Muskie, Edmund Sixtus

Muskie, Edmund Sixtus
▪ 1997

      U.S. politician (b. March 28, 1914, Rumford, Maine—d. March 26, 1996, Washington, D.C.), served as governor, senator, and U.S. secretary of state during a long career and was the Democratic Party's vice presidential candidate in 1968, but he was perhaps better remembered for his failure to win the presidential nomination in 1972. While campaigning in New Hampshire and angrily denouncing Manchester Union Leader attacks on his wife, he seemed to some to be crying. Though he said that what appeared to be tears on his face was really melting snow, Muskie could not shake an image of weakness. After graduating cum laude from Bates College, Lewiston, Maine, in 1936 and from Cornell Law School, Ithaca, N.Y., in 1939, Muskie began practicing law in Waterville, Maine. He served in the navy during World War II and then returned to his practice in Waterville. His political career began in the state legislature, and in 1954 he became the first Democrat in 20 years to be elected Maine's governor. In that post Muskie stressed environmental concerns, supporting clean air and water legislation. His continued support of environmental issues during his years in the U.S. Senate (1959-80) earned him the nickname "Mr. Clean." Laws regarding water quality, regional clean air standards, and a model cities program were among his successes. Muskie first gained nationwide public recognition when Hubert Humphrey selected him as his running mate in the 1968 presidential election campaign. In a close contest, the Democrats lost to the Richard Nixon-Spiro Agnew ticket. In 1980 Muskie left the Senate to serve as secretary of state during the last months of Jimmy Carter's administration. After Carter left office in 1981, Muskie returned to law. He was a senior partner in the Washington, D.C., office of a New York law firm at the time of his death.

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Universalium. 2010.

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