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The Diddly Awards

Honoring the jaw-dropping achievements of the 108th Congress

The Trent Lott Award for Racial SensitivityThe Trent Lott Award for Racial Sensitivity

••• Rep. Cass Ballenger (R-N.C.) admitted having "segregationist feelings" about former Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.), who is black. Ballenger also insisted that the appearance of a congressional aide in his yard to paint a three-and-a-half-foot, cast-iron black lawn jockey white was just "restoration"—this, after years of defending the icon as a "family heirloom." He dismissed accusations of racism, saying, "I think everybody can look at my life and what I've done and say that's not true. I mean, she was such a bitch."

••• Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) was warming up a crowd in Missouri, talking about Mahatma Gandhi, when she suddenly blurted, "You know, he ran a gas station down in St. Louis for two years. Do you still go down to the gas station? There's a lot of wisdom coming out of that gas station."

••• Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) denounced a pair of Hispanic men who support Bush's Haiti policy—Roger Noriega at the State Department and Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.)—as "white men" who "all look the same." Not to kiss up to the Hispanic vote too nakedly, Republicans immediately issued a press release that began: "Los comentarios de la congresista Brown son realmente deplorables."

••• Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) took to the Senate floor on the occasion of Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd's 17,000th vote to say that "my friend from West Virginia…would have been a great senator at any moment." How quickly he forgot Trent Lott's fate for saying that "we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years" had the country elected Strom Thurmond president in 1948, when he ran as an unrepentant segregationist. Dodd insisted that Byrd—who a few years ago went on TV to denounce the existence of "white niggers" and who once achieved the rank of "kleagle" in the Ku Klux Klan—"would have been right during the great conflict of Civil War in this nation."

••• Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-Wyo.) op- posed a gun control measure, observing, "One amendment today said we couldn't sell them to anybody under drug treatment. So does that mean if you go into a black community, you cannot sell a gun to any black person?"

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