Charleston tragedy puts Sen. Tim Scott in spotlight

As South Carolina’s legislature prepares to debate removing the Confederate battle flag from the statehouse grounds, Sen. Tim Scott is weighing in with state lawmakers in typical Scott fashion – quietly and behind the scenes.

“We’ve already started talking to some folks, just letting people know where we stand, and we’ll be talking around the state,” Scott, R-S.C., said of his lobbying effort to persuade state legislators to remove the flag. “It’s definitely a great opportunity to use your relationships as a way to infuse yourself into a conversation without taking over the conversation.”

The massacre inside Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and its aftermath has thrust Scott, the first elected African-American senator from the South since reconstruction, into the national spotlight. It’s a place that he’s studiously avoided in the past.

In Washington, Scott has been one of the Senate’s low-key members, making very few floor speeches, keeping hallway interviews with reporters cordial but brief, and keeping his appearances on national cable and network news shows to a minimum. Scott would rather be in Moncks Corner, S.C., than on “Meet the Press.”