Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon praised Trent Lott's character in a speech before the whip election:
Inside the Republican senators' November 15 closed-door meeting to pick their leaders for the next Congress, minority whip candidate Lamar Alexander had reason to feel good. His nominators had given enthusiastic pitches, and he had been campaigning hard for the job for nearly a year. Meanwhile, his opponent, Trent Lott, had entered the race just a week earlier--and was perceived to be damaged goods, having been spectacularly deposed from the leadership in December 2002 after he made a racially charged quip at his buddy Strom Thurmond's one-hundredth birthday party. But then, Oregon Senator Gordon Smith rose to give a nominating speech for Lott. Smith's address was deeply emotional: He described Lott's honorable character and talked about the possibility of redemption. He even quoted from Mark Antony's funeral oration in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. The room fell silent; Lott wept. When the doors opened, Lott had been elected minority whip by a single vote.
This statement tells you all you need to know about Trent Lott's character:
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.
Shouldn't Smith's next opponent be running ads about how he backed Lott?