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Michele Bachmann and the Right to Bare Arms

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When Michele Bachmann came to the floor Wednesday afternoon to preside over the House chamber, there was one problem: She was wearing a dress — without sleeves.  

After Speaker John A. Boehner opened the House, Bachmann was due to step in the chair. Unfortunately for the Minnesota Republican, the dress code governing the House chamber was written before the time when Michelle Obama was first lady. Bare shoulders are not allowed on the House floor.  

According to a source who saw the hubbub, floor staffers huddled for a moment before approaching Bachmann and telling her she could not preside until she covered up.  

"I was just told that I needed to have a jacket and it was no problem," Bachmann told HOH on Wednesday afternoon. "I called the staff and said 'grab one' — I keep an extra one in my office — and they ran it over lickety-split."  

Bachmann said she agreed with the dress code, which is stricter for members when they are presiding over the House chamber than it is for when they're on the floor. "And it isn't different for women than it is for men, which I absolutely agree with," she said.  

While Bachmann waited roughly five minutes for her staff to bring over a jacket, Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., stepped in to pinch-hit as the presiding officer.  

When her staff did arrive, they brought two options: a dark blazer and a white one. Bachmann, who was wearing a black dress, tried on both, opting for the black jacket in the end.  

"I just thought this would look more professional," she said.  

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