September 2nd, 2007
11:55 AM ET
2 years ago

GOP Senator: Craig should withdraw resignation

Senator Larry Craig, R-Idaho

(CNN)–The ranking Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee says Idaho Senator Larry Craig should seek to withdraw his guilty plea, and possibly his resignation from the Senate.

"I'd like to see Larry Craig go back to court, seek to withdraw his guilty plea and fight the case," Senator Arlen Specter said on 'Fox News Sunday'. Drawing on his earlier experience as District Attorney of Philadelphia, Specter said, "On the evidence Senator Craig wouldn't be convicted of anything. And he's got his life on the line and 27 years in the House and Senate, and I'd like to see him fight the case because I think he could be vindicated."

Specter also said it was not too late for Craig to change the status of his resignation.

"He said he intends to resign. When you have a statement of intent to resign that intent could change," he said. "And if he could change the underlying sense of the case, feel of the case."

"Listen you can go to court and withdraw a guilty plea, of course disorderly conduct is not moral turpitude," Specter said. If he went to trial "he wouldn't be convicted of anything. And if he went to court, was acquitted, all of this hullabaloo would have no basis."

Speaking on the same show, Senator Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Specter raised a good point. "From a legal point of view he makes a very good point," Leahy said. "Now from a political point of view I don't pretend to know what Idaho politics are or how they might be, but Senator Specter has laid out as strong a legal case as I've heard."

Craig announced his resignation from the Senate on Saturday effective September 30, following the disclosure of his arrest in June for disorderly conduct in a restroom at the Minneapolis airport.

– CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford


Filed under: Larry Craig
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. High School Senior, Wales, WI

    I personally believe, ( look at me sounding like Miss South Carolina ), that the Senator should NOT resign. His crime is not a felony and he does not face any jail time. He has had a long standing career and has been a good politician, well as good as the GOP politicians can get, and I believe that he should stay in the Senate at least throughout the remainder of his term. FIGHT IT SENATOR!

    September 2, 2007 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  2. Tim, Cincinnati, OH

    Se. Craig should use every legal means possible to protect his name and reputation, but he should not rescind his resignation. What makes sense legally is not always the right thing politically.

    September 2, 2007 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  3. HAWK,TEXAS

    SPECTER ALSO NEEDS TO GO. HE KEEPS HIS WIFE IN A CUSHY GOVERMENT JOB, AND SHE DOSEN'T EVEN USE HIS NAME, SHE GOES BY ELAINE CHOW. AND ALL SHE DOES IS RUBBER STAMP BUSH'S POLICY. LIKE BOB DOLE, HE KEPT HIS WIFE IN A $200.000 A YEAR JOB FOR YEARS. THE REPUBLICANS CARE NOTHING FOR THIS COUNTRY EXCEPT WHAT THEY CAN GET OUT OF IT.

    September 2, 2007 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. Dave Brown, Foster City, CA

    I don't see this issue as a simple matter of "right and wrong".

    Yeah, Craig clearly seems to have knowingly inappropriately solicited gay sex. Indeed, that's wrong, but so is speeding and drinking underage. And who here can claim innnocence on those fronts? Does such an infraction deserve to be career-altering?

    On the other hand, Craig is known by many as a vocally (politically) anti-gay. While maybe not "WRONG" legally, that he has chosen the gay lifestyle himself does seem to be grounds to question the man's integrity. That said, I can see that he's trapped in party policy and "pandering."

    It's a mess for sure.

    Ideally, this event would help sponsor an honest dialog about what's really important to the country. Perhaps what might be seen here is that an individual's sexual preference is not critical to the future of the country or the world. To see this dialog occur in the political forum would give me renewed hope for American politics.

    September 2, 2007 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. pl, at the UN, for a while.

    I am not American. I cannot vote.

    In my long career as a diplomat I have visited just about every toilet in every major airport. But I had no clue of the existence of a specific meaning to Mr Craig's alledged alluring motions.

    Was that entrapment? Would the presence of a uniformed security guard on open watch in that washroom not have been deterring enough and far less costly? Am I to believe that in presumably a long-term program of deterrence at that airport, Mr Craig is the only one to have engaged in that behaviour? Are there some numbers we need maybe?

    And let us not forget that this case has attracted attention only after a "leak" of the information. What?!... not a political coup of sorts?!

    That having been said, transparency in ALL transactions and situations is the stuff of the conduct expected in all public servants–and yes, I would fight too.

    September 2, 2007 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  6. Cable King Pittsburgh Pa

    "Fight It"? Give be a break. That takes a backbone. From homophobic "piling on" to running from a controversy, Craig has exhibited the traits of a classic coward.

