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Republican Who Thought Up 'Nuclear Option' Says Idea Was A Mistake

AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster

Lott conceived of a plan to allow judicial appointments to pass with a simple majority, rather than the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster, during the George W. Bush administration. At that time, Democrats were the minority party blocking the President's nominees from confirmation.

The former Republican leader told CNN that he prefers to call the plan the "constitutional option" now, and warned that invoking it could have unforeseen consequences for Senate Democrats.

“Pretty quickly, I concluded I made a mistake,” he said. “It was natural for us to do it because we were mad about them filibustering district and circuit court judges. I was irate about it. But it can come back to bite you and they [the Democrats] are going to regret this."