Ten weeks into his term, Senator Bill Frist has adopted a vastly different approach as majority leader, preferring the broad themes and political gestures favored by the White House and conservatives to the pragmatic, back-room tasks favored by his Republican predecessors.
... Dr. Frist is charting a different path as a committed conservative who says he does not intend to compromise his party's principles for momentum.
...His legislative agenda, disclosed last month, after a slow beginning, is packed with conservative or business-oriented medical proposals, like a ban on the type of late-term abortion that critics call partial-birth abortion, a limit on medical malpractice jury awards, and assistance to vaccine manufacturers — all issues that senators say he has moved to the top of the priority list.
--New York Times, 3/13/03
OK, folks, it's flashback time....
"...I think Bill has a kind of a more moderate record and a more moderate approach toward things, and I think that it's going to be very difficult to criticize him."
--Senator Orrin Hatch, quoted in WorldNetDaily, 12/23/02
"Bill Frist is not somebody conservatives would be comfortable with. He's a moderate Republican who's not really pro-life."
--Paul Weyrich, to Family News in Focus, 12/20/02
"...the Tennessee moderate..."
--CBS News, 12/23/02
"A wealthy moderate from a Southern state..."
--Joe Johns, NBC News, 12/20/02
"We think he's a real pragmatist, that he understands that the party needs to get back on track of becoming Lincoln's party once again. We're hopeful we'll have a seat at the table to talk about everything from judgeships to legislation."
--Jennifer Stockman, co-chairwoman of the Republican Pro-Choice Coalition, quoted in Salon, 12/21/02
"But Frist is also a pragmatist and a vote counter, and he knows that 50 senators, even adding the vice president's vote, don't add up to the 60 votes he would need to stop a filibuster."
--Orlando Sentinel, 1/5/03