September 2nd, 2007
11:55 AM ET
10 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. JimBob, Encino, CA

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

    September 2, 2007 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  2. Ron Nebraska

    Isn't one of the points missing here that Sen. Craigs' judgement was so poor that he pled guilty to something he claimed he didn't do and then thought he could hide the guilty plea from his colleagues, the public and his own family? And some would want this man to remain in the senate and use this stellar decision making ability to do what?, simply hold another seat for the party? shameful!!!

    September 2, 2007 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  3. Just Asking, Portland, OR

    Does anybody know about the Franklin child-sex cases during Reagan and Bush 1? I’m not making accusations/conspiracy theories. I really don’t know. I’ve been reading a bunch of blog stuff about it and I wonder if it’s true.

    September 2, 2007 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  4. RB

    Go ahead Arlen – keep this on the front burner.

    Step aside Dems, the GOP is about to continue to self-destruct and needs no assistance.

    Honestly, there isn't a joke writer in Hollywood that could make stuff up this funny.

    September 2, 2007 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  5. Ron Nebraska

    Um Hawk from Texas.......I agree with your assessment of Republicans but Elaine Chao is Sen. Mitch McConnel's wife, not Spectors.

    September 2, 2007 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  6. Phil, Alexandria VA

    That's the silliest thing I've ever heard Arlen Specter say. And that's saying a lot.

    September 2, 2007 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  7. lee ,centerville, oh

    I think the resignation is to diffuse the situation (and not give media and enemies of repub. party any ammuunition.) Sen Craig does plan to clear his name priavtely, but doesnt' want to remain Sentaor while doing so. This is so boring; and no one even HEARD of this guy before last week.

    September 2, 2007 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  8. Robert Christian

    And we wonder if the Republican's are honest or not? Give me a break.
    Why is the Dont ask Dont Tell law only for Military?
    This idiot should be fired. He does not support Gay rights, Gay Marriage, Marriage Equality etc.
    What on earth is this man thinking>

    Such is life. They say one thing, and in the rest room they do another..
    Even Republicans!
    Quote " Republicans, its not the truth anymore"

    September 2, 2007 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  9. illiana , downstate IL

    to Ron in Nebraska,

    ...unlike the Democratic party who keep re-electing their candidates who have been convicted. cant' name names here, but initials TK, BF, WJ, just to "name" a few.

    September 2, 2007 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  10. J, Ritter-Li, Honolulu, HI

    Senator Craig may have realized that he was in a no-win situation when he pleaded guilty, whether he was or was not.

    From the transcript it would seem that he was promised some type of anonymity (i.e. no media coverage) and he may have decided that it would be best to get this behind him, whether or not he in fact he intended to solicit "activity" in the bathroom in question.

    Specter makes a good argument and, no matter his political leanings, at least he remains fair when all of Sen. Craig's so-called friends use words like "disgusting" and "unforgiveable".

    Credit to Guiliani and Fred Thompson not to engage in the mudd-slinging by their less worthy opponents.

    Finally, it is America's obsession with sexuality and, particularly, its homophobic paranoia. In Europe, this would be a non-issue.

    Even if Sen. Craig had sought sex, and this is by no means clear, at this point he would deserve a measure of compassion because he might be a victim of societal homophobia that would have dictated a life he may not have wanted to lead.

    So far, he has not used state troopers to bring in the "girls" (or the "boys"), and it does not seem as if he engaged in any illicit conduct in his Senate office. Why is it ok to get it on in the White House and leave office with high marks and why do those with connections to the DC Madam get a standing ovation?

    September 3, 2007 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  11. Lyons Steve

    Time for Arlen Specter to resign. Anyone too blind to see a repeated pattern of conduct by Craig – the homosexual who hates homosexuals and legislates against them with pompous, self-righteous biblical declarations – such as Specter doesn't belong in the Senate making nationwide decisions.

    Wait – what am I saying? PLEASE, Sen. Specter, drag this thing out in public!

    September 3, 2007 03:51 am at 3:51 am |
  12. dennis duggan il

    dont trust specter, hes all for the dems,he should retire, [...].

    September 3, 2007 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  13. Mark, Tampa, FL

    I agree with Senator Spector. He shouldn't resign. I think the Republican party needs more closeted gay, hypocritical men who like public sex. Maybe we should look at his phone and internet record to see if he is consistent with gay porn. It makes the party diverse. It might show how truly mainstream the Republican party is today. It certainly would go a long way in image building and who that the Republican party stands for diversity with Mary Cheney and Mark Foley in the party. The Log Cabin Republicans are probably having a celebration party right about now. Hell, maybe it may even get Jim McGreevey to convert to the Republican party.

    September 3, 2007 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  14. Scott, St. Pete, FL

    None of us wants to live in a country where the "evidence" against Senator Craig is sufficient to end a career. Neither would any of us want speculation regarding our personal lives to be the basis of a media witchhunt.

    I'm a Democrat – even a lefty – and I think that the case of Senator Craig offers a wonderful opportunity to draw the line between reasonable scrutiny and the yellow dog journalism that has ruined countless careers and personal lives.

    Senator Craig's sexuality is NONE OF OUR BUSINESS. And the crack squad of airport rent-a-cops that sought to entrap him might want to start focusing on . . . uh . . . gosh, I don't know . . . maybe . . . airport security(?).

    September 3, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  15. K.M. Georgia

    Ummm...I'm gay, and I come from a political family, does that make me incompetent? I hope NOT!

    My grandfather was a senior foreign service officer (ambassador), one of his earlier generations was a Treasury secretary, and I'm a chief executive of a local municipality of about 4,300 people. I out about myself and no one cares [here in GEORGIA].

    But if Craig "is" gay, that is an issue. What? A hypocritical homosexual am I? No, but because he suppressed those behaviors publicly, it ended up spinning the wayward way of God's "I told you so."

    Craig was anti-gay rights, wishing that anyone [like him] could NEVER love [in private] who they [maturely] choose. I'm not gay in office, nor at family events, nor in public appearances...I'm gay at home. Outside those walls, I'm a citizen.

    I'm on a soap-box for gay civil-rights, sorry. But I'm P.O.'ed with the GOP. I stopped being republican this year (officially), not because of Craig or any other specific member...but because the times are changing. Republicans are going in the direction of the Federalists.


    September 3, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  16. Ron Nebraska

    iliana.....I understand it's tewmpting to get into the comparison game to defend your man but the point remains the guy pled guilty and thought he could hide that public record fact from his family, constituents and colleagues. I would not want someone who thougfht like that in a position to influence public policy whether he was Republican or Democrat.

    September 3, 2007 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  17. Sean, Taipei, Taiwan

    Maybe they'll have to use a little waterboarding in order to get to the bottom of it. It's probably a technique he approved to be used on others. Besides, if he was in any way innocent, he wouldn't have given in at any point. I can only imagine if I was sitting in a stall and a cop flashed his ID underneath it. I'd laugh and tell him to go to hell. Unless of course I had been doing something wrong. This senator is a hypocrite and it's time for him to go.

    September 3, 2007 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
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