claimed that the authors of the countryâ€™s founding documents sought to end slavery.
â€œThe very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States,â€ she said.
While some of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were in favor of abolishing slavery, they were, of course, dead when the institution was ended following the Civil War.
Bachmann singled out John Quincy Adams as someone who â€œwould not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country.â€
But John Quincy Adams, the sixth president who went on to campaign vigorously against slavery while serving in the U.S. House, was not yet 9 years old when the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776; he died in 1848 â€” nearly two decades before the 13th Amendment was ratified abolishing slavery.
Then, in an appearance on NBCâ€™s â€œMeet the Pressâ€ last Sunday, Bachmann seemed to rely on outdated talking points in suggesting that President Barack Obama should defer to Gen. David Petraeus on how to approach the crisis in Libya.
Asked whether itâ€™s in Americaâ€™s vital interest to remove Muammar Qadhafi from power, the Minnesotan cited Defense Secretary Robert Gatesâ€™s recent admonition about avoiding future land wars in Asia. Then she added: â€œWe are extended now in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I think for us to consider further penetration at this time, we need to listen to Gen. Petraeus and what he has to say.â€
Bachmann, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, should know that Petraeus is the commander of American forces in Afghanistan and is not in the chain of command when it comes to military decisions about Libya.
On Saturday morning, she may have served up her most damaging gaffe yet, though.
E. Nicholl Marshall of Manchester, who was at the Manchester event, credited Bachmann with delivering â€œa great speech,â€ but he added:â€ My only criticism is there is no Lexington in New Hampshire. And back then Concord was a backwater town, not even a city.â€
Later in the day, after Bachmann made a stop in Barrington, Mike Castaldo of Dover, a transplant to the Granite State, called the â€œshot heard â€˜round the worldâ€ line â€œa big mistake. They take their heritage very seriously.â€
Getting Massachusetts confused with New Hampshire while speaking to a group of Granite State Republicans is something most GOP hopefuls avoid. New Hampshire conservatives are fiercely proud of their income-tax-free stateâ€™s libertarian traditions â€” see â€œLive Free or Dieâ€ â€” and consider their neighbor to the south a haven of left wingers.
By late Saturday, Bachmann had taken to Facebook in an attempt to swiftly address her Concord mix-up. â€œSo I misplaced the battles Concord and Lexington by saying they were in New Hampshire,â€ she wrote. â€œIt was my mistake, Massachusetts is where they happened. New Hampshire is where they are still proud of it!â€