September 18th, 2007
08:56 PM ET
14 years ago

Craig apologizes to colleagues at party lunch

Craig is surrounded by reporters his first day back on the Hill.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho, who made a surprise visit to Capitol Hill Tuesday, directly apologized at a party luncheon to his Senate Republican colleagues "for any embarrassment," a member present at the lunch told CNN.

According to the source, Craig did not address at the lunch whether he plans to stay in Washington beyond September 30 - the date on which he had previously said he would resign.

Asked after the lunch by CNN if he is considering staying in the Senate, Craig said, "We're working on that now."

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, who has previously come to Craig's defense, shook hands with the Idaho Republican in front of reporters and told Craig it's "nice to see you smiling."

Later, Specter indicated Senate Republicans may be willing to support Craig if he decides to stay in the Senate.

“There’s been a lot of favorable talk about Larry in the cloak room," Specter told CNN. "And I think the initial shock has worn off."

"He’s been a colleague for a long time – 17 years – you don’t toss over a friend of that duration and intensity easily," Specter added.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, also offered support of Craig, saying, "I don’t think there was any underlying crime."

Hatch also said he thinks that "a good lawyer could win that case.”

- CNN's Jessica Yellin and Ted Barrett

Filed under: Larry Craig
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Eric, from THE Republic of Texas


    CNN News Editor: "What's that? The market is up nearly 350 points?!"

    "Quick! Run that Larry Craig story!"

    September 18, 2007 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  2. JC Miami, Fla.

    “There’s been a lot of favorable talk about Larry in the cloak room," Craig told CNN."

    So that's what they talk about in the Senate Cloakroom. I'd always wondered. Do they have stalls?

    September 18, 2007 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. Veronica, Stamford, CT

    It just gives me the warm & fuzzies when the GOP rallies around a blatant – and convicted – hypocrite. Seems like old times, doesn't it?

    September 18, 2007 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. demwit

    I wonder if thay apology was in morris, I mean, toe code..

    September 18, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  5. Micky, Kansas City, MO

    Why would someone pled guilty to a crime they didn't commit? Especially a Senator who is well aware (or should be) of the laws.

    Here you have someone saying they didn't understand the legalaties of their actions. Reconcile that with their job being to make and pass laws?!

    The two don't add up. This smells of someone with power trying to get off. Pardon the pun.

    September 18, 2007 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. pl. at the UN for a while.

    All you with blinkers: "Get over yourselves, darlings".

    September 18, 2007 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  7. Anthony H., Dallas, Texas

    Unanswered questions remain: we know of one incident when the Senator was arrested for indecency in a public place, how many times has he had anonymous sex with men before he was caught and arrested? He is not fit to be a public servant.

    September 18, 2007 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    A good lawyer _might_ have won dismissal of the case if it weren't final after a guilty plea. The "underlying crime" was illegal solicitation of sex in a public place after complaints of that very thing. Go away and be gay elsewhere.

    September 18, 2007 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  9. Richard Orlando Florida

    Yes, he will be found "innocent". Then he can stay in the Senate and fight to stop gay marriage. After all, if gays were allowed to marry, then Craigs actions might be considered adultry. But since marriage is between a man and a woman, his bathroom fun would not be adultry. Shall we call it recreaction.

    September 18, 2007 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. D.Wysocki,Chicago,Il.

    Craig should just go away, this man writes the laws of this nation, and now he says he fails to understand
    them, this is not the kind of man I
    would want to represent me in any way, gay or not... he does not belong in the senate...

    September 18, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  11. Kimberly McAllister Sell, Fishers, Indiana

    The direction this story has taken is just amazing. The debate seems to be that Senator Craig is gay and wouldn't have been in that bathroom if gays weren't so forced to hide their sexual orientation. Also, we're supposed to feel sorry for him because the police allegedly entrapped him. How outrageous. How about the plain and simple fact that he was preparing to have sex in a public place? Last time I checked, such behavior was against the law and psychiatrists referred to such conduct as a sign of serious mental problems. I don't care if he's straight, gay or bisexual. Have we lost all of our commen sense in this country?

    September 18, 2007 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  12. EB

    It will be great to see him get beaten in the 2008 election if he does manage to hang on thru this storm.

    Nothing like taking the rest of the crew down with this sinking ship.......

    September 18, 2007 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  13. Steve

    If he apologizes to homosexuals, being that he is one and has been such a jerk to them, then he MAY regain some credibility.

    Fat chance. It's Denial City for the Idaho redneck.

    September 18, 2007 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  14. Steve

    It's not the crime or lack thereof, Hatch, you liar, it's his and your hypocrisy, slamming homosexuals constantly, trying to enact unAmerican laws against them, dividing the nation with such religious extremist drivel, THEN we find out the guy's been a homosexual all along.

    Get it? Because people like you, Hatch, and Specter, DON'T get it – the reason why the shrinking Republican party will all but disappear next year.

    Yeah, please, welcome Larry back. Keep showing America what lying hypocrites you are.

    September 18, 2007 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  15. Dee, BR LA.

    So is Specter saying that regardless of one's actions if your an old bud then no problem. Forget the fact that they are their for the people, right?

    No underlying crime? You mean like the crime you send people to jail for every single day like smoking pot Senator? To me a perv in a men's bathroom soliciting sex is far more disturbing than all the pot smoked by anyone on that day. Yet you see no underlying crime? Hypocrits!!

    Statements like those just go to show they are their for themselves only.

    Don't go get all happy eyed Dems your group is no better then the Repubs.

    This is why we need term limits!

    September 18, 2007 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  16. Randy, Chandler AZ

    Hatch also said he thinks that "a good lawyer could win that case.”

    But of course, good lawyers that knew how to manipulate our sorry justice system got OJ off too!

    September 18, 2007 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  17. Dave, Gaithersburg, Md.

    Nice to see the repubs circling the wagons. I never understood why they tossed Craig anyway since it was man on man sex. Not like he was with a woman like Clinton.

    September 18, 2007 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  18. Blake, Jacksonville Florida

    That's cute. The market is up 350 points today? Big deal. It'll be down 500 points tomorrow. It's good to see that some of the Repubs are showing courage and support for a friend, even a hypocritical one.

    September 18, 2007 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  19. Denice, Aspen CO

    I guess the lesson here is that, as long as you're surrounded by your cronies and you stay out of the media for some time, you can get away with anything. The lunatic Republicans supporting him are actually saying to the public that it's OK to be be an elitist, hypocritical Senator and attempt to have gay sex in public restrooms, and get away with it all too.

    Oh, and Arlen Specter should probably wash his hands with hot soapy water after touching Larry Craig.

    September 18, 2007 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  20. hawk,texas

    if craig was a democrat, the republicans would still be all over it. but you remember how they all gather around and bless one of their seems that no rebublican can do no matter what he does. the whole gop is rotten to the core. this gut has been at the feed trough of the tax payers for 17 years. there should be term limits of at least two terms, like the predisent. also with the supreme court. they get to feed at the trough for life.

    September 18, 2007 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  21. Rodney Dallas TX

    The entire Republican party are hypocrites. It Craig was a democrat, the repubs would persecute him. Now they welcome him back with a luncheon. Aren't they supposed to be agains gays? Repubs only want what makes them happy at that very moment.

    September 18, 2007 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  22. Les, Tulsa, OK

    *“There’s been a lot of favorable talk about Larry in the cloak room," Specter told CNN*

    bwahahahaaha!!!!!Priceless!! 🙂

    September 18, 2007 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  23. Denny, Atlanta GA

    The whole, entire thing, everyone involved, is just about the most disgusting story ever.

    September 18, 2007 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  24. Doug, Los Angeles CA

    Eric from Texas: the whole perception of the media as leftist is a false myth, but a brilliant one. All media in the world is owned by only five major corporations now.I doubt these mega-businesses share liberal philosophies. No, they're traditional conservatives, and instead of blatantly espousing their viewpoints in all of their outlets, they save that for a select few, then created the liberal media myth in order to balance out the rest of their publications and outlets. But are some papers and tv stations really that "liberal"? No, not at all, at least not anymore. And they're going nowhere in that direction anytime soon. If the general media is constantly criticized by mainstream America for being too left, the natural progression is for them to correct that by moving center and slightly right in the long run. So, at one point we are looking forward to conservative administrations, conservative big businesses, and conservative media reporting. Bright future folks!

    September 18, 2007 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  25. Ken N., Boca Raton, FL

    Senator Craig is an absolute disgrace and so is any politician who supports him. His sexual preference is not the issue - his behavior and conduct are the issue. His public restroom antics are not befitting of any decent human being, notwithstanding a Congressman. If the public permits his continued stature as a Senator, we are sending a very poor message about what we expect from our elected representatives. In my opinion, Senator Craig is an embarrassment to this country and if we let him continue to serve as a Senator, the US public is an even bigger embarrassment.

    September 18, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
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