    September 2, 2007 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Of course Specter wants Craig around,it serves to make him more powerful if the bible thumpers all get thrown out next year.

    September 2, 2007 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. Izzy, Queens New York

    Yeah, Craig should indicate that he intends to withdraw his resignation and fight the case. This is too good to be true. These republicans obviously have no common sense.

    September 2, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  9. Myron, Honolulu, Hi

    The Police Officer is more guilty than the “johns”. According to the police officer’s own accounts he was predicting and responding to various perceived signs and signals. I certainly wouldn’t have known what foot tapping signaled other than a song. How could mutually consensual behavior be considered objectionable to either consenting adult?

    September 2, 2007 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  10. Mark C, Miorehead City NC

    *** We need to stop hounding our political leaders (of either party or sexual identity) out of office over minor personal indiscretions and let them do their jobs. ***

    I would agree with you, except for the fact that Craig supported was partly responsible for the laws that are used to hound gays out of the military on a regular basis. Therefore I have no sympathy for him. To conservatives, it's his homosexual behavior that's a problem. To the rest of us, his hypocrisy stinks to high heaven.

    Oh, and anyone who thinks it's possible to make contact with the person's feet in the next stall by taking a "wide stance" either has somehow never been in a public restroom, or has a serious screw loose. In the latter case, I have a lovely bridge over the East River you might be interested in investing in.

    September 2, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    In the political animal that is Specter, I wonder what he is up to. I mean, asking Larry Craig to continue serving as the Idaho Senate representative is asking the RNC to commit seppuku in 2008. The RNC currently has limited funds, and to spend money into what is clearly an extremely Red state (Idaho) in 2008 if Larry Craig is running as US senator (if he doesn't resign) is equivalent of abandoning any chance of a Republican takeover of the Senate for the next decade.

    If Sen. Specter is asking Larry Craig to stand up and fight against the homophobia dripping in the Republican ranks, I respect that kind of fortitude. On the other hand, I would have to say that Sen. Specter is really feeding the Democrats a lot of fodder, enough to nuke the Republicans out of the House, Senate, and White House in 2008. I can't say I am not happy about a Democratic takeover in '08, but this is straight up overkill.

    September 2, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  12. M

    I am a real fence sitter on this one. No one really knows what happened in that restroom. It is a "he" said "she" said situation. There was no video or voice recording of the incident. A good point was raised in an earlier post about his presence at the airport. It would help to know what gate he flew in on and what gate he was to fly out on and what the proximately of this particular restroom was to these gates.
    Time and time again it has been proven that people in power are subject to bribery/corruption. Police are not above this, although we would like to believe otherwise. Troubling is the fact that Craig has strongly opposed any kind of gay rights. That would make him a good set up candidate.
    I can understand his taking 2 months to do what he did mainly because of his political involvement. I can't undertand not consulting an attorney or not telling his wife.

    September 2, 2007 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  13. Adam, Plano, TX

    i completely agree with specter here. i'm not a republican, but whats been forced upon sen. craig is pretty wrong, and, after hearing the tape of the interrogation so many times on tv, i don't really believe his intentions were to solicit sex.

    September 2, 2007 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  14. Bob Hastings

    The guy is a confessed pervert. His political history is tainted with perversion('82 page scandal)...others have come forward with no axe to grind and admitted having sex with this guy...his credibility is shot and he needs to be OUT(ed).

    September 2, 2007 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  15. David, Salinas, CA

    A couple of quick points:

    Any claim that either party has anything to gain in terms of Senate votes ignores the fact that Idaho is 68% Republican and has a GOP Governor. It will remain a red state no matter what happens to Senator Craig.

    Any claim that Arlen Specter is somehow a “political animal” playing some partisan game ignores his 40+ year record as a statesman who says whatever he believes regardless of the consequences. I say this as a loyal Democrat out of respect to a decent Republican.

    And finally, our obsession with this tawdry affair, (and dozens of others like it) ignores the fact that we are faced with a global threat from terrorists, bogged down in a quagmire in Iraq, falling behind the world in education, have no coherent immigration policy, and that we still have 47 million uninsured, an American city devastated, record home foreclosures, and a ballooning national debt to China and other economic competitors.

    Is there any chance we could get our heads out of the bathroom stalls long enough to face our real problems as a nation?

    September 2, 2007 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. Brons

    I'm a retired police officer and worked the "weenie wagger" patrol for alot of years in a fairly good sized city. The officers description of Craig's solicitation is EXACTLY what happens when a bathroom pervert is "cruising"
    What is there to fight? The guy is guilty!!

