"We must dedicate ourselves to healing those wounds of division that have been reopened so prominently in he last few weeks," Frist said.
Senate Republicans unanimously elected Frist as their new leader during an unprecedented 45-minute conference call among most of the 51-member Senate Republican Caucus, ending a two-week political firestorm that brought down former leader Trent Lott and threatened to derail the GOP's efforts to reach out to minorities.
"I told our colleagues that my intentions are indeed to serve, not be served, so that we together as a group we will be able to capture what is truly remarkable in that wonderful institution called the United States Senate," Frist said.
The 50-year-old Frist, a wealthy heart surgeon, officially becomes Senate majority leader when the GOP takes control of the chamber in January.
More than 40 senators participated in the conference call, and elected Frist unanimously with a voice vote, senators said.
Lott, R-Miss., spoke for more than three minutes, and sounded very gracious and thankful "as enthusiastic as anyone could possibly sound in that circumstance," the source said. Lott offered to do whatever he could to help the new leadership team, the source added.
Extended Web Coverage
Senator Bill Frist, M.D.
Source: http://frist.senate.gov contributed to this report.
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