Correction to This Article
The Washington Post erred in printing a private e-mail address for the family of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards in this morning's In the Loop column. It has been removed from the version of the column that appears on the Web site.

Without Lott, the Singing Senators Are of One Voice

By Al Kamen
Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sen. Trent Lott's resignation announcement Monday stunned the political cognoscenti, but the rationale seems pretty obvious. Lott (R-Miss.), 66, needed to cash in before he got much older. Being GOP whip isn't much of a job when you're in the minority and prospects are not good for a change in that status anytime soon.

The true significance of Lott's departure is that it leaves Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) as the last Singing Senator left standing, or sitting, or whatever.

The barbershop quartet, formed in 1995, stopped performing when baritone John Ashcroft lost his seat to a dead Democrat in 2000. Shortly thereafter, then-Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont bolted the party. And now bass Lott is soon to be out.

This leaves tenor and lead singer Craig -- who for now says he's quitting next year -- going solo, unless he wants to recruit some replacements.

It's the biggest musical breakup since the legendary Ben E. King left the Drifters.

Frist a Partner at Cressey

Speaking of former Republican senators, Loop favorite Bill "Dr. Video" Frist, the former majority leader, has joined the Chicago private investment firm Cressey & Co. as a partner, Bloomberg reports. The new company specializes in the health-care industry.

Iraqis Miss an Opportunity

Everyone who is anyone showed up at the Annapolis Mideast peace parley yesterday. The Saudis were there, the Jordanians, even the Syrians. But not, curiously, our Iraqi allies. They were invited, we are told, and Washington really wanted them there, but they declined.

It's a particularly odd decision, what with the sinking dollar and the spectacular shopping bargains available this holiday season.

And I'd Like to Follow Up

FEMA's phony news conference last month was not the first time a Department of Homeland Security flack played reporter at a briefing.

Seems that in January 2006, a public affairs aide with Immigration and Customs Enforcement asked a question at a San Antonio news conference, according to an investigation by DHS, which oversees the Federal Emergency Management Agency and ICE.

Unlike in FEMA's excellent ploy, the ICE aide was told not to ask the question but did so anyway and was reprimanded afterward, DHS told House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.).

The faux reporter did not identify herself, the Associated Press reported, but San Antonio reporters knew at the time that she worked for ICE.

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