My Interview With Senator Trent Lott

At the 2008 Republican Convention in Minnesota, I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing former Mississippi Senator and Majority Leader Trent Lott.

Senator Lott was not only very generous with his time with me, but with many members of the media. He gave expansive and substantive answers, and displayed a sense of humor when appropriate that was very enjoyable.

Since his schedule at the convention was packed, most members of the media would take notes when he gave interviews with other people in case they did not get their turn. So before getting my turn, below are some remarks Senator Lott made on various topics with other members of the media in my presence.

“Big issues are never easy. Getting the little things done is easy. Yet it’s the big things that we have to address.”

“My advice to anybody coming to a convention is don’t go to every party. Take time to come to the floor. Just look around. This is an amazing experience.”

“Also, I commend Minnesota on the weather. You did a great job keeping things sunny for us.”

“Being a leader means getting things done, but you have to listen to the people. Take immigration reform. We tried to do it one way, and I got my head handed to me. I listened.”

“Sarah Palin is a very attractive candidate. Am I allowed to say that? I hope so, I don’t want to be misunderstood. She is an attractive political candidate. She could be to America what Margaret Thatcher was to England and Golda Meir was to Israel. Sarah Palin was a great choice.”

The Senator then turned to me. Below is my interview with him.

1) What are the most important issues of 2008?

TL: “Strength of character, leadership, and integrity.”

2) Who are your 3 favorite political heroes?

“George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Ronald Reagan. In fact, let me bend the rules and add a fourth person. Margaret Thatcher is another one.”

3) Mississippi got belted by Hurricane Katrina, but rebounded quicker than Louisiana. What did Mississippi get right that perhaps Louisiana did not?

“Let me start out by defending Louisiana for a second. We had a hurricane. They had floods. I lost my home. There was water up to the roofs. However, Louisiana looked like a city at war.

As for what we did right, Mississippi was very fortunate. The local leaders were capable and honest. Governor Haley and Senator Thad Cochran were part of a seamless team with one attitude, to help the situation. There was no whining. We went to work.

In Louisiana, they were less unified. The leadership was less sensitive to the need to work together. Again, they had a tougher situation with the floods. Without knocking Louisiana in any way, I am just thankful for all the hard working, God fearing people of Mississippi.”

4) How would you like to be remembered 100 years from now? What would you want people to say about Trent Lott the person?

TL: “That he did his best to serve America. That he loved his family and his country.”

5) Now that Eli Manning has his Superbowl ring, can Peyton Manning be forgiven for attending Tennessee instead of Mississippi?

(A member of the Senator’s staff, who shall remain nameless, felt strongly about the subject, although in a joking manner. Normally staffers stay completely silent, but some things are too important to remain quiet about. The staffer emphatically said, “No. Absolutely not.” Senator Lott was more diplomatic.)

TL: “Well, I don’t know. Peyton Manning will always have an asterisk in what is otherwise a very distinguished career. Wherever you go, we take pride in our Mississippi stars. Brett Favre may have moved from the Packers to the Jets, but to us he will always be Kiln, Mississippi. Mississippi is taking over the football world. I think we may see a Manning vs Manning Superbowl this year, and Eli will whip Peyton. They both have had success, but Peyton has that asterisk.”

It was a genuine pleasure t meet and interview Senator Lott. He is a genuinely nice guy. While many people want to fight at all costs, leaders have to get things done. They cannot throw bombs. They have to produce results.

Donna Brazile, the former campaign manager of Al Gore, admitted that she did not think she could ever like Trent Lott. She is a black female liberal, and he is a white male conservative. Yet she got to know him after Hurricane Katrina, and he came through for her ina  way that truly transcends politics. Her family was devastated, and he came through with the ice required, among other emergency supplies. She says about him that, “Trent Lott saved my family.”

Neighbors helping neighbors, whether white or black, red state or blue state, is what separates a politician from a leader.

I wish Trent Lott well always, and thank him for his public service.


12 Responses to “My Interview With Senator Trent Lott”

  1. […] See the original post here:  My Interview With Senator Trent Lott […]

  2. Another impressive interview, Tygrrrr, as usual. Just a litle constructive critque: I know you’re starting out, so you keep your questions mild, but I’d sure like to see some different questions.

    Two things about this Lott interview…

    1) God, I am soooooo sick and tired of this Ronald Reagan thing. He’s just not that important of a historical figure. A hundred years from now he’ll barely be remembered. I know that he’s a relatively recent and popular figure, and that’s it’s politically correct in GOP circles to worship at his alter, but just once I’d like to see a republican honest enough to put Reagan in his rightful place, well below the vastly more significant figures in modern history. Just among Republicans, for instance, Eisenhower left a far greater footprint on modern history than Reagan. William F Buckley was probably the most significant conservative political thinker of the 20th century. And i hate to say it, but among the populist figures, without Rush Limbaugh I don’t think there even would have been a Republican Revolution. This Ronald Reagan worship is just plain inane.

