"If Congress spent more time following her example and less time in attacks on women's health, it would have a lot more respect and our nation would be a lot better off," Bloomberg said.
Noticing Nydia Velazquez in the crowd, the mayor interrupted his speech to recognize her.
"Did I miss your birthday the other day?" the mayor asked.
"That's right," said Velazquez.
"Happy birthday," said the mayor. "If I had known it earlier, then I would have sent an expensive returnable gift."
Nydia said he could make up for it with two next year.
Women's health issues have played a more dominant role than usual in the national political conversation recently, particularly in the form of a debate over Republican-led efforts to define limits on contraception coverage, culminating in Limbaugh calling Fluke a "slut."
Sam Bennett, the president of the Women's Campaign Fund who once ran for Congress herself, said in her opening remarks: "Peel back the facades of religious freedom, and budget cuts, and concern for women's health, and what do you find? A blatant determination to roll back women's rights at any cost. The root cause? A lack of women electeds from both sides of the aisle, at all levels of of government, to push back on the frat-house lunacy of a male-dominated American political system."
Representative Yvette Clarke of Brooklyn, in a sky-blue pantsuit, cheered loudly.
Bennett wore her blond hair in a crisp, Anna Wintour cut above a bright yellow blazer. She moderated the reception from a podium next to a giant, black-and-white pixelated photo of Marilyn Monroe hamming for the camera. Upon closer inspection, the pixels were actually tiny headshots of John F. Kennedy Jr.
Though Snowe was the guest of honor at the event, Fluke seemed to be the star.
Bennett went on to introduce what she described as the fund's signature performance piece, "Voices from the Ladder," during which Fluke spoke.
And then, following an auction for a handbag painted by pop artist Peter Max (which sold for a disappointing $1,200), Fluke was given something called a "Name It. Change It. Champion" award. And then she spoke again, about the prevalence of misogynistic language, and about Limbaugh, and about how women would not be silenced.
"Our sons must grow up seeing women walking the halls of Congress," she said, displaying the same ease in front of an audience as she did during the extended round of interviews she granted in reaction to Limbaugh's attack on her. "Because then they will know that if you want to call a woman a name, you have three options: congresswoman, senator, or Ms. President."
When she finished, and after the cheers had begun to die down, Bennett asked, "So, what do you say guys, maybe the youngest-ever elected U.S. senator in American history?"
Fluke waved away the ensuing applause, smiling.