Lott Cashes in Chips

Former minority leader quits 5 years before his term ends
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2007 4:48 PM CST
U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., announces his retirement from Congress, during a news conference in Jackson, Miss., Monday, Nov. 26, 2007. Lott, who is capping off a 35-year in the House and Senate, will...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Minority whip Trent Lott retired from the Senate last night, five years before his term’s end. He revealed his departure 16 minutes before the chamber’s 12:05 a.m. closing. The 35-year Congressional career ended with “characteristic flair,” the AP reports—Lott quoting his high school motto from the Senate floor: “The glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time you fail.”

Lott was obligated to resign at least one day before the Senate's holiday recess, but waited until such a late hour so he could vote on end-of-term bills. The former majority and minority leader from Mississippi, said to keep a bullwhip in his office, saw his tenure tarnished in 2002 after nostalgic remarks about Strom Thurmond’s segregationist presidential run.