Senate Leaders Call Clinton
Nov. 14, 1997
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi and Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota placed a joint phone call before leaving for the year late Thursday. ``We've got some good news for you,'' Lott told the recipient, President Clinton.
Did that mean the Senate had completed work on ``all my judges,'' Clinton wondered?
Well, not exactly, Lott told the president. But the Republican leader told Clinton the Senate had confirmed 36 of the 77 nominations he'd sent to Capitol Hill. They did not discuss Bill Lann Lee, Clinton's embattled nominee to head the civil rights division of the Justice Department.
Earlier Thursday, Democrats failed to muster enough votes to move Lee's nomination to ther Senate floor _ and out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it had been languishing.
But the end-of-session banter among Clinton, Lott and Daschle _ in front of a smoky fireplace in Lott's Senate office _ was lighthearted and did not deal with such remaining partisan differences.
``We think we've had a good year,'' Lott told Clinton, referring to a bipartisan agreement to balance the budget within five years and enacting the biggest tax cut since 1981.
``That's great,'' said Clinton. ``I'll be seeing you and hope you get some deserved rest.''
Clinton's voice could be heard, barely, over a speaker-phone.
Lott also thanked Clinton for sending him five pounds of beef barbecue from Arkansas _ the result of a wager the two had over last week's college football game between the University of Mississippi and Arkansas. Ole Miss won, 19 to 9.
Susan Irby, a Lott aide, said Lott had bet five pounds of shrimp.
He was enjoying the barbecue, Irby said, but found it kind of dry because ``there was no coleslaw.''