Oregon Senator Raises Hackles With Lott Praise

Smith calls seeming pro-segregation remarks 'misconstrued'
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2007 7:03 PM CST

(Newser) – Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith is in the doghouse after defending Trent Lott’s infamous 2002 speech waxing nostalgic on Strom Thurmond’s 1948 presidential run. A key Democratic target in 2008, Smith said yesterday that Lott was “misconstrued” as segregationist when suggesting that, had there been a Thurmond administration, “we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years."

Dems and liberal bloggers pointed out Smith originally said he was “deeply dismayed” by Lott’s words, the Hill reports. Oregon Democrats said Smith had changed his mind in the past, but “flip-flopping on segregation is a stretch even for him.” Hours after saying “the wolfpack of the press” brought the Mississippian low, Smith said yesterday, “what Trent Lott said was wrong.”