    2: Louisiana suffered far more from the weather effects of Katrina than did it’s neighbor states. The vast majority of damages and deaths were felt by Louisiana. yet somehow Mississippi received a disproportionately large share of federal assistance. Why? Gee, could it be that the GOP firmly controlled the federal gov’t at that time and the governor of Mississippi happened to be Haley Barbour, one-time chair of the RNC and extremely popular and well-connected figure in the party? And could it be that Mississippi is a GOP federal stronghold and Lott’s state, Lott being one of the most powerful GOP senators of the past 20 years?

    What kind of “question” was that?

    Like this recent economic debacle, blaming the Dems for Katrina will never fly.


  3. Micky 2 says:

    Rolling on ther floor laughing my arse off.

    “blaming the Dems for Katrina will never fly.”

    But boy o boy did the left ever try to blame it on the right.

    Whetehr it flys or not the facts are that Nagin and Blanco were asleep at the wheel.
    Maybe if either had a clue they could of recieved more fed assistance.

    And yea, you blame a good portion of todays debacle on the left.
    What ? You gonna blame it on the Bush tax cuts ?

    The facts are in bro and theres more dirt on the hands of the left by far.
    No two ways about it , no doubt about it , hands down no questions about it does a frog pee in the water truth you guys own the majority of this crap from the days of Carter , Clinton, Frank, Dodd, Pelosi,Reid, Schumer. ACORN, CRA….
    All on the take !!!!

  4. Micky 2 says:

    Place an generational bet whithin your family and mine that Reagan will go down in history as a great leader as opposed to Carter which has already begun to stack upo crappy POTUS awards.

    Oh, its also laughable that you are giving Eric journalistic advice.

    You made my day pal, thanks for the chuckle. Next thing you know you’ll be telling how to run a restaurant.
    Wait a minute….
    Yea, you actually did that once before also

  5. While there’s plenty of it to go around, in the popular conscience the blame for the mishandling of Katrina and the mortgage market falls squarely on the GOP. You guys will never be able to talk that away. No “ACORN” or “Ayers,” “Resko” or “Wright,” “Hussein” or “Who-really-is-he” will make it go away. “FAILURE” is tatooed on the Elephant’s behind.


  6. Micky 2 says:

    Prove it.
    I’ve already in the past given accurate acounts pf failure on the left when it comes to Katrina and the Economic collapse.

    The mortgage market ?

    Oh my god you’re on a roll today, arent you ?
    You cant be freaking serious ?

    F&F along with all I mentioned above and the documented attempts of McCain trying to stop this train wreck and you’re still gonna try and put it on the right ?

    Hahahahaha, I know you’re just doing your job, but really ?
    At the risk of looking like what ?

    As you would say “PUHLEEESE”

    Go ahead, make my day, I have all the documentation reflecting how you guys screwed this market up since 29 so bad its not even funny.
    As a matter of fact I showed it all to you a few days ago and you said that sessions on the hill werent valid simply because the info came from a right wing blog.
    Thats the best you could do to bolster your side.
    YOU LOST !!!
    And you still keep banging that drum that its the rights fault.
    Regardless, the session took place and it doesnt matter who provided the transcript.

    What happened?

    “Harry Reid and Senate liberals protect corrupt mortgage giants.
    Chris Dodd takes big money from Fannie and Freddie. Dodd kills reform and secures a sweetheart mortgage for himself.
    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac commit extensive financial fraud. And need to be bailed out with $200 billion in taxpayer money. The economy spirals into chaos ”

    Want me to show you the proof ?
    Ill be your google momma, go ahead, try me.


  7. I said, “While there’s plenty of it to go around, in the popular conscience the blame for the mishandling of Katrina and the mortgage market falls squarely on the GOP.”

    To wit, you said, “Prove it.”

    The proof:

    “A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll suggests that by a 2-to-1 margin, Americans blame Republicans over Democrats for the financial crisis that has swept across the country the past few weeks”

    “Just 28% of Americans give say that the federal government has done a good or an excellent job responding to Hurricane Katrina. Another 25% say the government has done a fair job while 45% say poor.”

    (remember, that was a GOP federal gov’t)

    Americans may not be the most politically astute people in the world, but they ain’t that stupid.


  8. Micky 2 says:

    Jersey, your stories are 3 weeks old when most people didnt know the details.
    (CNN huh ?)

    To wit.
    Go to the actual documents that were presented to congress
    B R O !!!!

    What could cost Obama the election.

    The Facts: In May 2006, McCain was speaking on the Senate floor in support of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Act of 2005, a plan he had co-sponsored. In the speech, he cited a federal report, saying that “Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets.” He also noted a $3.8 million fine Freddie Mac had recently paid to the Federal Elections Commission over problems with disclosure of its political lobbying.

    “These are entities that have demonstrated over and over again that they are deeply in need of reform,” McCain said in the speech. He urged senators to support changing how the institutions were overseen by the government. “If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole,” McCain said in the speech.

    The legislation, which never became law, would have moved oversight of Fannie and Freddie from the department of Housing and Urban Development to an independent Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Agency.”

