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WHO GOT DRUNK WHERE?Although Texas Republican Sen. Phil Gramm, is not seeking re-election this fall, he has no plans to leave early. Were he to step down before the election, it would allow Texas’s governor, a Republican, to appoint John Cornyn, the Republican running to succeed Gramm, to the vacant seat and likely give Cornyn a huge boost in what would then become a run for “re-election.” But again, Gramm doesn’t want to retire early, and no one can make him do it.
So Gramm was surprised when Texas newspapers ran reports last week claiming he was mulling stepping aside early. Gramm denied that he was and chalked the stories up to “Democrats who got drunk in Austin.”
Well, it wasn’t Democrats and it wasn’t in Austin. Gramm should check down the hall inside the offices of Republican Minority Leader Trent Lott. According to a leadership source, Lott floated the rumor through friends in the Texas state Republican Party, hoping it would allow him to then raise the issue of Gramm’s early retirement.p>”Lott was trying to nudge him a bit, get him thinking about it, without his asking,” says the source. “The RNC would like to help Cornyn, but it’s not the party’s place to push for something like that.” Nor, at this point, is it Lott’s. br> /p>