NEW YORK -- Maryland Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski co-starred with Bill Clinton at the only public event he attended yesterday.
Ms. Mikulski, the only Democratic woman in the Senate, was hailed as a political trailblazer at an assembly sponsored by the Congressional Women's Caucus.
And when Mr. Clinton arrived to speak, he praised the senator, terming her the "only member of the U.S. Congress who's 7 feet tall, as far as I'm concerned."
It was Ms. Mikulski's second consecutive day in the spotlight. On Monday, she addressed the opening of the Democratic National Convention.
More than 40 women who are either members of Congress or running for the House or Senate were seated on a platform before an audience of several hundred women and a smaller number of men at the Hilton Hotel. Washington Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly and Sen. Howard M. Metzenbaum of Ohio were among those in attendance.
Ms. Mikulski delivered a fiery speech about the progress of women in politics and the benefits they'll bring to government as more are elected.
"This is truly history in the making," she said, referring to the unprecedented number of women, 18, running for the Senate.
"You know, some women spend their life looking out the window waiting for Prince Charming. But I've been waiting for six years for more women to come to the U.S. Senate," said Ms. Mikulski, who was elected in 1986 and is seeking re-election.
"I know that being the first did not mean being the only," she said in a reference to her own pioneering role. "I didn't open the door just to get the breeze. I opened it so others would follow, and here they are.
"Right now, what we will bring to the U.S. Senate is not only a new look but a new attitude; not only a new look but a new energy for change in an institution that has been stagnant for too long. The American people know that when all is said and done, too much gets said and not enough gets done."
She received a standing ovation, as did longtime Colorado Rep. Patricia Schroeder, who observed that she and other women in Congress have long "felt like we were islands."
Ms. Schroeder praised Mr. Clinton's wife, Hillary, for her involvement in children's issues. She also commended Tipper Gore, wife of Tennessee Sen. Al Gore, Mr. Clinton's running mate. She will "bring her own unique style," Ms. Schroeder said.