Lott Critics Silent on Byrd's Racial Comments

July 7, 2008 - 7:29 PM

(Editor's Note: The following compilation was assembled by the author and contains language some readers may find objectionable.)

(CNSNews.com) - On December 6, 2002, Sen. Trent Lott noted at a 100th birthday tribute to Strom Thurmond that Mississippi's electoral votes in the 1948 presidential election went to Thurmond as the presidential candidate of the segregationist Dixiecrat Party and said "if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."

Lott later issued a statement that read, in part, "A poor choice of words 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."

Within five days of Lott's remarks, NAACP President Kweisi Mfume, Rainbow/PUSH founder Jesse Jackson, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), Family Research Council President Ken Conner and others were quoted in a Washington Post article, variously criticizing Lott. Some were demanding his resignation.

The response to Lott in 2002 differs considerably from the media efforts launched by some of these same figures in early 2001, when another senator made questionable racial comments.

On March 4, 2001, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV.) said in an interview on Fox News Sunday with Tony Snow, "There are white niggers. I've seen a lot of white niggers in my time; I'm going to use that word.

Byrd's office later issued a statement that read, in part, "I apologize for the characterization I used on this program. The phrase dates back to my boyhood and has no place in today's society. As for my language, I had no intention of casting aspersions on anyone of another race."

A search of Internet websites operated by the various critics of Lott indicated their priorities, based on published statements and news releases, were not focused on Byrd's comments, and included the following:

* On March 6, 2001, the NAACP issued a news release announcing its 'Follow Your Dreams' essay contest.

*On March 8, 2001, the NAACP issued a news release about a meeting that day between NAACP President Kweisi Mfume and House Majority Leader Richard Armey about pending legislation in the House.

*On March 20, 2001 (first since March 4, 2001), Jesse Jackson issued a statement on the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.

*On March 8, 2001, the Family Research Council issued a position paper on medical marijuana use; and a news release on plans for legal action regarding federal funding on embryonic stem cell research.

*On March 9, the FRC issued its 'Legal Facts' newsletter.

*On March 7, 2001, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) issued a news release denouncing drug companies for not wanting to discount their HIV/AIDS medicines in Africa.

*On March 8, 2001, Rep. Waters issued a news release announcing her vote the previous day against President Bush's "risky" tax relief proposal.

*On March 9, 2001, Rep. Waters issued a news release attacking the drug company Merck for not discounting their HIV/AIDS drug prices enough in Africa.

*On March 7, 2001, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) issued a news release on GOP efforts to derail "critical ergonomic guidelines."

*On March 8, 2001, Rep. Pelosi issued a news release announcing her opposition to President Bush's tax relief plan.

*On March 8, 2001, Rep. Pelosi issued a statement praising San Francisco labor organizer Larry Mazzola.

*On March 8, 2001, Rep. Pelosi issued a news release about her advocacy of higher HIV/AIDS funding.

*On March 5, 2001, Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) issued a news release announcing his support for the Homestake Mine as the site of a proposed physics laboratory.

*On March 6, 2001, Sen. Daschle issued a news release calling for a moratorium on importing livestock.

*On March 7, 2001, Sen. Daschle announced a letter to President Bush regarding differences with the president's proposed budget.

*On March 9, 2001, Sen. Daschle issued three news releases announcing a visit to his home state; concerns over ethanol policy; and funding for drinking water projects.

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