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Trent Lott: Man of the People, Fledgling Lobbyist


Republican Lott (left) and Democrat Breaux have opened a lobby shop(Lott - Freddie Lee - Getty Iamges; Breaux - Brad Puckett - AP)

Former Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) is struggling a bit to adjust to life as a lobbyist.

"I took the Metro for the first time," Lott told the Sleuth Thursday afternoon in the makeup room of MSNBC, where he and his new lobbying partner, former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), were fixin (as Lott says) to do a TV segment.

"He's been standing in front of his house waiting for his car and driver," laughed Breaux from the makeup chair, adding with a tinge of a low-country twang, "He's learning how to hail a cab." (Read: HAY-ul a cab.)

Life in the private sector isn't as cushy as Lott thought it would be. No more free lunches, no more taxpayer-funded car and driver, no more overprotective press secretary guarding him from the pesky media.

Lott says he doesn't drive. He doesn't own a car. Usually, he walks. One day, he says, he walked the 30 or so blocks from his downtown office on 14th Street Northwest to his home in Southeast Washington on Capitol Hill.

Lott took his first Metro ride ever last weekend, when thousands of tourists were in town enjoying the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Could there be a more perfect time for a prima donna first-time rider?

"I stood up the whole time," Lott said, smiling, as if he enjoyed it.

Lott really had no idea how to even go about taking public transportation. He didn't know how to use the Metro fare card machines, or how much money to put on his trip ticket, or how to add money to one of the fare cards his wife gave him. Truly: clueless.

So Patricia Lott did what any good spouse would do. "I took my wife with me and she helped me out," Lott said.

The fare card his wife gave him was demagnetized, Lott said, so he got a "special note" from the station manager so he and his wife could proceed to Metro Center, where she showed him how to go to the counter and turn in his demagnetized and used fare cards for a new one. (Special notes, it should be noted, are not just for important former members of Congress; that's the way it works for everyone who has a demagnetized card in the in D.C. transit system.)

"I'm a man of the people now," said Lott, who retired in December of last year, less than a year into serving a new six-year term.

Besides taking public transportation, the one-time Senate majority leader is learning how to pull out his wallet, which should certainly be a lot fatter these days after bolting from public service to rake in cash in the private sector.

"I haven't paid for lunch in 30 years," he joked. Breaux chimed in with an eye roll, saying, "Yeah, he's learning how to pay for lunch."

Lott is learning the ropes of lobbying from Breaux, a close friend who retired in 2005 after spending 32 years in Congress. The partnership so far, from what we gleaned in the makeup room at MSNBC, has the makings of a made-for-reality-TV show.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  April 10, 2008; 3:25 PM ET
 
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Comments

Hopefully the next POTUS will shut down the scam they call "Lobbyist".

No surprise that Lott would join this unsavery crew.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Clueless. Always has been, always will be. I wonder how all the folks on the Metro would like it if he wore his confederate flag proudly.

Posted by: thebob.bob | April 10, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Who cares?

Posted by: tydicea | April 10, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: votenic | April 10, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Eyes that look like heaven, lips like sherry wine
That Senator can sure enough make my little light shine
I get a funny feelin' up and down my spine
'Cause I know that Minneapolis is mine

Giddy Up Oom Poppa Omm Poppa Mow Mow
Giddy Up Oom Poppa Omm Poppa Mow Mow
Heigh-ho Silver, away

Tonight I'm gonna meet her at the Republican National Convention
And I'm gonna give her all the love I can, yes I am
She's gonna toetap and holler
'Cause I saved up my last two pork dollars
We're gonna search and find that preacher man

Giddy Up Oom Poppa Omm Poppa Mow Mow

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqbGfWngzCk

Posted by: Singing Senator | April 10, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

No wonder Congress is so out of touch -- do our Congressmen and Senators really not know how to pay for lunch, hail a cab, take public transportation? They really do live in another world than the rest of the country.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Halcyon days! Reminds me of the following memo from tobacco giant Philip Morris. Gosh, Lott sure did like that cigarette cash! Here's the memo:

http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/viz37c00

Here's some excerpts:

Philip Morris Companies Inc.
Inter-office Correspondence

To: Steve Parrish
Date: November 11, 1998
From: John Scruggs
Re: Trent Lott Leadership Institute

I highly recommend we participate in the Trent Lott Leadership Institute.

Participation will allow us to establish a closer personal relationship with Majority Leader Lott.

Senator Lott has offered a senior position on his staff to Gene Ainsworth, formerly of RJR Tobacco.

Posted by: Jon | April 10, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone determined the cause of death for the little critter Lott is using as a toupee?

I mean was it roadkill? Did it dies as a result of voter caging? Or did Lott strangle it fair and square?

Posted by: Dan the Hunter Man | April 10, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

He was in Congress for 32 years, and he never ever once took the subway?

What more proof of being unfit for office do you need?

