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Sen. Barbara Mikulski compares long-winded fellow Democrat to Lincoln

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Film buffs and political junkies who delighted in “Lincoln,” a recent film about the 16th president’s bid to end slavery through the 13th Amendment, will recall Honest Abe’s penchant for long-winded stories.

The motion picture features many of Lincoln’s tales, and his cabinet’s aversion to sitting through them.

So on Thursday, Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski anointed a fellow Democrat as Washington’s top storyteller.

During a spending bill markup, Sen. Tom Harkin, Iowa Democrat, ventured into a yarn about an “old conservative” who watched the first steamboat on the Mississippi River and said, “It’ll never go.”

When it paddled away, the old man said, “It will never stop.”

Mr. Harkin was trying to make a point about conservatives who are attacking President Obama’s health care law before key parts of it kick in.

After some awkward banter about whether the old conservative was the late Strom Thurmond — who served in the Senate until his death at age 100 — Ms. Mikulski cut in: “I think we just heard Senator Harkin being President Lincoln, with stories.”

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