    McCain spoke forcefully on May 25, 2006, on behalf of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005 (via Beltway Snark):
    Mr. President, this week Fannie Mae’s regulator reported that the company’s quarterly reports of profit growth over the past few years were “illusions deliberately and systematically created” by the company’s senior management, which resulted in a $10.6 billion accounting scandal.
    The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives. In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae’s former chief executive officer, OFHEO’s report shows that over half of Mr. Raines’ compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets. The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac.
    The OFHEO report also states that Fannie Mae used its political power to lobby Congress in an effort to interfere with the regulator’s examination of the company’s accounting problems. This report comes some weeks after Freddie Mac paid a record $3.8 million fine in a settlement with the Federal Election Commission and restated lobbying disclosure reports from 2004 to 2005. These are entities that have demonstrated over and over again that they are deeply in need of reform.
    For years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–known as Government-sponsored entities or GSEs–and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market. OFHEO’s report this week does nothing to ease these concerns. In fact, the report does quite the contrary. OFHEO’s report solidifies my view that the GSEs need to be reformed without delay.
    I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform

    {{{{ Act of 2005, S. 190, }}}}

    to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.
    I urge my colleagues to support swift action on this GSE reform legislation.
    In this speech, McCain managed to predict the entire collapse that has forced the government to eat Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, along with Bear Stearns and AIG. He hammers the falsification of financial records to benefit executives, including Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson, both of whom have worked as advisers to Barack Obama this year. McCain also noted the power of their lobbying efforts to forestall oversight over their business practices. He finishes with the warning that proved all too prescient over the past few days and weeks.
    What was this bill? The act would have done the following:
    (1) in lieu of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), an independent Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Agency which shall have authority over the Federal Home Loan Bank Finance Corporation, the Federal Home Loan Banks, the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac); and (2) the Federal Housing Enterprise Board.
    Sets forth operating, administrative, and regulatory provisions of the Agency, including provisions respecting: (1) assessment authority; (2) authority to limit nonmission-related assets; (3) minimum and critical capital levels; (4) risk-based capital test; (5) capital classifications and undercapitalized enterprises; (6) enforcement actions and penalties; (7) golden parachutes; and (8) reporting.
    It never made it out of committee. Chris Dodd, then the ranking member of the Banking Committee and now its chair, was in the middle of receiving preferential loan treatment from Countrywide Mortgage, one of the companies gaming the system in the credit crisis. Meanwhile, Barack Obama took hundreds of thousands of dollars from the lobbyists McCain mentions in this speech, making him the #2 recipient of Fannie/Freddie money:”

    Even Clinton puts this mess on the left

    PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: “I think the responsibility that the Democrats have may rest more in resisting any efforts by Republicans in the Congress or by me when I was President to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

    In 2 years Fanny And Freddy lost 90% of its worth. Why is Frank going to work today?

    Heres a transcript of the letter McCain issued warning of this

    Yea, theres plenty of blame to go around. But mostly with YOUR GUYS.


    Also, its not the feds job to respond to natural disaters until the state calls them as they are the first responders in natural disasters so your poll is bogus and a BS spin around the facts because Blanco and Nagin were neglegent in communicating to the fed soon enough.

    These are facts dude, that is protocol for any state.
    By the time the fed got there they had to pick up the clusterf*** that Nagin and Blaco had left them

  9. sailorjan says:

    To more easily see how Nagin/Blanco mishandled the whole Katrina fiasco, just google the pics of the 200 busses they could have used to transport their citizens, still parked in their city lot flooded beyond use…

  10. More rightwing blogs, huh? how many people, outside of a few diehard rightwingers, do you think really read that stuff? The fact of the matter the m,atter is that most Americans, rightly, know that the economic crisis was the resuly of Republican de-, non-, and un-regulation. Older Americans remember 1987 and 1991 also. Much older Americans remember 1929. They see the trend. They know that if it was the fault of Carter and Clinton then these crisies would have happened in say 1980 or 2000, or 1945. But they didn’t. They happened always toward the end of extended laizze faire gov’t. People aren’t that stupid, Micky. They’re not falling for it anymore and the polls prove it. The GOP is set for major losses in the House and Senate, and if Obama was a white man, McCain wouldn’t even stand a snowballs chance in Arizona.

    Face it – GOP laizzez faire economics have once again failed, doing themselves in.


  11. Micky 2 says:

    Jersey, thats incredibly weak since I already mentioned that it doesnt matter what the source is.
    What “stuff” ? These are McCains actual words, transcripts and attempted legislation that is documented along with actual quotes coming even from Clinton.
    I dont see any “rightwing” talking points in my post above, do you ?
    Just a statement of the the occurances as they happened.
    Once again, all you have is an outdated opinionated poll based on info from 3 weeks ago.
    Whereas I have shown you what really happened and what is really going on.
    A bunch of opinions including yours does not make a point.

    If Obama was a white man ?

    So if he loses are ya’ll gonna cry racism ?

  12. […] My Interview with Senator Trent Lott * My Interview With Miss Texas * Ideological Bigotry Part XVI–Yom Kippur and […]

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