Posted by: NH Dem | April 10, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Oh look, it worked out! And you ask, where is the love? Here it is:

http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/cgd41c00

From: Marilynn Donini
Sent: Friday, November 16, 2001
To: John Hoel
Subject: University of Mississippi

John: we are delivering a final payment of $100,000 out of a four year $400,000 aware to the University of Mississippi for the Trend Lott Leadership Institute. Tom Collamore has signed the check letter and we are not ready to send it. I though that you might want to deliver the check if your travel schedule permitted.


* * *

Now, isn't that nice? Trent gets tobacco cash for his "Institute", tobacco giant Philip Morris gets influence for killing tobacco law it doesn't like, and the money doesn't go directly to Trent, so it's a little harder to trace, but a personal delivery of the check from Philip Morris helps the insiders remember who got that lovely cigarette cash.

By the way, to get that cash, 10 people had to die.

How's that? Well, Philip Morris can only get that $400,000 from one place: cigarettes.

Here's how it works: the product kills about 500,000 Americans every year, from sales of about 20 billion packs. That means for every 40,000 packs, someone dies. It doesn't mean that the sales of 40,000 packs in one year results in that one death the same year -- but over time, it's accurate to say that for every 40,00 packs sold, someone dies. That's the result of a product that, used exactly as designed, kills in a completely predictable way.

Now: Philip Morris makes a dollar a pack profit, according to a recent Morgan Stanley report. So to get $400,000, Philip Morris has to sell 400,000 cigarettes.

Do the math: 400,000 divided by 40,000 is 10. To get the $400,000 Philip Morris gave the "Institute", Philip Morris had to sell enough cigarettes to kill 10 people. There is no other place the money came from.

So this little influence-buying junket that Philip Morris funneled through the University of Mississippi to help out the "leadership" that Trent Lott so approved of, is directly connected with the premature death of 10 people. It's money that came from the sales that added up to 10 people dying.

Gosh, Trent sure has got a lot of legislative experience that will help him as a lobbyist! I guess one service he can offer his clients now: no money is too dirty, no subterfuge is too slimy, no paying job is a problem! he sure won't say not just because your proposition is directly connected to people dying!

Posted by: Jon | April 10, 2008 7:50 PM | Report abuse

I found it so interesting, how Trenty-poo slithered out of office so quietly to start his new life as lobbyist/leech for hire. I mean not one word of nasty hate mongering sloganeering, just as pretty as you please. When he left we thought he might have been avoiding prosecution, but it could of very well been just to make a few more bucks.

I heard something very interesting on the grapevine a few months ago - that there may be a subpeona in Lott's future. Wouldn't that be wonderful? You know darn well there will be at least one payola rap - my, what could the others be?

Posted by: Xtina | April 10, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

breaux, wasn't he the democrat shill for the republicans during the jewish mother raid hearings in the senate finance committee in april of 98.hmmm... lottbreaux.

Posted by: jeff | April 10, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

He should have been a "man of the people" when he represented the people. Doofus.

Posted by: Ed | April 10, 2008 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Gee Trent, let the rest of us in on the joke (chuckle, chuckle). So who was been buying you lunch for those 30 years?

Posted by: Paul Chouinard | April 11, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Term Limits. Please.

Posted by: StacyH | April 11, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to say "astounding", but that would give far more credence to an idiot than he deserves. I strongly suspect that several of the overall-wearing "ordinary farmers" I grew up with in Kansas (the ones with a shoestring for their watch), would do a far better job in Congress than the overpaid egomaniacs we've put there (yes, WE).

A man of the people - give me the barf-bag please.

TC
(and I'm a practicing Repub, too)

Posted by: TC in Denver | April 11, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Well, if this doesn't sum up exactly what's wrong with our so-called "representative" form of government, I don't know what does!

Posted by: Frank F | April 11, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

I was shocked to learn about Lotts past and yet he was the senate majority leader, until Dec 2007!!

Mississippi Senator Trent Lott's recent remarks in support of segregation only make obvious what has long been obvious: racism remains rampant in the body politic. Though he claims to be contrite, his 2002 comments are identical to those he used in 1980 at a Ronald Reagan rally, and are fully consistent with views he expressed as a columnist for the Council of Conservative Citizens, a political successor to the White Citizen's Council, and close cousin of the Ku Klux Klan. With Democrat Lyndon Johnson's endorsement of John Kennedy's civil rights legislation in 1963, the stage was set for a Republican Party takeover of the Old South based on the GOP's support for a racial perspective that Lott made clear. The only thing surprising about his comments was the surprise they generated within the all-white GOP whose members have long supported policies that generate the racist results chronicled below.
http://www.gnn.tv/articles/675/Trent_Lott_and_Racism_in_the_U_S_Time_to_Face_the_Uncomfortable_Facts

Posted by: Anonymous | April 11, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

If this is par for the course in Washington, it's long past time to set term limits.

