Trent Lott, minority whip?

Looking to bounce back from the controversy that ended his time as Senate majority leader, Lott makes a play for power.

Published November 14, 2006 1:54PM (EST)

The Hill reports today that Trent Lott, R-Miss., has formally declared his intention to run for Senate minority whip in the new Congress. He'll be opposed by Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander.

At Talking Points Memo, new blogger David Kurtz points out that the Hill's story has some interesting wording in it: The paper's recollection of the controversy that led to Lott's resignation as majority leader -- "Lott was forced to step down as Senate majority leader in 2002 after comments he made at former Sen. Strom Thurmond's (R-S.C.) birthday party touched off a racially charged controversy" -- "makes it sound like a bunch of folks were just whipping up trouble instead of Lott planting his foot squarely in the doo-doo. Wasn't it the comments that were 'racially charged,' as opposed to the controversy?"

For those readers who don't remember what it was Lott said, here's the offending passage:

"I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."

Thurmond ran for president in 1948 as a "Dixiecrat," on a platform that called for continued segregation.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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