Senator Barbara Boxer Speaking in Philadelphia

Barbara Boxer (r) and Bonnie Squires (l).

Bonnie Squires (L) and Barbara Boxer (R).

Sen. Barbara Boxer visited public media station WHYY in Philadelphia to launch her latest book, “The Art of Tough,” a memoir of her decades of service in both Congress and the Senate. For the first time since 1976, she may not be running for election, but she doesn’t plan on going away. She represented California in Congress from 1983 to 1992. Then in ’92, she entered the U.S. Senate. Next on her agenda as a private citizen is to create a political action committee (PAC).

Sen. Boxer announced that she will be a speaker at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Then she launched into a spirited defense of Hillary Clinton, saying, “Hillary is authentic, the smartest person in the room. She’s shy. But she is just herself, ever since she was in college.” While she had a few choice words about Donald Trump, she repeatedly described Hillary as “authentic.”

Humor has always been one of Boxer’s weapons. She even sang one of her song parodies for the audience. When she first entered Congress, she learned that the gym was only for men. What was reserved for the few women in the Capitol was a tiny room with a row of hair dryers! So she wrote a song parody, lined up some friends to perform it with her, and won the right for women to use what had previously been a male sanctuary – the gym.

"The Art of Tough" by Barbara Boxer.

“The Art of Tough” by Barbara Boxer.

She went 20 years without speaking to Mitch McConnell because he had threatened her if she insisted on calling for his Ethics Committee to investigate a Republican Senator who had sexually assaulted a staffer. But she talked about how, a couple of years ago, she and McConnell actually worked together to pass a bill. And they enjoyed working together.

“Forgiveness” is one of the nine rules for “toughness” that she lists in her book. Senator Boxer has a lot of victories to her credit, but the one thing she failed to do, despite constant efforts, was to end the war in Iraq. But she will keep on battling for human rights, women’s rights, and gun control.

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