Al GoreAlbert (Al) Arnold GoreAl Gore warns of 'ominous' record-breaking heat Colbert to Kennedy on retirement: Don't tell me your mind's going because 'you never had one!' Budowsky: Obama remains AWOL for Dems MORE came prepped with a sweet surprise for a former colleague at the D.C. premiere of his documentary "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power."

The  former vice president briefly broke away from the green carpet at the Washington screening to present former Sen. Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee Robert Mueller's forgotten surveillance crime spree Clinton: White House slow-walking Russia sanctions MORE (D-Md.) with a birthday cake on Wednesday night. The nation's longest-serving female lawmaker turned 81 on Thursday.

"He knew that my birthday is tomorrow, and he knew that I like to count the twinkles instead of the wrinkles," Mikulski exclaimed to ITK at the movie's premiere at the Newseum. "And he very gallantly gave me a birthday cake."

The white frosted cake came decorated with raspberries and gold foil pieces, with "Happy Birthday Barb" scrolled onto it.

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"I've known Vice President Gore since we served in the House of Representatives together. We were on the [House Energy and Commerce Committee] together. So we've known each other for more than 30 years," Mikulski said of her history with the environmental advocate.

Asked whether Gore had shared a personal birthday message, Mikulski replied, "We both say: Be defiant and never compliant."

Mikulski, who retired last year, then offered her support of Gore's sequel to his 2006 Oscar-winning climate change documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth."

"What we really talked about was this movie and the whole idea of helping young people who've been out protesting, to focus really on how do we go from outcry to outcome?"

"Show your passion," Mikulski advised. "Show what you don't like. But for every opposition, let's now have a proposition that makes the world a better place and a safer place."

A bevy of Democratic lawmakers turned out for the VIP event ahead of the movie's nationwide Aug. 4 premiere, including Sens. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenErnst: Intelligence agencies should question Trump’s interpreter, not Congress Overnight Defense: More Trump drama over Russia | Appeals court rules against Trump on transgender ban | Boeing wins Air Force One contract | Military parade to reportedly cost M Top Dem lawmaker pushing committee for closed-door debrief with Trump’s interpreter MORE (N.H.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSenate panel advances Trump IRS nominee Senate Dems protest vote on controversial court pick Who is Andrew Wheeler, EPA's new acting chief? MORE (R.I.), Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonHistory argues for Democratic Senate gains Polling analyst: Same Dems who voted for Gorsuch will vote for Kavanaugh Election security bill picks up new support in Senate MORE (Fla.) and Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySunk judicial pick spills over into Supreme Court fight Controversial Trump judicial nominee withdraws Anti-Trump protesters hold candlelight vigil by White House MORE (Ore.); House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.); and Reps. Steny Hoyer (Md.), Suzanne BonamiciSuzanne Marie BonamiciLawmakers, media serve up laughs at annual 'Will on the Hill' Congress — when considering women’s health, don’t forget about lung cancer Overnight Energy: Two top Pruitt aides resign at EPA | 17 states sue EPA over car emissions rules | Volkswagen to pay West Virginia .5M over emissions cheating MORE (Ore.), Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.), Jim McGovern (Mass.), Debbie Dingell (Mich.), Tom O'Halleran (Ariz.), Tom Suozzi (N.Y.), Danny K. Davis (Ill.) and Alan Lowenthal (Calif.).

ITK asked Mikulski her attitude about birthdays and turning another year older.

"Well, I like them," she said with a grin. "It's better to have them than not to have them."