GOP senators held a closed-door discussion on Sen. Craig Wednesday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican senators held what one participant called a "passionate" and "spirited" closed-door discussion Wednesday afternoon about how their leaders responded to the sex scandal involving their colleague Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho, CNN has learned.
At least three senators complained their leaders "rushed to judgment" while others defended the leaders for quickly pulling their support from the disgraced senator, according to one Republican senator in the room and two GOP aides familiar with the meeting.
"We had to discuss it," the senator said.
Sen. Ted. Stevens of Alaska, whose home was recently raided as part of a federal corruption probe, stood up to say it's wrong to prejudge these matters.
He was joined by Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky and Sen. Michael Enzi of Wyoming, who also "wagged their finger" at the leadership, in the words of one of the aides. (Related: Craig may not resign)
But many more senators stood to defend the leaders, even greeting Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky with applause when he was introduced to discuss the topic at the weekly Senate Republican policy luncheon in the Capitol.
"A couple of people had differences of opinion with leadership but the overwhelming number who stood up supported the leaders," the leadership aide said.
Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, whose surprise call over the weekend for Craig to withdraw his guilty plea and fight to save his seat was key to Craig reconsidering his resignation, also addressed the meeting - which included Vice President Dick Cheney, who regularly attends the lunch.
Specter refused to say what he told his colleagues, but of the aides said he was not critical of the leadership.
Specter, hounded all day by reporters, has declined repeatedly to comment further on the Craig case.
One GOP leadership aide said Specter may be "chagrined" by what he started.
- CNN's Ted Barrett and Dana Bash