As the Post’s Marc Fisher noted; “Mikulski, 78 and in good health, departs the way she came in — with a sharp tongue, an unabashed liberalism, and a reputation for straight talk.” Here’s a roundup of some Mikulski’s best zingers over the past few decades.
Any other quotes you think should be added to this list? Leave ’em in the comments:
In 1979, then-Rep. Mikulski introduced Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) at a fund-raiser for the Equal Rights Amendment. According to a 1980 Washington Post article, after accounting all the similarities between herself and Kennedy, she noted:
“Our fathers were both entrepreneurs. My father owned a small grocery store, your father owned Boston.”
A year later, Mikulski told the Post why she was a bit nervous about introducing Kennedy at the 1980 Democratic National Convention:
“You see, I usually follow men on platforms who are at least a foot and a half taller than I am,” said Mikulski, who stands 4-foot-11. “And there’s supposed to be this hydraulic lift that takes me up above that high podium. I have this terrible feeling that I’m going to get before that huge oaken podium, and push the button, and nothing’s going to happen . . .” “I brought an extra pair of glasses,” Mikulski added. “I have this fear that I’m going to get all dressed to go before the convention — and then bend down and step on my glasses. And it will be a little hard to give an elegant speech while I’m holding that paper four inches from my eyes . . .”
Mikulski in 1984 on the national demand to put a woman on the presidential ticket (via the Washington Post):
“We are being pursued like some kind of new fad, like a new kind of Lite Beer or something,” Mikulski said yesterday, speaking about herself and a handful of other congresswomen who are frequently named as possible vice presidential candidates. “It can feel a little humiliating.”
This is reportedly what Mikulski — who never married — told a campaign worker during her 1986 Senate bid, when Republicans tried to spread rumors she was gay. Via Slate:
“There was no Ted Kennedy who ever asked me out,” she joked.
A common refrain Mikulski repeated on the stump, as reported by the Washington Post in 1986:
“I might be short, but I won’t be overlooked.”
From that same front-page 1986 Post article on Mikulski’s Senate bid:
“They told me in campaign school if I turn sideways I lose 10 pounds,” quipped the Democratic nominee for the Senate seat of retiring Republican Sen. Charles McC. Mathias Jr. as she turned a shoulder toward the photographer in a fruitless attempt to disguise a frame that remains ample despite frequent dieting.
Mikulski’s reaction to the press calling 1992 “the year of the woman” because a historic number of women had been elected to the Senate.
“Calling 1992 the year of the woman makes it sound like the year of the Caribou or the year of the Asparagus,” Mikulski said. “We’re not a fad, fancy or a year.”
In 1995, Mikulski dislocated her right hand after she tried to fend off an assailant who mugged her in front of her Baltimore home. Via the Chicago Tribune:
The Maryland Democrat was knocked to the ground by a man who snatched her purse shortly before midnight in the trendy Fells Point neighborhood, police said. She tried to fend off her assailant, but he pushed her to the ground and ran off with her purse.
Mikulski on the formerly men-only Senate gym, from a 1997 Chicago Tribune article:
“The gym was for guys only,” she said. “It took Kay Bailey Hutchison coming before women were allowed to use the treadmill. Like having a cigar in the library, it was the last bastion for them, I guess. But that was OK, I spent the time getting worked up instead of working out.”
Mikulski, a big proponent of the country’s space program, on being a Trekkie in 2005. Via the Washingtonian:
“I’d be a Trekkie in two hot seconds,” she says. But she admits a more realistic job would be an astronomer. “While I would love to go up to the distant planets and find new galaxies,” she says. “I wouldn’t want to be an astronaut. I don’t quite see myself in the costume.”
In 2012, on why she didn’t become a nun. Via the Associated Press:
“I even thought about being a Catholic nun, but that vow of obedience kind of slowed me down a little bit,” Mikulski said.
On the Senate floor in 2012, after Republicans blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act.
I say to the women out there in America, let’s keep this fight going. Put on your lipstick, square your shoulders, suit up, and let’s fight for a new American revolution where women are paid equal pay for equal work, and let’s end wage discrimination in this century once and for all.
During a Senate hearing on cybersecurity in 2013, Mikulski took out her phone to verbally respond to a message that a Buzzfeed reporter Rosie Grey tweeted about her. Via the Guardian: