No matter what happens, it's likely Craig's Senate will likely stay red.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senator Larry Craig is facing some major political problems today, now that the word is out that he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge stemming from his arrest at a men’s bathroom at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport.
Whether the Republican from Idaho can politically survive this setback is not known at this time, but one thing seems certain: his seat will most likely stay in GOP hands. Craig is up for re-election next year. He’s finishing up his third term in the Senate after serving ten years in the House of Representatives. Craig won 65% of the vote in his 2002 re-election.
There was speculation before this latest controversy that Craig would retire after finishing up his third term. The senator was expected to make a decision this autumn on whether he would run for re-election. According to FEC numbers, Craig has $549,125 campaign cash on hand, which goes a long way in a state like Idaho.
But if Craig were to step down, Idaho’s Republican governor, Butch Otter, would name an interim replacement to serve until next year’s election. Otter would most certainly name a Republican, and that person would instantly have a major edge in the 2008 contest.
And here’s why: Idaho is a very red state. As mentioned, the governor is a Republican, as is Craig and the other U.S. senator, Mike Crapo. Both U.S. representatives are Republican, and President Bush cruised to victory in Idaho in 2004, winning 69% of the vote.
A number of Idaho Republicans are said to be interested in running for Craig’s seat, including Rep. Mike Simpson. The leading Democratic challenger at this point appears to be former Congressman Larry LaRocco, who’s already actively campaigning, but has only raised around $80,000.
- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser
Alleged 'DC Madam' Deborah Jeane Palfrey
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The alleged "D.C. madam" who is accused of running a high-dollar prostitution ring around the nation's capital is asking a federal judge to dismiss a prominent attorney the court had appointed to replace a public defender in her criminal case.
Deborah Jeane Palfrey wants to represent herself with the help of a lawyer who is representing her in a civil case but is not licensed to practice criminal law in Washington. U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler takes up the request Tuesday at a status hearing.
But prosecutors filed court papers Monday opposing what Palfrey calls "hybrid representation," since the attorney, Montgomery Blair Sibley, cannot directly defend his client against criminal charges.
A grand jury indicted Palfrey March 1 on money laundering and racketeering charges in connection with her former business - Pamela Martin & Associates escort service. She pleaded not guilty to the charges on March 2.
McCain at the Iowa state fair earlier this month.
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Some might say that when it comes to presidential politics and making firsthand decisions, Iowa State Fair-goers are spoiled rotten.
"I think it's a good deal," said Craig Swalwell, resting in the shade on the final night of the fair.
On the other hand, some would beg to differ.
"I think they ought to stay away," said Joel Morenz standing in the back at the "American Idols Live" concert on the grounds that same night.
Over the course of a 10 day period, Iowans had the chance to shake hands and personally ask questions of every major candidate - Democrat and Republican - all while enjoying a deep fried Twinkie on a stick inside the grounds of the fair. This, on top of the already abundant television ads and campaign stops across the state. And don't forget– we've still got four months before the caucuses and more than a year until the general election.
So who's enjoying the attention, and who's just plain sick and tired?
Richardson with Lance Armstrong at Monday's forum.
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CNN) - If the parking garage at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids is any indication, there are far fewer people at Lance Armstrong's LIVESTRONG Presidential Cancer Forum on Tuesday than on Monday.
There could be good reason, however.
Monday had the Democrats, headlined by the bigger names of Sen. Hillary Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards. Gov. Bill Richardson and Rep. Dennis Kucinich were also present. The four of them on hand equals about half of the Democratic field.
Armstrong said Monday that he was disappointed with the candidates who declined the invitation, particularly those in both parties who have been directly affected by cancer themselves.
"As a fellow survivor and as somebody that wants to represent this community and wants to see change happen, that's disappointing," said Armstrong.
A representative of the LIVESTRONG Presidential Cancer Forum estimated that only about 700 people may be in attendance Tuesday. Monday, they say, brought in about 2500.
Related: Armstrong disappointed in no-shows
- CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch
The Romney camp removed a video of Craig endorsing the former governor for president. It has since been posted by other users.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Larry Craig, the Idaho Republican who pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, has stepped down from his role as a co-Senate liaison for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's White House bid, the campaign said Monday.
"He did not want to be a distraction and we accept his decision," Matt Rhoades, Romney's Communication's director said.