    September 2, 2007 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  17. David Knight, Texas

    Mr. Specter is in DREAM LAND! The damage has been done. ALL legislators need to be on ALERT from ALL political paries that they can be replaced. Americans are tired of the games that these people play. Anywhere else, one would be fired or asked to step down. The same should go for these people in office. By the way, I am a Republican, Pushing for Term Limits!

    September 2, 2007 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  18. mel

    Hmmm, that makes me very suspicious. Maybe some senators - from both parties - are worried that when their skeletons come out to play, they don't want a precedence set with Craig's exit. Sure, it's a legal argument, but what the politicians are NOT saying is priceless.

    More sleaze coming soon!

    September 2, 2007 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. Lucretia, Wisconsin

    In regard to the previous comment of police patrolling public toilets. G-d bless them for doing this. The purpose of a toilet is not to solicit sex in a public place. You cannot measure the cost of this against the positive of keeping these public places safe for children, for it is not is safe today to allow your young children or grandchildren to use them alone. I cannot believe that anyone with a sense of decency, moral compass or concern for young children would voice opposition to this police action, which is as it should be, protecting the safety and welfare of the citizenry. Accolades to these officers for continuing to be so vigilant.
    Lucretia, Wisconsin

    September 2, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  20. mohammad, sf ca.

    I think spector should be voted out

    September 2, 2007 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  21. Rodney Dallas TX

    Why is is that because Craig is a Republican, the Minority leader wants him to stay in office. But if it was a democrat, Spector would be shouting from the rooftop that they should resign. Politics are so stupic. What is the difference in our Republican and Democrat than Iraq, Suni and Shiite? Not much if you ask me. We may not be shooting at each other but that's only a matter of time.

    September 2, 2007 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  22. Sharon, Portola, CA

    I've lived in Idaho – twice. Trust me, Larry Craig's political career in Idaho is toast.

    Back in the 80s when there was another DC scandal involving sex, drugs, and Congressional pages, although no names had been named or charges filed, then-Rep. Larry Craig, for whatever warped, misguided reason, went before the cameras and stated that he is not gay....all the way back in 1982.

    He had not been publicly targeted as gay. But still, he felt the need to state he was not? It sounds as though the man protests too much.

    And then, within a year or so, the esteemed Mr. Craig married and Idaho widow who had three children. How conveeeeeeenient, as the Church Lady on SNL used to say.

    Of course, he might NOT be gay. He may merely be bisexual! But that still does not excuse his over 25 years of hypocrisy regarding gays...except that, of course, he's NOT GAY, he keeps telling us.

    Hey, you straight guys on the board – have you ever reached your foot under the stall wall in a public restroom in order to touch the foot of the person in the next stall? Ever waved your hand under the wall, at the guy next to you?

    And EVERYONE on the board, would YOU pick up ANY piece of paper on a bathroom floor?

    Larry's in trouble because of his hypocrisy. Nearly 30 years of it. I feel so sorry for friends in Idaho who've voted for this man, election after election.

    We could have been spared all this had he admitted who and what he is in the first place. But the GOP demands otherwise. God help you if you're gay, 'cause they'll do their damndest to keep you out of the military, to begrudge you protection against hate crimes, and deny you the civil rights and freedoms of heterosexual married couples.

    The only thing that would cause Larry Craig to pursue trying to undo what he's already admitted is a deep, undeniable, unfathomable need to go down in the flames of self-destruction.

    September 2, 2007 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  23. pl, at the UN, for a while.

    I already commented above. Emotions here are definetly strong–and loud. And so many good points raised. I am pleased.

    For public restrooms in a large majority of the world's largest airports you need to bring your own toilet paper and a small bottle of sanitizer and sanitized swabs in your carry-on briefcase–never mind solicit sex there.

    And the point about young people is in itself sufficiently persuasive.

    September 2, 2007 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  24. Steve, Portland, OR

    Spector is trying to patch one hole in the already sinking conservative ship. Sorry but this guy spent his carreer voting agianst gays and for the conservative party and to be even suspect of this activity in a PUBLIC bathroom??? What a freaking hypocrite! Who cares what his sexual preference is? Get him outta office as this is not a honorable person worthy of his post.

    September 2, 2007 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  25. JimBob, Encino, CA

    If you think Craig's replacement is going to be an improvement, read this:

    http://www.tpmcafe.com/blog/coffeehouse/2007/aug/31/meet_the_new_hypocrite

    September 2, 2007 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
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