Lott Will Drive the Hand That Feeds Him

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We'll close out the day with this item from U.S. News' Marianne Lavelle:

Mississippi Republican Senator Trent Lott said this morning he's looking forward to driving a Toyota Highlander SUV. He was just one of a slew of politicians on hand in Tupelo to cheer the automaker's announcement that it will build a $1.3 billion assembly plant in northeast Mississippi.

Lott chuckled at speculation in recent days over the "best kept secret in the country," that Mississippi would win out for the highly sought project over Tennessee and Arkansas. Production is to begin in 2010, with employment of 2,000 expected, and a goal of producing 150,000 of the popular sport utility crossover vehicle each year.

It will be Toyota's eighth manufacturing facility in the United States, and underscores the Japanese automaker's swift growth in contrast to its faltering U.S. rivals in the industry. Lott's fellow Mississippi Senator, Republican Thad Cochran was also on hand, as was Gov. Haley Barbour.