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Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Lott, Alexander tight-lipped after GOP leadership elections
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Both Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi and Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee were tight-lipped after the Senate GOP caucus handed Lott the No. 2 spot over Alexander by one vote.

Lott declined to answer questions about his triumphant return to the leadership nearly four years after he got tossed for praising the 1948 segregation-based presidential bid of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-South Carolina.

"I'm gonna shock you" by not answering those questions he told a crowded news conference.

But just behind Lott, out of site of the cameras, Alexander quietly told reporters the difference in the race may have been the desire of his Republican colleagues to see Lott return full cycle from the Thurmond scandal.

"I think senators, like most Americans, like a comeback," Alexander said. "He deserves great credit for that."

As he left the news conference, Lott was asked by NPR reporter David Welna if he had any "further reflections" on Thurmond's presidential race, Lott chuckled nervously and said, "Oh, no. None at all. Strictly looking forward."

-- CNN Congressional Producer Ted Barrett
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