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Lott to resign by end of year

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071126/ap_on_go_co/lott_senate Lott to resign by end of year By JACK ELLIOTT JR., Associated Press Writer 11 minutes ago JACKSON,
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 26, 2007
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      http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071126/ap_on_go_co/lott_senate

      Lott to resign by end of year

      By JACK ELLIOTT JR., Associated Press Writer 11
      minutes ago

      JACKSON, Miss. - Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, the
      Senate's No. 2 Republican, plans to resign his seat
      before the end of the year, congressional and White
      House officials said Monday.

      Lott, 66, scheduled two news conferences in Pascagoula
      and Jackson later in the day to reveal his plans.
      According to congressional and White House officials,
      who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the
      announcement, Lott intends to resign effective the end
      of the year.

      No reason for Lott's resignation was given, but
      according to a congressional official, there is
      nothing amiss with Lott's health. The senator has
      "other opportunities" he plans to pursue, the official
      said, without elaborating. The senator is serving his
      fourth Senate term.

      Lott's colleagues elected him as the Senate's
      Republican whip last year, a redemption for the
      Mississippian after his ouster five years ago as the
      party's Senate leader over remarks he made at retiring
      Sen. Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party in 2002.
      Lott had saluted the South Carolina senator with
      comments later interpreted as support for southern
      segregationist policies.

      After the 2006 elections, when Democrats recaptured
      the Senate, Lott was put in charge of lining up and
      counting Republican votes as whip, the No. 2 job
      behind minority leader Mitch McConnell.

      Lott becomes the sixth Senate Republican this year to
      announce retirement.

      Lott had apologized after the 2002 remarks, but his
      Senate colleagues undermined him and White House
      officials demanded his ouster. Lott later wrote in a
      book that President Bush hurt his feelings by
      disavowing the comments in a tone that was
      "devastating ... booming and nasty."

      Another event during Lott's exile changed his
      relationship with the White House: Hurricane Katrina.
      The massive storm devastated Lott's home state, not to
      mention his oceanside home in Pascagoula. He found his
      refrigerator a few blocks away in a neighbor's yard.
      For him, the administration's bungled response was
      personal. He considered retiring.

      His 2006 comeback was an apt outlet for the
      Mississippian's talents. He was the rare majority
      leader who seemed to relish the vote-wrangling duties
      that some of his predecessors loathed. Lott
      appropriated former majority leader Howard Baker's
      derisive description of the job for the title of his
      tell-all memoir last year: "Herding Cats: A Life in
      Politics."

      The smooth-spoken Lott found himself in hot water in
      December 2002 after going too far in his praise of GOP
      Sen. Strom Thurmond at the South Carolinian's 100th
      birthday party. Lott said Mississipppi voters were
      proud to have supported Thurmond when he ran for
      president on a segregationist platform in 1948, and
      added: "If the rest of the country had followed our
      lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all
      these years either."

      A few days later, Lott issued a statement saying he
      had made "a poor choice of words" that "conveyed to
      some the impression that I embraced the discarded
      policies of the past. Nothing could be further from
      the truth, and I apologize to anyone who was offended
      by my statement."

      But the damage was done. Bush distanced himself from
      Lott's remarks, telling an audience the comments "do
      not reflect the spirit of our country."
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