Washington Faced with an uproar over his remark that the nation would have been better off if Strom Thurmond had won the presidency when he ran on a segregationist ticket in 1948, Senate Republican leader Trent Lott apologized Monday night, saying he misspoke.
"A poor choice of words conveyed to some the impression that I embrace the ... policies of the past," Lott, R-Miss., said in a statement. "Nothing could be further from the truth, and I apologize to anyone who was offended by my statement."
Lott made his comments last Thursday at a party celebrating the 100th birthday of Thurmond, who is retiring as South Carolina's senator after a record 48 years of service.
"This was a lighthearted celebration of the 100th birthday of legendary Senator Strom Thurmond," Lott said then. "My comments were not an endorsement of his positions of over 50 years ago, but of the man and his life."
Thurmond, then governor of South Carolina in 1948, ran for president as a states' rights and anti-integration Dixiecrat.