Anyone who "doesn't drive" and hasn't learned to use public transport -- and who's spent decades as the lunch guest of lobbyists -- is far too out of touch with the real America to be in Congress.

Were Lott even remotely in touch with life as most of us know it, he'd be ashamed to admit these things, not expecting indulgent laughter. He's been indulged far too much already.

Posted by: (The Other) Katherine Harris | April 12, 2008 12:25 AM | Report abuse

I lived in Mississippi (although not my state of origin) when Trent Lott first ran for the Senate. Back then, it appeared he could make a real difference. Sadly, after so many years, I realize my mistake in judgement.

When the President commented after Hurricane Katrina about T. Lott's house being destroyed...I remember thinking "There's a real disconnect here...what about all the thousands that were yet unaccounted for?" Truthfully, I was surprised that Mr. Lott didn't do a thing to deflect the attention off him and onto the vast number of victims. Personally, I found this reprehensible.

For years our entire household were staunch Republicians. These last eight years have radically changed our view.

Posted by: Lady4Peace | April 12, 2008 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Trent Lott---just one more republican pig! WGAF what kind of life this scumsucker has?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 12, 2008 2:32 AM | Report abuse

wow. -
DC really is Hollywood.
(or is it Mount Olympus?).

Posted by: poppaculture | April 12, 2008 2:53 AM | Report abuse

Why hasn't the media reported on Lotts
personal assistant who has the il es comme sa proclivities that put a premium on
more than platonic relationships pour hommes ?

Posted by: K. Craig Iles | April 12, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Trent Lott, like a lot of Republicans, never deserved the label "conservative."

*spit*

Posted by: Citizen Grim | April 12, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

"I wonder how all the folks on the Metro would like it if he wore his confederate flag proudly."

He and I could trade stories.
If I ever planned on leaving the Senate.
But I'm stayin for life - why give up all this swag?

Posted by: Robert | April 12, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Trent, a college cheerleader and president of his fraternity, also helped kill the Force Protection MRAP Cougar and pushed to the front a Navistar version--got the Army to buy them by the thousand. They tip over in battle, alas, and bombs break the feet of the soldiers inside. The proud position of a pork provider to MS no matter the lives of soldiers.

Posted by: INTHUNDER | April 12, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

> We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

He was out of touch then and now. How is this new? How is this different from the other 99 he left behind?

Posted by: Brent | April 13, 2008 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Besides lunches, what ELSE has he not had to pay for for the past several decades?

Doesn't it say something (scummy) that someone who had no idea how to ride the Metro was responsible for interfering with the ability of the District's residents (or of its government) to govern themselves?

And it's remarkable what a friend of the insurance companies he was -- until they declined to pay off the damage to HIS house. But, while thousands of Katrina victims are still waiting to get back into THEIR homes, I'm hoping that Trent Lott is enjoying his own, the one with a porch that W was looking forward to his sitting on.

(A reminder: As Senate Majority Leader, Trent Lott attacked Bill Clinton loudly for repeatedly trying to kill Osama bin Laden. Claimed it was just an attempt to distract the public from Monica Lewinsky. A very strange sense of "loyalty" and "patriotism" this person kept showing.)

Posted by: EdA | April 13, 2008 1:59 AM | Report abuse


remember the the senate finance committee hearings about the irs raid on the jewish mother restaurant in april of 98. when breaux was playing shill for republicans?

lottbreaux

http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1998/04/29/irs.hearings/index.html

Posted by: jeff | April 13, 2008 7:29 AM | Report abuse

The beauty of the British Transport System is that even Members of Parliament take it. It is highly regrettable that these people who have spent decades in Congress perfecting the sufferings of ordinary American citizens through meaningless legislations and pork barrel pet peeves, are all of a sudden realizing what it means to be "ordinary". Shame on you Sen. Lott, and welcome to the real world.

Posted by: Jack | April 14, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

It should be illegal for these people to become lobbiest, and be part of the scams from outside.
Come to think of it, it should be illegal for these people to become Senators and be part of scums inside.

Posted by: savas | April 14, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

---and a no-good SOB. He perfectly demonstrates what is wrong with career politicians. He's been screwing people from his first day in office and even managed to screw them as he went out the door, running for election and then quitting after serving only one year. That's how much he cares for his people.

Just one look at this critter reveals that he's always been a cheer leader (just like his idol IdiotBush) and has spent an entire lifetime sucking up to the right people. It's ironic that this biggest of all suckers thinks the rest of the people are suckers.

It doesn't say much for the people who elected him so many times.

Posted by: Lott is a scum-sucker | April 16, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

did anyone of the bloggers ask : where the laws were extending the time it takes for elected officials to become lobbyists ? it seems mr. lott made this turnaround in record time ; two years should be insisted upon !

it may take longer than the up-coming presidential election to find a person to truly lead this great country, to expose the fraud, deception, earmarks, lobby-based legislation, that taint our government. who will it be ?

Posted by: alan reubel | April 17, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

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