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Monday, Mar 20, 2006, 3:47 pm

Trent Lott planning comeback, trash talks Bush and Frist

By Brian Zick
via HuffPo
Marty Schladen for Galveston's The Daily News reports:

Published March 19, 2006
GALVESTON — Trent Lott on Saturday said he was contemplating a run for the Senate leadership. If successful, he said, he’d push his colleagues to keep the Bush administration on a shorter leash.
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During his visit, Lott gave a blunt assessment of his successor in the Senate majority leader’s office. He also warned that President Bush’s unpopularity could harm his party in the November congressional elections.

With scandals involving lobbying, bribery and leaks of state secrets all roiling Washington, the scandal that ousted Lott as Senate majority leader in early 2003 now seems almost quaint.

At Sen. Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday party, Lott gave a toast celebrating Thurmond’s 1948 run for president on the Dixiecrat ticket.

Lott says he was complimenting an old man. Critics saw the toast as a celebration of a segregationist political movement.
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A newcomer to the Senate, Frist was widely seen as Bush’s pick to be majority leader. Lott said Frist didn’t have the experience to lead a political body as fractious as the Senate.

“I don’t think he’ll go down in history as one of the greats,” Lott said Saturday.
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Now he says if he’s re-elected in November, and if other circumstances are right, he would make a bid next year to re-enter the Senate leadership. If successful, he would be the first senator in history to do so.

And if he’s successful, Lott said, he’d like to see the Senate pass fewer, bigger pieces of legislation and spend more time overseeing the White House. He said that if better oversight had been exercised — and better legislation had been passed — the government’s response to Katrina would have been better and the Dubai Ports World debacle could have been avoided.

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