From a news conference with Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) yesterday:

Sen. Daschle: I have never seen a party become this defiant when it comes to protecting minority rights in my time in public life. Carol Moseley-Braun is just the latest victim of increasing sentiment expressed by an increasing number of Republican senators that I think is very dangerous for this country and very, very harmful to the progress we've made on minority rights over many decades.

We have to go all the way back to 1835 to find the time when a senator was rejected for an ambassadorship by the United States Senate . . . and that was Martin Van Buren. Robert C. Byrd said it was one of the darkest and most partisan chapters in the history of the Senate when he wrote about that time. Now we've got another example. It's a sad, sad commentary on circumstances involving minorities in the country and in the Senate, and I just hope that it's recorded as such.

Q: Are you calling them racist?

A: I'm not calling them racist, but . . . it raises some very serious questions about the perception, the attitude of some on the other side when it comes to minorities. There is very little sensitivity, whether it's Ronnie White, Judge Paez . . . Carol Moseley-Braun. You can go on down the list. I think there's a pattern here, and I think we ought to be given some explanation for why this pattern has become so apparent and so dangerously ill-considered.