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Roll Call

Michele Bachmann: Upbringing Influences Candidacy

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Rep. Michele Bachmann likes wearing dresses on the campaign trail in part because they remind her of her grandmothers, who would sew a new dress for her twice a year — Easter and the first day of school.

The Minnesota Republican often wore hand-me-down clothes from her brothers, including pants and little red Keds tennis shoes, the presidential hopeful said in an interview with a Roll Call reporter for a piece in the December/January issue of More magazine.

“We were very simple people and didn’t have a lot of money,” Bachmann said.

But her grandmothers, “magnificent influences in my life,” would take her to the fabric store to let her choose the pattern and material for those two annual special occasions, she said. “[T]hey would make a dress for me, and I loved it.”

Bachmann said her mother and grandmothers taught her to behave like “a lady.”

“They took care of themselves. I don’t recall that they wore makeup, but they always did their hair. My one grandmother always had a French roll, the other one usually put her hair up,” Bachmann said. “You’d never see them that they weren’t ready for the day.”

Bachmann said that she’s never seen her gender as a barrier in politics, and that her parents did not treat her any differently from her brothers.

“I mowed the lawn, took out the garbage,” she said.

Her father took Bachmann fishing and hunting.

“When I was 12, he took me through gun safety class. We loaded our own shotgun shells down in the basement, we tied our own fishing lures,” she said. “I was included in everything. I wasn’t not included because I was a girl. I was very grateful for that. I learned a tremendous love for fishing and for the outdoors, and I have my dad to thank for that.”

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