How Two Veteran Senators Were Portrayed at Their Death

Historical Perspective

Two late senators with controversial histories on the issue of race were given different treatment in news stories following their deaths.

The New York Times headline on Monday read, "R obert Byrd -- Respected Voice of the Senate-- Dies at 92."

Back in 2003, The Times' obituary for another senator read -- "Strom Thurmond -- Foe of Integration -- Dies at 100."

The Associated Press lead today did not mention Byrd's past membership in the Ku Klux Klan, or his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The West Virginia Democrat later renounced his actions in both cases.

The AP lead for Thurmond in 2003 referred to the South Carolina Republican as a "one-time Democratic segregationist." Thurmond later moderated his position on race.

Mr. Popular

Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown is the most popular officeholder in Massachusetts, according to a Boston Globe poll.

Brown, who is being wooed by majority Democrats to help pass the financial overhaul bill, even outpolls Democratic heavyweights. Fifty-five percent say they view Brown favorably, compared to 54 percent for president Obama and 52 percent for Massachusetts Democratic Senator John Kerry.

Smart Guy

The manager of Kopp's Frozen Custard outside Milwaukee says he was shocked when Vice President Biden called him a "smartass" during his visit Friday. Here's the exchange --


VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: What do we owe you?

KOPPS MANAGER: Don't worry, it's on us. Lower our taxes and we'll call it even.

BIDEN: Why don't you say something nice instead of being a smartass all the time? Say something nice.


The vice president apparently later told the manager he was just kidding. Another no-no in Wisconsin -- the VP called the treat "ice cream" instead of custard.