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Mikulski asks women to 'suit up' for Clinton

Senator Barbara Mikulski speaks at the Democratic National Convention in support of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. (C-SPAN video)

PHILADELPHIA — Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski told voters Thursday that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton had spent much of her career focused on women's issues, and urged women voters to return the favor this fall and "suit up" on her behalf.

Flanked by other Democratic female senators, Mikulski — the longest-serving woman in the history of Congress — described a telephone call she received from Clinton when the former first lady was considering a run for the Senate from New York.

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"She said to me, 'Senator Barb, can a senator really get things done?' I told her, 'A lot,' and boy, did she prove me right."

Maryland, a state often overlooked in national politics, has been heavily represented in the Wells Fargo Center this week. Former Gov. Martin O'Malley and three members of the state's congressional delegation — Mikulski and Reps. Elijah E. Cummings and Steny H. Hoyer — have addressed the convention. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the secretary of the Democratic National Committee since 2013, gaveled the convention to order and has presided over other portions.

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Mikulski received robust applause in the hall when she began to discuss her own history. She also spoke Tuesday, when she formally submitted Clinton's name for the nomination ahead of the roll call of states.

Also appearing on stage Thursday was retired Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, who was commandant of the Naval Academy from 2002 to 2003.

Allen, a 1976 academy graduate who went on to command U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, delivered a prime-time address focused heavily on Clinton's foreign diplomacy credentials.

His appearance served to counter comments by Republican nominee Donald Trump, suggesting he might not come to the aid of NATO allies unless they had paid their dues to the organization — an idea that would reverse nearly seven decades of U.S. foreign policy.

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"With [Clinton] as our commander-in-chief, America will continue to lead in this volatile world," Allen said. "With Hillary Clinton as our commander-in-chief, the United States will continue to be that indispensable, transformational power in the world."

Mikulski, elected to the Senate in 1986, announced last year that she would not seek another term — setting off a race for her replacement this year.

The Baltimore native was named chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee in 2012, and is currently that panel's top-ranking Democrat.

The longtime Clinton supporter focused her second address of the convention on domestic policy. Clinton, she said, had fought for equal pay for women in the Senate and resisted Republican efforts to privatize Social Security.

"Families of America, it's time to suit up. Women, put your lipstick on. Men, polish those shoes. Our shoulders squared.

"We're ready to fight to put Hillary in the White House," Mikulski said. "Because we know she'll carry the torch for all of us."

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