WASHINGTON – Comments from potential Democratic presidential candidates to remarks by Senate Republican leader Trent Lott at Sen. Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party. Some viewed Lott's remarks as an endorsement of Thurmond's segregationist stand 50 years ago.
"The question Senator Lott needs to answer is, if he did not mean to endorse segregation, what did he mean? I am also troubled that President Bush has remained silent and has not personally renounced these statements." -- Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota.
"Unfortunately, he represents a wing of the Republican Party that's still mired in the racial politics of the 1950s and 1960s." -- Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.
"Obviously we are better off because we did not elect a segregationist as president in 1948. To his credit, Strom Thurmond has changed over the years. Senator Lott's comments were wrong. It raises a serious question of conscience for the Republican senators." -- North Carolina Sen. John Edwards.
"Statements that fondly reminisce about our nation's segregationist past are unacceptable. Nostalgic reminiscing about a platform that called for depriving people of their civil rights has no place in Congress." -- Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt.
"My guess is that uneasiness that many Republicans are feeling about Lott becoming the majority leader will become more pronounced in the wake of this interview. If they act in the best interest of the country and their party, they will select someone else." -- Al Gore, the Democratic nominee for president in 2000.
"I simply do not believe the country can today afford to have someone who has made these statements again and again be the leader of the United States Senate." -- Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry.
"The policies of the past that Senator Lott's initial statement appeared to embrace -- specifically, racial segregation -- are not just 'discarded,' as his apology put it. They are deeply offensive, morally wrong, and wholly contrary to our nation's most important ideal." -- Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, Gore's running mate in 2000.