Lott Wants Some New Friends

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WASHINGTON: It must be Christmastime -- suddenly Trent Lott wants to play nice. According to CNN, the Senate majority leader will round up a bipartisan gaggle of senior senators to keep him out of trouble once Chief Justice William Rehnquist is sworn in to preside over the still-likely Senate trial. Their job: to provide advice, counsel and, of course, political refuge from the White House spin machine -- and maybe even broker a bipartisan censure deal that would make Lott look like a statesman.

Special Report But statesmanship isnít what GOP hard-liners want -- they want blood. Believe it or not, Tom DeLay is still whipping for impeachment four days after it passed, assuring anyone who was still in town that a censure resolution would have failed in the House and that senators, before they "cut a deal," should "spend plenty of time in the evidence room." With DeLay in one ear and Senate GOP No. 2 Don Nickles in the other, Lott is going to have trouble compromising once things heat up next month. Unless that panel is willing to double as bodyguards.