- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 15, 2006

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott, ousted from the top Senate Republican leadership job four years ago because of remarks considered racially insensitive, won election to the chamber’s No. 2 GOP post Wednesday.

Asked whether he felt vindicated by the 25-24 secret ballot vote, Lott deferred to newly-elected party leader Mitch McConnell.

“The spotlight belongs on him,” Lott said of his Kentucky colleague.

McConnell, who was uncontested and will succeed Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee, predicted that he and the rest of the newly-elected GOP team will provide a muscular opposition to the new Democratic majority.

“We will be a robust minority, a vigorous minority, and, hopefully, a minority that is only in that condition for a couple of years,” McConnell said.

Lott’s comeback-kid victory was generating the most buzz in the Capitol hallways. Pressured to step down from the Senate’s top spot over four years ago, Lott returned to the center of power by nosing out Sen. Lamar Alexander, who had made an 18-month bid for the post.

“I’m honored to be a part of this leadership team, to support Mitch McConnell and all of my colleagues and to do a job that I’ve really loved the most: count the votes,” Lott said. “I’ll do my very best in that effort.”


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