“Times were different then,” Lott said. “You know, we did work together. And we got a lot of things done. I’ve been accused of being a dealmaker. I plead guilty. What that means to me is get something done for your country and for your state.”…
…Lott had counted votes as Republican whip in the House, and said he went to the Senate as a “partisan warrior.”
“It was a destructive attitude: ‘I’m going to change this place, or I’m going to tear it up,'” he said. “And after about six months, I had figured out things ain’t working real good. I’m making people mad, I’m not getting anything done.”
He said he shifted his approach and spent time learning the Senate operating rules, which he called “unintelligible.” He had one-on-one meetings with 60 senators, including Democrat Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. Six and a half years later, Lott’s Republican colleagues chose him to be their leader in the chamber.