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James Carville letter to Sen. Trent Lott

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December 18, 2002

The Honorable Trent Lott

Republican Leader

487 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Mr. Republican Leader:

You have, on numerous occasions, asked the American people to forgive you for the statements you made at Senator Thurmond's birthday celebration. As a result of the ensuing controversy surrounding these remarks, you have acknowledged that your past actions, at times, displayed insensitivities with regard to African Americans and race relations in this country.

You have asked for forgiveness. This letter is to inform you that, on the heels of the statement offered by my dear friend Congressman John Lewis, a man I admire and respect as much as any living American, I do forgive you. As a result of that forgiveness, I will never criticize or attack any of your past actions or remarks concerning matters of race relations or civil rights.

Senator, you and I grew up around the same time, in neighboring states. From that common background, we chose different political parties and philosophies. However, we are both old enough and wise enough to recognize that neither Mississippi nor Louisiana has made anywhere near the progress one would hope for on race relations.

If, as you have claimed, your recent troubles have truly spurred you to seek redemption and find ways to improve race relations in this country, I applaud you.

As I told Congressman Lewis this morning, the church of tolerance is far too small to reject converts. We welcome you and hope you will prove an energetic member of our congregation, reaching out to all people.

Remember, Senator, we all make errors. Committing errors is not a tragedy, but failing to learn from them is a grave one.

You say you've learned. I believe you. That settles it.

Sincerely, James Carville

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