Here is a quote from MSNBC news:

He added, “I am going to have to make changes, make amends and do something about it.” Specifically, he pledged his support for affirmative action programs and for creation of a “task force on reconciliation.”
“There’s an opportunity here,” Lott said. “This is a wake-up call.”
When pressed by moderator Ed Gordon, Lott spoke candidly about his Thurmond comment. “It was insensitive, at the very least,” he said. He also said if he had to vote today he would vote for the federal holiday in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which he voted against in 1983.”

Note a few things:
Lott doesn’t ever acknowledge that his comment was in fact racist — so what is he apologizing for exactly? He doesn’t say. Instead of admitting his own guilt, he wants a “task force” — as if his racist remarks should be dealt as a social problem, not a racist attitude on his part. (If he’s not racist, he hasn’t explained what he “really” meant by his remarks.)
As a response to his own racism, he decides to force it on others – by affirmative action. So what “convinced” him to support affirmative action and a national holiday for MLK? No answer. So does it then make any logical sense to change one’s political views in response to your actual political views being revealed? Of course not. It only makes sense to a politician who tells the public whatever he believes they want to hear, without bothering to define any principles or ideals to base his position on.