"I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."
The outcry, castigations, shock and denouncements were immediate and came from both the Left and the Right. President Bush denounced the statement and his brother then-Florida Governor Jeb Bush said Lott needed to step down as Senate majority leader. Conservative Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard sharply rebuked Lott, as did Colin Powell and Jesse Jackson.