Biloxi police officers blocked the Broadwater Resort's front entrance. They were following strict orders from Sen. Trent Lott's Washington security staff. "In order to keep the press from not bombarding this actual event," one of the security officer said, "we kept you in an actual area. So this is where we'd like to keep you."
President Casino Broadwater Resort spokesman Joe Giardina said keeping the media away from the breakfast wasn't the chamber's idea. "The folks from Washington asked that the media not be here," he said. "And that's the situation."
The only reason I got into the Crown Room to hear Sen. Lott's talk was because of WLOX's membership in the chamber. What I can tell you is that Lott talked for 38 minutes. He got four standing ovations. And just two minutes of his speech focused on the fallout from his Strom Thurmond comments.
"Well, I'm telling you here this morning, I'm hanging in there," Lott told the chamber members. "I'm going to find a way for myself, my family, my friends, you the people of Mississippi and America to benefit from this experience."
After the breakfast, the senator met with the media in the resort's parking lot. "I do have the support of my colleagues in our conference there in the Senate," said Lott. "And I'm going to continue to reach out to men and women of all backgrounds and races and ethnic backgrounds to learn how we can turn this situation into a positive for our state and for all American people."
During the news conference, Lott put to rest any questions about whether he'd leave Washington if he wasn't the majority leader. "Quite simply I was elected by the people of Mississippi to a six year term," said Lott. I've served two years of that contract. I have a contract and I'm going to fulfill it."