Edmund Sixtus Muskie (Edmund Marciszewski) (March 28, 1914–March 26, 1996) was a Polish-American politician from Maine. He served as Governor of Maine, as a US Senator, and as US Secretary of State. He was noted for being one of the first--and leading--environmentalists in the Senate.
Muskie was born in Rumford, Maine, the son of Catholic Polish immigrants. He graduated from Bates College in 1936 and Cornell University Law School in 1939 before serving in the United States Navy during World War II.
After the war he was instrumental in building up the Democratic Party in Maine. Maine had traditionally been a Republican state, notable for being one of the two states that Alf Landon carried against Franklin Roosevelt in 1936.
He served in the Maine House of Representatives before being elected Governor in 1954. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1958, defeating incumbent Republican Fred Payne, and won reelection in 1964, 1970, and 1976, serving until his resignation on May 7, 1980 to become Secretary of State. He served in this capacity from 1980 to 1981 during the Jimmy Carter administration, following the resignation of Cyrus Vance.
He was the Democratic Party's nominee for Vice-President in 1968. Before the 1972 election he was viewed as the frontrunner, a moderate establishment candidate, for the Democratic Presidential nomination. But the grassroots Iowa caucuses made the early runnings more liberal and anti-war than Muskie's perceived positions, and Muskie's perhaps surprising political inexperience - having built up the Democratic Party in his home state, he had never been in a primary battle before, and his performance was criticized - began to show. Muskie lost momentum, and after winning the New Hampshire primary by only a small margin, saw his lead fall to South Dakota Senator George McGovern. Many also blame Muskie's loss on his emotional defense of his wife, Jane Muskie, after a conservative newspaper criticized Mrs. Muskie. Muskie seemingly wept as he spoke outside the newspaper's offices, yet he would later claim that what seemed to be tears were actually melted snowflakes. Had this not been a controversy, many question whether Muskie would have won the nomination and gone on to defeat President Nixon. McGovern would go on to win the nomination before losing the election in a landslide to Richard Nixon.
* Thomas Eagleton would be the original Vice Presidential nominee in 1972. He would withdraw from the race and be replaced by Sargent Shriver.