Senate republicans Monday voted to make Tennessee's Bill Frist their new leader. The vote was unanimous, taken through a conference call, since members of Congress are home for the holidays.
Former minority leader Trent Lott voted for Frist and said he will have his support.
"I'm still going to support the agenda that I believe in very strongly. Opportunity for Americans. Growth in the economy. Strong national defense to protect our interests. I haven't changed on any of that," said Sen. Lott.
"I will offer my experience and leadership of 20 of the last 30 years to be helpful. To get results for the American people, all American people of all backgrounds and regions of this country."
In an Associated Press interview Sunday, Lott said of the events that led to him stepping down as leader three days ago.
"An inappropriate remark brought this down on my head. A lot of people in Washington have been trying to nail me for a long time. When you're from Mississippi and you're a conservative and you're a Christian, there are a lot of people that don't like that. I feel into their trap and so I have only myself to blame," he said.
Lott said he will repay the people of Mississippi for the confidence they've shown in him in the past.
Frist, 50, was elected to the senate in 1994. He was a wealthy heart surgeon, who still makes annual humanitarian trips to Africa. Frist is a marathon runner and friends said he needs only four hours of sleep a night.
Sen. George Allen, a republican from Virginia, said, "I think we're all united behind and we're going to work as a team."
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