The video, a clip of Craig praising Romney for his "strong family values," was changed to a "private" video shortly after the news surfaced of the arrest, The Politico reports.
A senior Romney aide tells CNN's John King: "Once there was information about his resignation being imminent, there was no reason to have his prior testimonial still present on the site. Our communications shop removed it. We add and edit content all day long on our sites."
Craig's position with the campaign was announced earlier this year when the Idaho Republican praised Romney as a "proven leader."
UPDATE: Josh Romney, one of the candidate's five sons, has canceled his trip to Boise, Idaho Tuesday because of "a last minute schedule change," the Romney campaign tells CNN's Sasha Johnson.
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Name dropping about who will replace Alberto Gonzales started moments after he stepped down.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It happens immediately after any high-level White House official resigns his or her post - political observers and Washington reporters go into overdrive over possible replacements.
The scenario played out Monday, when moments after news surfaced that Alberto Gonzales was stepping down from his post as attorney general, senior administration officials told CNN that current Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff would likely get the nod.
If true, it would be "a surprise to Mike," another source later told CNN.
Yet other senior administration officials started knocking down such reports, telling CNN that Chertoff's role in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath could raise problems during Senate hearings.
Did things really change that quickly? Which sources had better information? What are the rules of engagement in the name-dropping game?
TIME.com: Why Gonzales Finally Caved
Gonzales resigned his post Monday.
(CNN) - For the second time in two weeks, a goodbye that hit home.
Alberto Gonzales is stepping down. Like Karl Rove, Gonzales has been at this president’s side dating back to his days as Texas governor. And like Rove, Gonzales had become a political piñata for an administration whose days are numbered.
Seventeen months left, and lame duck is a term that makes the president bristle. But Mr. Bush is a president defined by an unpopular war, and lacks the political muscle to see through his big-ticket domestic priorities.
At the State of the Union address in January, Bush pushed for domestic policy reform, saying, “With enough good sense and goodwill, you and I can fix Medicare and Medicaid - and save Social Security.”
Those State of the Union ideas went nowhere, and Mr. Bush also failed to make his 2001 tax cuts permanent or pass major immigration reforms. Now, the departures of old friends magnify this president’s increasingly lonely place.
Graham officially supports Sen. McCain for the GOP nomination.
Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) - Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told a group of local Republicans here on Monday night who he believes will win the Democratic presidential nomination.
"Whoever wins this [GOP] nomination is going to get my full support," Graham told a meeting of the Richland County Republican Party. "You know why? You know who we're going to be running against? Hillary Clinton."
Graham, a member of the Air Force Reserves who just returned from a stint serving in Iraq, also offered a vigorous defense of President Bush's Iraq strategy to loud applause, declaring that the troop buildup is working and that the President's policies are the reason the United States has not had a terrorist attack since September 11th.
The senator made one of the boldest statements yet to come out of the debate in Washington over whether Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki is competent enough to bring rival political factions together in Baghdad.
(CNN) – If Republicans are to retake control of the U.S. House in the 2008 election, they need to hold on to their seat in a critical district in Columbus, Ohio. But they are finding few willing candidates so far.
The seat, Ohio’s 15th congressional district, has been held by the GOP since 1967. It became open when Rep. Deborah Pryce announced she would not seek re-election next year. Her decision followed a tight battle last fall, where Pryce narrowly held off Democratic challenger Mary Jo Kilroy.
So far, the top potential Republican contenders for the race are deciding to take a pass. The latest is former Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro, who told the Columbus Dispatch yesterday that he will not run. Petro, who lost a bid for governor in 2006, told the paper, “I just made the decision that being a member of Congress is not the best use of my skills.”
Petro said he was asked to think about running by House Minority Leader — and fellow Buckeye State Republican — John Boehner.
Reports say local Republicans are now trying to convince former Columbus mayor and Ohio State football star Greg Lashukta to enter the race.
- CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk
Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho.
(CNN) - Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, was fined earlier this month for a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge stemming from his arrest in June at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to Minnesota criminal records.
While the criminal records did not provide details of why Craig was arrested, Roll Call newspaper reported Monday that he was apprehended by a plainclothes police officer investigating complaints of lewd behavior in an airport men's room.
In a statement released Monday evening, Craig denied any inappropriate conduct and said he now regrets his guilty plea.
"At the time of this incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions. I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct," he said. "I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously."