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With Lott Gone, Larry Craig Is Last Singing Senator

It was awkward enough that President Bush was yukking it up with Trent Lott in the final hours of the Mississippi Republican's Senate career. Bush, after all, kicked Lott to the curb, supporting his removal from leadership after the senator's infamously ill-fated remarks hailing Strom Thurmond's 1948 segregationist presidential campaign.

But this week, it was all fun and games as Lott resigned. Lott says Bush even joked that he may want to team up with the Mississippian in the lobbying sector in less than 13 months when he's out of a job. To which Lott, sharp tongued as ever, suggested a name for their imaginary lobbying firm: ""What does 'Breaux and A Lotta Bush' sound like?" (The joke is a reference to the potential lobbying marriage between Lott and longtime friend John Breaux.)

(Lott recounted the conversation to our colleague Paul Kane, who himself was too stunned to ask what the president's reaction was.)

Lott also got a lot of ribbing and roasting from his Senate GOP colleagues during a tribute on the floor - including from former fellow Singing Senator Larry Craig - who is now officially the last member of the now-defunct but forever famous Singing Senators.

Singing Senators
The Singing Senators, as seen on the web site of "celebrity vocal coach" Renee Grant-Williams. In back from left to right: John Ashcroft, Trent Lott, James Jeffords, Larry Craig. (myvoicecoach.com)

But Craig put joking aside and had a misty tone to his serenade as he recounted how he and Lott, together with then-GOP Sens. John Ashcroft (Mo.) and Jim Jeffords (Vt.), found their second calling.

"All four of us developed a very unique relationship that no other Senators shared," Craig said. "We found out that we could sing together and that in doing so, we could not only have fun ourselves, but that other people, sometimes with a smile, would suggest they enjoyed listening to us."

They were simpler, happier times.

"The smile, the joy, the fun we had of singing the kind of songs we sang in a way that Senators are just not supposed to do," Craig said wistfully. "For in the end, Senators are like an awful lot of other folks out there--we are human."

Craig is one human who, surreally, remains on Capitol Hill despite announcing his intention last summer to resign over his airport men's room mishap. The last of the Singing Senators plans to ring in the new year in California with his wife. He's taking her on a much deserved vacation.

They're heading to Pasadena, home of the famous Rose Bowl - not to watch the game, just to see the parade. Craig said they want to see "where the floats are made."

Meanwhile, it appears Craig is serious - this time - about retiring when his term ends in January 2009. He ushered Idaho Lt. Gov. James E. Risch (R) around the Capitol this week, introducing him as "the next senator from Idaho."

By Mary Ann Akers  |  December 20, 2007; 4:36 PM ET
 
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